Monday, October 21, 2013

Cultural Expressions of the Lheidli T'enneh

The Exploration Place exhibit we'll see on Oct 22 is called "Cultural Expressions of the Lheidli T'enneh." Pronounced Klate-lee Ten-eh -- these are the First Peoples whose traditional territory includes what is now Prince George. They were formerly known as the Fort George Indian Band, and are part of the Carrier People, a sub-group of the Dakelh Aboriginal group. They have lived in this area for thousands of years, and continue to be an important part of Prince George's cultural mosaic.

Our field tip to see this exhibit takes place almost exactly where a Lheidli T'enneh village stood for many years during Fort George's early history, and so we are learning both in a place that celebrates their culture (the museum exhibit) and about a place that is important to their culture (Fort George Park). As a teacher I'm interested to see what the exhibit can tell us about First Nations connection and adaptation to place in this region. I'm also interested to challenge my stereotypes about Lheidli T'enneh culture.

I'm curious what your questions will be?

For starters, read through the elder's guide (linked here), a package put together for this museum exhibit by a BC Elder's Gathering. If you need more food for thought, read more about on the Lheidli T'enneh  website. I have took 97 photos at the exhibit (linked here). Both the elder's guides and my pictures are also available on the teacher's "HANDOUT" bin when you log in at school.

TASK
Generate one powerful question you would like to have answered by what you learn from the exhibit. This could be about the place (museum or former village site), culture, museum curation process, ancient vs modern evidence, issues, whatever strikes you as interesting after reading the elder's guide. A powerful question is one that does not look for an easy answer, it often requires more questions in order to work towards a response. When you make a pattern of developing and asking powerful questions you are engaging in inquiryPost your powerful question as a comment below.

FOLLOW-UP
After you have seen the exhibit, create a response to your powerful question. This may involve direct answers, more questions, changes to your original question, mention of links or other resources you used to consider your question, and thoughts you had about the exhibit and your question.  In other words, write freely about your question -- a powerful question deserves a powerful response; not a simple this = that, but an exploration of the topic. Post a brief summary of your response as a reply to your comment below -- indicate where you are going with this particular inquiry (this might be a good way to kick-start the rest of your response). Build your full response as a formal piece of writing and include this in your portfolio -- this will probably be a two-page document (maybe about 500 words, the length of this blog post!)

Image source: http://www.theexplorationplace.com/uploads/images/DSCF1377(2)sm.jpg

62 comments:

  1. Where did the clan get their name/ what does it mean? -RileyW

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    1. Great start Riley -- dig deeper and make the connection to language. The definition will be easy enough (it is in the Elder's Guide), but the patterns and stories that help give the Lheidl T'enneh their identity is the real prize behind your question.

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    2. After looking online i found the definition and translation of the clans name. It translates to "The people where the two rivers flow together". This makes a lot of sense since our city is built around the Fraser and Nechako rivers. Having the rivers to survive off of was a large part of helping the clan survive which is shown through their fishing gear and canoes that could survive the rough waters. They are a sub division of the Dalkeh which means "People who go around by boat" which would also explain their fishing skill, boat structure, and how they came to discover and live in this area.

      -Riley W

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  2. What state is this language in they speak and is it still in use today? If not can it be revived?

    -Blake H.

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    1. Great question. Be sure to pay attention to the difference between Lheidl T'enned dialect and the Carrier Language proper. Are they both at risk? What can (or should) be done about languages that are disappearing?

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    2. I struggle with this topic. Do you know that in order to apply to university you have to have a grade 11 language, but it can only a language that is recognized by the university like French, Spanish or German. If you are Aboriginal person, like myself, and speak your own language it does not count as a pre-requisite. Also once I was at University I was told I have to have a second language to graduate with a BA, so I asked to take Secwepemc to honour the people whose territory I was on (I moved away for school). I was denied and told that Secwepemc was not deemed a "useful" language. Can you imagine being told your language is not “useful”?!?!? The language of the people whose territory the university is on; the language you use to talk to your grandparents and Elders every day?!?!
      If we want to revive First Nation languages we need to recognize these languages as “useful” on all levels of society, academics and government.

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    3. Thanks for adding your thoughts to this discussion from last year's class. I agree that Aboriginal languages should qualify for academic purposes as well as other distinctions. It would be a very good idea to take this up with the (university's) senate. For example, ask the UNBC Senate to consider this issue and provide a response.

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  3. Why did they choose a place like Prince George to live, an why didn't they make a memorial to remind people that they were in Fort George park before the rest of us?

    - Jessica S.

