Currents

Col­lab­o­ra­tion by his­to­ri­ans and artists re­veals di­verse his­to­ries.

Canada's History - - CONTENTS - — Mark Collin Reid

Lost sto­ries found. The voices of the Kaurs. Eye-pop­ping art. Re­design breathes new life into the Canada Science and Technology Mu­seum. New Inuit Art Cen­tre is a bridge to the North.

Think of the sto­ries you learned in his­tory class. Now con­sider what sto­ries were left out of the texts. How many sto­ries are wait­ing to be told in the mar­gins of his­tory?

Shin­ing new light on th­ese im­por­tant mo­ments is the goal of the Lost Sto­ries Project, which com­bines his­tor­i­cal re­search and rigour with the bound­less cre­ativ­ity of Canada’s artis­tic com­mu­nity.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to think more deeply about sto­ries we don’t know and re­flect on why we don’t know them,” said Ron­ald Rudin, a his­tory pro­fes­sor at Con­cor­dia Univer­sity in Mon­treal.

Rudin is also the di­rec­tor of the Lost Sto­ries Project and leads a team of aca­demics, artists, and film­mak­ers in turn­ing the lost sto­ries into dy­namic, en­gag­ing and in­for­ma­tional mul­ti­me­dia ex­pe­ri­ences.

The project in­vited sub­mis­sions from the pub­lic for lost sto­ries to tell. Artists were then in­vited to ex­plore the sto­ries through in­ex­pen­sive, site-spe­cific works of art. All the while, film crews recorded the cre­ative process.

Rudin said com­mu­nity in­volve­ment is cru­cial to the project’s suc­cess.

“His­tory, still to a large ex­tent, is writ­ten about peo­ple with power or in­flu­ence,” he said. “And peo­ple who had other kinds of sto­ries, they didn’t al­ways have the means to make them well-known. They were of­ten peo­ple who didn’t have power. Th­ese projects are be­ing de­vel­oped with those com­mu­ni­ties. It’s part of mak­ing the his­tory we present more in­clu­sive and re­flect­ing those voices.”

The first lost story was the tale of Thomas Widd, a deaf man who in the late-nine­teenth cen­tury founded Mon­treal’s Mackay School for the Deaf.

Since then, the Lost Sto­ries team has ex­plored the legacy of lep­rosy treat­ment at New Brunswick’s Shel­drake Is­land; the role an Ottawa ho­tel has played in as­sist­ing visi­tors from the Far North; the case of Yee Clun, a Chi­nese res­tau­rant owner in Regina who in 1924 fought a racist law re­quir­ing him to ob­tain a per­mit to hire white women; and the tragic story of sev­eral Stó:lo boys who were kid­napped by white min­ers dur­ing the Fraser River gold rush of 1858.

The four Lost Sto­ries episodes have been made pos­si­ble by fund­ing from the fed­eral Canada 150 Sig­na­ture Event Fund, cre­ated to mark the coun­try’s sesqui­cen­ten­nial.

To learn more about the Lost Sto­ries Project, go to CanadasHis­tory.ca/LostS­to­ries.

Top: Regina res­tau­rant owner Yee Clun (seated at left with a child on his lap) and his fam­ily pose for a photo, 1927. In­set: A colour­ized photo of Stó:lo chil­dren in the Fraser River re­gion of Bri­tish Columbia, circa 1880s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.