About the Museum of Anthropology and Your 3 Host Nations

About the Museum of Anthropology and Your 3 Host Nations
By Alix Shield (volunteer/PhD student @ SFU)

PARC Retirement Living Presents: Team Dinner and a B.C. Cultural Experience at the MoA

On September 19, 2017, 6mR World Championship guests will experience an evening of First Nations culture at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology (MoA), supported by our Presenting Partner, PARC Retirement Living. The museum is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation at the University of British Columbia campus, and is known for its displays of First Nations cultural heritage.

(Note from the organizing committee: There’s parking in front of the MOA, and also at the Rose Garden across the street. Both are $3.50/hour or $8.00 max. (5:00 pm to midnight). We have organized three school busses for a shuttle-bus service RVYC-MoA-RVYC. The three busses will leave RVYC (out by the street) at 5:30 pm (1st tour) and at 6:00 pm (2nd tour). The return trips are planned for 9:30 pm and 10:00 pm outside the MoA. Please bring cash to the event as we’re doing a raffle. Proceeds will go towards the Corinthian Fund which supports sailors attending regattas up to the Olympics/Paralympics.) 


World renowned clay artist and elder Laura Wee Lay Laq (Wealick) will be MC’ing the First Nations component of the event. You met her at our Opening Ceremony. As a special goodie for you, Laura made a drum with water waves on the outer ring and paddles pointing inward to each other that we will raffle off. Ticket prices are: $5.00 for 3, $10.00 for 7 and $20.00 for 18. Cash only.

Laura is a contributing artist to the MoA. See if you can find her piece of pottery in the Crowner’s Gallery.

(Your MC, Artist and Elder, Laura Wee Lay Laq)

We have partnered with the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) to present an entirely First Nations themed menu. The food for the event will be presented in three courses, organized into themes of “Air”, “Sea”, and “Land” – yum!

The MoA event will include a performance by the Squamish nation dance group “Spakwus Slulmum” (translated to ‘Eagle Song Dancers’), who will perform their own singing and drumming.

We are lucky to have the MoA entirely to ourselves for this evening of food & culture – but don’t worry, the gift shop will be open!


About the Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology (MoA) is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation at the University of British Columbia campus, and is known for its displays of First Nations cultural heritage.

Founded in 1947 using UBC’s collection of ethnographic objects, the museum started in the basement of the UBC Library. When additional funds became available from the Government of Canada in 1971, a new building was designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson (who also designed the Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby) using the “post-and-beam” style characteristic of Northwest Coast First Nations.

The Museum of Anthropology. (Image Source: www.hellobc.com)

Inside the Great Hall of the MoA. (Image Source: www.insidevancouver.ca/)

While the MoA features an ongoing cycle of exhibits, there are several key pieces that remain part of the museum’s permanent collection. For instance, the museum’s Great Hall showcases a collection of totem poles from First Nations villages along British Columbia’s northwest coast. Other major exhibits include a collection of Musqueam artifacts and contemporary works by celebrated Musqueam artists including Susan Point and Debra Sparrow. The MoA also has an impressive collection of works by Haida artist Bill Reid, including his yellow cedar sculpture The Raven and the First Men, the Bear and Wasco sculpture series, and a prototype dugout canoe that Reid carved for Expo ’86.

Outside the museum, there are two Haida houses that were built under the direction of Reid; these houses are surrounded by totem poles that were carved with the help of Kwakwaka’wakw artist Doug Cranmer. In 2000, the original totem pole mounted outside the big house was taken inside due to deterioration, and replaced with a new pole carved by Haida artist Jim Hart.

The Haida houses behind the Museum of Anthropology. (Image Source: Tripadvisor)

At any given time, the museum holds around 40,000 ethnographic objects, and 535,000 archaeological objects. In addition to Northwest Coast First Nations objects, the MoA also boasts an extensive collection of items from the South Pacific, including materials from late nineteenth-century Africa, Asia, and South America.

Currently, the MoA is featuring two new exhibits. The first, “Amazonia: The Rights of Nature” (March 2017-January 2018), explores creative approaches to Indigenous resistance in the face of threats to the Amazon rainforest. This exhibit features a collection of Amazonian textiles, basketry, feather works, and ceramics that reflect both every day and ceremonial usages by Amazonian peoples. The second exhibit, “Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia” (May-October 2017), explores the relationship between words and their physical manifestations across various time periods.

The MoA will also open a new Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks this summer, combining technology with First Nations artwork for the inaugural exhibit “In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art”. This exhibit runs until Spring 2019, so there is lots of time to check it out!


First Nations @ 6mR: Know Your 3 Host Nations

With the Team Dinner at the MOA quickly approaching, it’s a good idea to become familiar with local Indigenous nations and protocols. In Vancouver, we are privileged to live, work, and play on the unceded and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) peoples.

Here is a useful primer on our three host nations:

Musqueam Nation(www.musqueam.bc.ca)

“The Musqueam people have lived in our present location for thousands of years. Our traditional territory occupies what is now Vancouver and surrounding areas…We are traditional hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking people and have descended from the cultural group known as the Coast Salish. Our people moved throughout our traditional territory using the resources the land provided for fishing, hunting, trapping and gathering, to maintain their livelihood. Today, the Musqueam people still use these resources for economical and traditional purposes… Although a metropolitan city has developed in the heart of Musqueam territory, our community maintains strong cultural and traditional beliefs. Today our population flourishes and we are a strong community living on a very small portion of our traditional territory, located south of Marine Drive near the mouth of the Fraser River.”

Tsleil-Waututh Nation(www.twnation.ca)

“We are the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, “The People of the Inlet.” We have inhabited the lands and waters of our traditional territory surrounding the Burrard Inlet in British Columbia since time immemorial. Many generations of men, women and children have lived, had families, and thrived in this area, and we have a sacred trust, a commitment to care for our lands and waters. Our vision is to once again put the Tsleil-Waututh face on our traditional territory, to be active participants in all social, economic, cultural, and political activities that take place on our lands by building strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect. We welcome you to learn more about us.”

Squamish Nation(www.squamish.net)

“The Squamish Nation is comprised of descendants of the Coast Salish Aboriginal peoples who lived in the present day Greater Vancouver area, Gibson’s landing and Squamish River watershed… The Squamish Nation is a vibrant and dynamic Coast Salish Nation, with a strong culture, rich history and bright future. The Squamish Nation has existed and prospered within our traditional territory since time immemorial. We are Coast Salish people. Our language is the Squamish language. Our society is, and always has been, organized and sophisticated, with complex laws and rules governing all forms of social relations, economic rights and relations with other First Nations. We have never ceded or surrendered title to our lands, rights to our resources or the power to make decisions within our territory.”

It is proper protocol to acknowledge these three host nations individually, or the Coast Salish People in general, during ceremonies or events that take place on unceded lands.

We are also pleased to announce that Squamish artist Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) and his son, James Harry, as well as Tawx’sin Yexwulla or “Splash” (Aaron Nelson-Moody) from the Squamish nation will assist in the welcoming/closing ceremonies of the 6mR events.