The reason why I chose this sculpture is that it represents the image of a mother. Djiniyini (1985) states that the land is people’s mother. People are born from the land and will go back to the land. The land we inhabit becomes part of our identity.
What happens when that land is taken away or, equally, when people are taken away from it? When the land is taken from people or destroyed, they feel hurt because they belong to the land and are part of it.
When Indigenous people lost their land, they also lost their identity. For example, not very long ago, Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools. Here, the children experienced racism (Gray Smith, 2017). Today, the government attempts to issue laws and policies to make up for the atrocities committed at residential schools. According to Kabatay and Johnson (2019), British Columbia updated its curriculum to include more First Nations knowledge and learning in 2015 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
I am an international student; if I did not have this class, I would not have done research about this land. This means that I would not have had the chance to visit this wooden sculpture, nor would I have been able to discuss relevant history or stories with my friends and family.
Indigenous artists’ efforts to raise awareness about their connection with the land can be seen through their art pieces. Sanchez (2018) says in her TED Talk that, “This history is not your fault, but it is absolutely your responsibility”. The history of colonization is a complex global phenomenon, which everyone should care about.