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Northwest Coast Creatives Visits Archives in England

In April 2024, our Artist Collective was selected by @YVRAF for a sponsored trip to visit with the Northwest Coast Collections in the UK! We got to visit personally with ancestor belongings at the Pitt Rivers Museum, with additional time spent at the British Museum. We are so inspired, and incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Hamiyaa, T'ooyaḵsiy̓ n̓iin!

-YVR Art Foundation provides bursaries and grants to Northwest Coast Indigenous artists bases in BC and Yukon. -Northwest Coast Collections in the UK were taken from Laxyip (Northwest Coast homelands) between 250-80 years ago. Some were stolen from gravehouses, some were traded, or sold, and some may have been taken after feast raids. The history attached to them is not always correct or detailed properly. -We call the pieces 'ancestor belongings' instead of 'artifacts' because it gives them better context. Each item represents a history, family crests, and community use, holding a story and meaning beyond a simplified 'artifact', which often has the impact of distancing it from the intricate and care that were put into their making. -Gratitude to all who helped us achieve this quest, including the team at Pitt Rivers, who were so kind, easy, and caring. -We also spent time speaking our traditional languages (Gitsenimx and Nisga'a) to the ancestor belongings. The pieces we got to see in person were held in a storage space, and not on permanent display, so we wanted to visit them and give them some needed attention.

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