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    1. Try to decipher the complex relationship between the Carrier people and the fur trade. This may help you answer your question(s). Memorial... there is something like this at the entrance to the cemetery. We can go their tomorrow after the exhibit.

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    2. They lived in Prince George because it was a part of the fur trade until we burned down everything they have, they still have a memorial in Fort George Park that goes as far back as the 1800's and some aren't even dated anymore, it was actually really cool to look at the last of the structures that were still there as well, because before I had no idea what they were!

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    3. Do you have a full response posted somewhere?

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  4. what did thy make their pit houses out of and about how long did they take to build?
    -Hailey G

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    1. ...and by extension, what else can you learn about "adaptation to place?" When was the last pit house used? Was it the only form of housing?

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    2. i could not find the answer to my question in the exhibit, so today i googled it and found some very interesting stuff that defiantly answered my question. A pit-house is a primitive dwelling dug into the ground and roofed over. Besides providing shelter from extremes of weather, these structures may also be used to store food and for cultural activities like the telling of stories, dancing, singing and celebrations.


      Definition:
      A pit house (also spelled pithouse) is a type of residential structure or dwelling built by non-industrial cultures all over the earth. The "pit" part means that construction began by excavating a pit in the earth, from a few inches to more than three feet. A superstructure was then added to the excavation, low walls or simply a roof built of poles chinked with mud and covered with an earthen mound.

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  5. How many, if any, people live on reserve? How similar is their way of life to pre-colonization?
    -Pippa R.

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    1. I think I see where this is going. You might want to build up this question a bit. What aspects of traditional culture (pre-colonization) do the Lheidl T'enneh want to remember? preserve? change/adapt? continue to practice? What impact has colonization had on lifestyle (huge topic, need to focus on one aspect). I'm looking forward to seeing what your thoughtful, critical, thorough brain comes up with. We'll be writing about what you learned later on in class this week.

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    2. There was very little at the exhibit or on the website about the reserve or life on the reserve, so I think my question will mainly be leaning toward what practices and materials are still used. The clothing on display at the exhibit was all made from traditional skins and fur. I imagine that this practice continues today, although I wonder what they used for thread before it was introduced. Many of the garments were decorated with shells, which would be traditional, and beads. In general, traditional practices are still used, but with a modern twist. Most of these adaptions don’t take away from the cultural meaning or uses. The best surviving aspects are those that can be seen as art or decoration. Some materials are harder to get ahold of, like animal skins and furs, so authentic symbols (a deer skin jacket) are highly regarded. Other logistical examples like pit houses were replaced a long time ago, and will probably not make a comeback.
      Pippa

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  6. With the small fire in the pit houses, how is the smoke able to escape without losing heat or having to much smoke inside?
    ~Annika

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    1. This is a technical question, and a good one, but you might get a quick response. Ask a few more like this, and think about the relationship between stuff (material objects, day-to-day processes) and social development of people in a culture. We call this relationship "material culture."

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    2. In coastal communities, for example the 'Namgis Nation in Alert Bay, BC they have similar structures they call a "Big House." These buildings traditionally housed families, clans and ceremonies. Now, they are only ceremonial structures used in potlatches and special occasions. Various Nations in the Carrier Sekani Traditional territories which include the Lheidle T'enneh also call these ceremonies "Bahlats." Big Houses have huge fires in the middle and openings at the top, similar to teepees used by Nations in the Prairies, for example, Cree. These openings allow for smoke to escape. Sometimes when the air pressure outside is greater, these structures become very "smokey." Hopefully, some of this information will ignite further inquiry.

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  7. Why didn't Alex Bird or other first nations soldiers qualify for the 1919 Soldier Settlement act? Why weren't they included remembrance day parades or ceremonies? What were the specific reasons?
    -Paige C

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    1. Solid question, and one that might lead you to examine other issues in military service by Aboriginals in Canada, and also the evolution of rights in Canada. This connects to what you will learn in SS11.

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    2. At the exhibit yesterday I didn't find specific reasons to answer this question. Like I the pamphlet we read first, I only mentioned they were not included in ceremonies etc. It didn't explain why. I'm going to look a bit further on the internet to see if I can find specific reasonings to my question :)
      Paige C.

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  8. What role did they play in the creation of Prince George not Fort George.
    -Ryan B.

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    1. Do you mean modern contributions? If so, this could be an interesting way to examine inclusion and consultation. Remind me to tell you about the tennis court story... this is a good case study for your question.

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  9. Why was the roof constructed out of sheet iron if most buildings used regular shingles?
    -Emily S.

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    1. Be sure to ask questions that don't just lead to a simple response. Maybe this question will lead to other questions about technology, adaptation, and change over time. See the comment above on Hailey's question, too.

