I’ve discovered that I love Haida art. Until this week I had never heard of Haida art, or the Haida people or mythology. Vancouver is filled with First Nations art, artifacts, and cultural references. I think First Nations is a much better term than Native Americans to refer to the people who lived on our continent before our own (or at least my own) ancestors arrived. Americans is what we are, and the native people were their own tribes with their own identities before anyone called the continent North America or the country the United States of America. First Nations gets it right that they were here first. I don’t know anything about First Nations history or whether these people were as brutalized as Native Americans were by the US government. Something to read up on. But I do love their art, and it’s everywhere. I have resisted buying potholders or keychains featuring the Raven, but I have found some beautiful cards featuring paintings by Bruce Morrisseau, Norval Morrisseau, and Roy Thomas.
Another small piece of ignorance undone–I’ve discovered that French is more widely spoken in Canada than I thought. I have been to Montreal and Quebec and knew that everything there is bilingual, but there seems to be a lot of French around here too. At the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Zoe and I enjoyed a performance by Mauvais Sort, a folk rock group from Quebec. They sang in French. Not that it mattered. The music was fantastic and both toddlers and tweens crowded the dance floor in front of the stage.