August 31, 2019

We are all Treaty People

We are all Treaty People

This mural was created with the children of Africa Camp, a partnership between Adventure for Change and Bring on the Sunshine, and local artist Jacqui Terry-Carroll. 

The theme is about the African diaspora and their many different journeys to Canada. On the right we painted planes and boats as the carriers of people to North America.  In the center of the yellow board is a river, as many African Canadians followed the rivers North, into Canada escaping slavery. The central board shows the family arriving in Canada and being welcomed by a First Nations person to the left. On the yellow board to the far right there are many spirals painted by the kids - this represents the Ndoro which  is a flat, spiral shape that is the result of grinding down a sea shell,  and which often washes up on the East Coast of Africa. Ndoro were worn as symbols of rank and authority and as signified wealth. Because of its scarcity, the Ndoro were much sought after. (Zimbabwe)

The team enjoyed painting it, and all the stories and songs that accompanied it!

In the  sky of the center and the left panels you see the stars. Stars were followed by Mariners in the ocean and by people escaping from slavery who would “follow the gourd”, or the big dipper as they traveled north in their search for freedom. On the far left there also many little spirals painted, this time representing the fiddlehead, the first greens of spring. This simple spiral design ties our cultures together across oceans. 

The First Peoples of Canada welcomed the first colonists  and made a treaty with them that our cultures would travel alongside one another but not intersect, respecting each other’s rights, freedoms, culture. This treaty was remembered through the wampum belt which is the design across the bottom of all three boards. To the left of the wampum belt are the beads in the traditional design but to the right, the beads become the bodies of the many millions of people who died in the oceans during the transatlantic slave trade. 

As newcomers we must never forget that we came from places were land was taken, and we were the displaced indigenous people of that place. We remember that as new Canadians we too are treaty people.