Erasing Erasure

Vancouver

Erasing Erasure

An EDI Driven program that brings to light the untold Indigenous histories of Gastown through historical awareness, recognition and inclusivity. We recognize that the stories we tell shape the way we interact with and imagine our public spaces. Thus, our program aims to work with the Indigenous community and City of Vancouver to promote Indigenous history and culture, through interactive programs. When we share true stories we create spaces of inclusivity.

School:

SFU

Department:

History

Course:

HIST 372

Instructors:

  • Nicolas Kenny

City of Vancouver:

  • Christopher Son

Student Team:

  • Aliyah Kazmi
  • Ashley Smith
  • Simon Harrison

Strategy:

  • Healthy City Strategy
  • Culture | Shift

Term:

Spring 2021

Summary

HUBBUB ★ WINNER – SECOND PLACE

What would you think if we presented you with a blank book. Perhaps you would see it as empty. Yet, what if we told you that if you open it again and look closely enough, you may find things that you didn’t notice before. You see, that is the nature and problem of erasure. History may exist all around us but if history, and a certain group’s history has been hidden for a long time, then the only way to really see it, is by reclaiming and cancelling out the erasure through awareness.

An integral practice in our societies is the act of Land Acknowledgments – before setting out to do anything, we recognize the Indigenous Lands and Territories we inhabit and have made homes in. Thus, when we enter conversations around reconciliation and creating spaces of Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, we have to address the first spaces of colonization before being able to bring in change. Thus, our direction heads toward Gastown. Gastown, gained its official designation as a National Historic Site in 2009 and was one of the first settler-colonial spaces as Vancouver was first being established. Yet, Gastown was known to the Indigenous Community that inhabited it as Luk’luk’I, a Squamish village. Yet, to this date, little has been done to honour Gastown’s designation as a National Historic Site by highlighting Indigenous history in Gastown through mainstream channels. If awareness is not brought first, how can change truly come? Here is where our project comes in.

Erasing Erasure is an EDI Driven (Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity) program that recognizes and brings to light the untold Indigenous histories of Gastown through historical awareness, recognition and inclusivity. We recognize that the stories we tell and do not tell, shape the way we interact with and imagine our public spaces. Thus, our team planned out a mix of interactive and visual events: 

1. Day in CRAB Park (Summer)
2. Street Theatre and Reenactments of Gastown’s History (Summer/Fall)
3. Monument to Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Histories (February 14)
4. Art Tour of First Nations Oriented Galleries (Winter)
5. Scavenger Hunt Through the Gastown Neighbourhood (Spring/Summer)
6. Community Mural (Summer)

Ultimately, our program aims to work with the Indigenous community and City of Vancouver to promote Indigenous history, culture and create collaborative opportunities for economic growth for the city and community through social awareness and engagement. When we share true stories and history, we create spaces of inclusivity.