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    2. Since that question was a dead end, I decided to say what piece I found the most intriguing. The thing that I found most interesting at the exhibit is the different tools that they made to improve their fishing techniques. The amount of time, patience, and skill it must of taken to make the nets and spears is astonishing. My favorite contraption they devised is the cylindrical net made for trapping fish. These nets were called concical basket traps. The Lheidli T’enneh would build dykes or weirs across rivers and leave an opening to place the baskets. If it was properly set up, it could catch roughly 1000 salmon a day.

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  10. Why isn't there some sort of display in Fort George saying what it was like back then?
    Why do we not have a part for the soldiers like Alex Bird in the remembrance day ceremony at city hall?

    -Kyrsten C.

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    1. I think maybe some things have been done to address the concerns that are contained in your questions. I can't say for certain as it has been some time since I attended a Remembrance ceremony at the PG Cenotaph. Also, see the responses to Jessica and Paige's questions above.

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    2. At the exhibit yesterday i discovered that there actually is a display in the park for aboriginals before you enter the cemetery. I didn't find an answer as to why there is no section for the soldiers like Alex Bird in the remembrance day ceremony yet. I'm going to do some further research about that online.

      Kyrsten C.

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  11. Why did they decid to settle here?
    What permited them to develop?
    -Claire B

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    1. This is a very broad question. Can you make it more specific? You have spent time working with archaeologists in the past, maybe this work helps you come up with questions about this First Nations group. I'm also curious to know what sorts of things you learned about Canadian First Nations considering you are from France.

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  12. How did the adapt to the area they now reserve, what challenges did they face and how did they overcome them?

    -Amanda

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    1. This is a bit general at this point... do you mean how did the Lheidl T'enneh adjust to life on the reserve lands at Shelley? How was this lifestyle different from the one they had at Fort George, and how has it changed since? If this is close to what you are asking, I think the exhibit will help. I'm lookig forward to seeing the stain glass from the Shelly church, and thinking about the role Catholicism played among the Carrier.

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  13. Why do they live on a reserve instead of in a city or a town? How social are they in a reserve opposed to a city with larger numbers?
    -Robbie H.

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    1. I think the Lhiedl T'enneh live in many places, but the reserve at Shelly make an interesting focus. See the comment above on Amanda's question.

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  14. Why were First Nations soldiers not qualify for the Veterans Land Act after the First World War?

    -Rhys G.

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    1. See the responses to Kyrten, Jessica and Paige's questions above. The VLA story is an interesting one, also filled with irony as the VLA subdivision is often called "The Hood" and has a strong First Nations presence. Maybe you can tie your question to the topic of colonization. How does the story of First Nations soldiers in Prince George relate to the pattern of colonization experienced by First Nations in Canada?

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  15. What were their reactions to settlers moving into their area?
    - Lyndsey B.

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    1. see the comments on Rhys' question above. I think your question is a good one to get into the whole topic of colonization.

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    2. It seems to me that the Natives started losing rights as soon as they were not necessary to the settlers for furs anymore. They were not allowed to fish commercially or vote. Settlers pretty, much made up the rules for how they were allowed to live. They had all their rights taken away, and were forced onto reserves and forced to sell or juts plain give up the lands that had belonged to them for a long time. I think that they reacted surprisingly well to all of this. Despite how badly they were treated, they still helped out the settlers.
      - Lyndsey B.

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  16. Do the first nations have an equal status in the society?
    Jonathan

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    1. As you are a German exchange student, I'm curious how/what you learned about Canadian First Nations in school or at home. Your question is actually quite "loaded" -- in other words it could be answered many ways depending on what you mean. Do First Nations have equal rights according to the law? For how long? Does this translate into equal status and treatment in Canada? Do special laws that protect and promote First Nations culture make equality easier or more difficult to obtain?

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  17. Why did they built the Saint Pius X Catholic Church like a commercial building?

    Jan Sondergeld

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    1. Do you mean why does it have a "Catholic" look about it instead of an "Aboriginal" look? To answer your question you will need to learn more about colonization in Canada. I'm curious to know how the German education system handles this topic. I'll ask you and Jonathan about this later.

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  18. What does the Lheidli T'enneh culture, as a whole, contribute to everyday society?
    -Dominic M.

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    1. This is a very broad question, Dom. Please think about how you can refine this, make it more specific to our time and place, or specific to a theme or issue.

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  19. What was the effect of the caribou gold rush (particularly the peak) on the Lheidli T'enneh?
    ~Kennedy C.

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    1. Interesting question -- alongside the fur trade this makes an interesting study in colonizatinon, trade, partnerships, adaptation, pros/cons of intercultural connection. I'm curious to know whether the exhibit will help you answer this question.

