xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) artists in the Roundhouse
Artists: Jordan Gallie, Debra Sparrow, and Xuuyaah (1951-2019)
Curator: Kamala Todd
Framing History is about recognizing the deep histories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ people, and supporting artists from the Nations to speak to their relationships with these lands. This project reframes and expands the historical narrative of the Roundhouse into a larger context of place beyond the colonial history of the railroad and urbanization in Vancouver.
Framing History includes work by Debra Sparrow, a xʷməθkʷəy̓əm weaver, artist, and knowledge keeper who has been instrumental in the rejuvenation of Coast Salish weaving; Xuuyaah, a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh/Haida artist, cultural leader, and storyteller also connected to xʷməθkʷəy̓əm by lineage; and Jordan Gallie, an artist from səlilwətaɬ Nation, who works in many mediums. Each artist created works that reflect their deep relationship with the beautiful, culturally-significant waterfront lands where the Roundhouse stands.
In the entrance to the building, four columns are painted with distinct Coast Salish designs. Scháyilhen by Xuuyaah brings honour to the invaluable salmon who are intimately woven throughout the cultures, economies, governance systems of coastal First Nations communities. The Ripple Effect by Jordan Gallie reflects the deep importance of water in these territories, and the many ways that Salish cultural strength and vitality have always flowed on these lands and waters. Debra Sparrow’s designs, Framing History, weave many stories and teachings together to remind people of the endurance and innovation of her culture. Her designs help to welcome people at the information desk, and they bring a xʷməθkʷəy̓əm framing of the entrance to the Roundhouse historical gallery, which features a colonial timeline of the building and its history.
All of the works flow together to remind visitors that they stand upon thousands of years of living history. They reflect the generosity and brilliance of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ people whose ongoing relationships with their lands and waters inspires a much deeper, richer understanding of this place now called Vancouver.
In 2018, the Vancouver Park Board’s Arts, Culture and Engagement programmers worked with Métis-Cree curator Kamala Todd to reframe/expand the historical narrative of the Roundhouse into a larger context of place and histories. Kamala helped to create a project to reflect the strength, vitality and cultural continuity of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ Nations, on whose territories the Roundhouse is situated. Kamala was born and raised in the beautiful homelands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking people, where she works as a filmmaker, community planner, adjunct professor, and curator towards decolonizing the city and honouring Indigenous peoples’ brilliance and knowledge.
Visit Framing History at the Roundhouse: the pillars in the Roundhouse foyer, above the front desk, and at the top of the stairs in the Great Hall.