Images and Land Claims series this weekend

It's a chance to take 'journeys of inquiry and imagination' into the struggle for indigenous rights July 11 to July 13.

It’s a UFV series featuring film, maps and discussions where the timely topic of land claims is approached from several directions.

Images and Land Claims is set to run July 11-13, hosted by Sto:lo Nation at the Sto:lo Resource Centre on the Coqualeetza grounds, supported by University of the Fraser Valley.

The series is the “chance to make journeys of inquiry and of imagination to the struggle for indigenous rights,” according to the poster.

Images and Land Claims is geared to students and academics, as well as the general public, said Ken Brealey, UFV’s associate dean of arts.

“We think it will interest anyone with direct or indirect association with land claims and treaty issues,” he said.

The audience could comprise everyone from First Nations leaders and community members, to rights and title researchers, and cartographers, to filmmakers and paralegals.

There’s good information on offer for everyone really.

“To play devil’s advocate, members of the public also need to know where land claims come from,” said the geography professor.

The whole subject turns out to be quite timely, given the recent Williams decision from the Supreme Court of Canada on the matter of aboriginal rights and title of the Tsilhqot’in Nation of B.C.

Brealey actually contributed to the research component used in the historic trial.

“It might give this weekend series some added luster or import,” he added, about the timing of the Williams decision.

The visual materials like maps, photography, and film will enable people to see what has been largely hidden.

“One of the themes in the certificate course has been that land claims are in some sense about making what was once invisible, visible,” said Brealey.

“When you do that, you start to decolonize yourself, and realize there are other worlds in our backyard.”

The series is linked to a UFV certificate course, Indigenous Maps, Films, Rights and Land Claims, which runs until July 18.

Participants this weekend will gain insight about the struggles in Canada, following the Sto:lo in B.C., and other First Nations, as well as the people of South Africa, touching on issues of decolonization and cultural revival as well.

It includes the screening of Hugh Brody’s new film about the San (Bushman) in South Africa.

Brody is UFV’s Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night, with an official welcome at about 6:15 p.m. Film screening at 6:30 p.m.

Screening of two films Tracks Across Sand (Overture and Aftermath), and then from 7:45-8:30 p.m. discussion will led by San representatives Annetta Bok and Dirk Pienaar, making their first ever visit to Canada from the Kalahari. Speakers will include Brody, Leslie Pinder, Neil Sterritt, Don Ryan, Sonny McHalsie, and Dave Schaepe.

Neil Sterrit and Don Ryan will cover Gitksan territory in film and history.

Sonny McHalsie and Dave Schaepe will be talking about Stó:lō territory along the Fraser River.

A reception will follow the film and discussions. See more details about other events over the weekend on a blog

Admission is free, and the public is welcome.