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  20. What does the Lheidli T'enneh culture, such as their rituals, activities and history, contribute to how we live our lives today? Did they affect anything we do for better, worse, or is it just a piece of history we learn about?
    -Dominic M

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  21. How did the Lheidli T'enneh adapt to having to be part of a european society after being born and raised into an aboriginal society?

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  22. How many people did the Lheidli T'enneh have in there band at one time? Did there population go up or down as the settlers arrived in the area?
    ~David F

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  23. My question is about the cemetery. It was mentioned that the some of the bodies had been removed and some are still unmarked today. What would the Lheidli T'enneh have done with their dead that they either removed or buried?

    -Dyllan B

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  24. What language did the Lheidli T'enneh speak and do they use it at all today?

    Madison W

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    1. The Lheidli T'enneh speak a dialect of the Carrier Language because the Lheidli T'enneh are Carrier people.
      Few people today speak the language today. Maybe one day someone will bring it back.
      - Madison W

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  25. During the clonization the Lheidli T'enneh were at a different step of development so what the colons brought them and What did they change and what the Lheidli T'enneh brought to the colons? Did they put in common there knowledge? What happened during this cultural meeting?
    Claire Buthiaux

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  26. what were the treaty's like in the past and how are they now? what kind of treaties are there? what are they trying to do?
    -Marie Antoine

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    1. On October 29, 2006 the Lheidli T'enneh became the first people to initial a treaty with British Columbia and Canada within the framework of the British Columbia Treaty Process created in response to the Delgamuukw case. It remains for the treaty to be ratified by a vote of Lheidli T'enneh band members, by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, and by the Canadian Parliament.

      On February 9, 2007 the Treaty 8 First Nations launched a legal challenge of the ratification of Lheidli T'enneh treaty. The Treaty 8 First Nations asserted that Canada, British Columbia and the Lheidli T'enneh did not adequately consult them about the overlap of the Lheidli T'enneh treay area and the area of Treaty 8.

      The Treaty 8 First Nations sought an interlocutory injunction preventing the ratification of the treaty until such time as the parties resolves the issues of the overlap. Justice Wilson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia denied the plaintiff's application for an interlocutory injunction.

      A similar challenge was launched by the Secwepemc Nation on March 12, 2007.

      The Lheidli T'enneh band members did not ratify the treaty in a treaty ratification vote held on March 30, 2007. In the vote 123 people voted against the treaty and 111 voted in favor of it.

      In response to this outcome, the British Columbia Treaty Commission undertook a "Lheidli T’enneh Communications Probe" to determine why the treaty was not ratified. This included a survey carried out by the Mustel Group, a marketing and public opinion research firm based in Vancouver.
      recently there was a vote to propose a treaty agreement which put money, land and wildlife harvesting rights on the table. There was lots of relief when it was denied. it was close. the vote was denied by 53%.

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  27. What were the treaties like and how did they affect the Lheidli T'enneh?
    - Hannah M.

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    1. The Lheidli T'enneh were one of the first First Nations groups to get involved with negotiations with the BC Treaty Process. It began 20 years ago, but in 2006 the Chief Counselor initialed a final agreement. The final agreement went to vote in April 2007 and the agreement was rejected, by few votes. A second vote may come within the next few years after family discussions, online surveys, individual interviews, and planned community events.
      -Hannah m.

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  28. Lheidi T'enneh Inquiry
    Reading this and looking back to the field trip we took to the museum it was quite interesting to learn, and look at the different aspects of the Lheidi T'Enneh culture and development that took place. I had a few questions while being at the Exploration Place. For example How do you think the handled people coming onto their land and Basically Changing their whole systems? I know for a fact some of the tools and goods would be quite beneficial but also it would be quite taboo and hard to comprehend. So why was it so easy for the Europeans to come over and take advantage, if the Lheidi T'Enneh culture was developing at a rapid pace? They were still people, they still have all of the emotions and feelings a European had. For myself I'd get tired of all of it and stand up for myself. They weren't hopeless, so why didn't their word matter? please explain this to me, as I do not understand.

    Not everyone sees all of the terrible things that have happened to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, but I hope they'd learn the history. Canada has been through a lot. I think this could have been solved more tactfully. I hope our population has grown to accept others. What exactly was wrong with the way aboriginals were living? What made them different to other people in different countries? How was it okay to take advantage of them? How is this still considered acceptable in this day in age? Have we solved the problems that were created for aboriginal cultures in Canada, or is there anything we could be doing to improve the lives of people who were effected by the development of Canada?

    -Rosie Chrona Martinez.

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