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Communities, Cultures and Cross-Border Considerations: An Interdisciplinary Canada-US Graduate Symposium

April 30, 2010

Julia Day 2010

Graduate student presenters for “Indigenous Identities, Histories, and Performance” and mini-presentation morning panels. Left to right: Libby Concord (University of Victoria), Brooke Wilken (University of Victoria), and Wendi Lindquist (University of Washington).

This year’s symposium included a diverse range of presentations focusing on the themes of history, culture, identity, indigenous studies, community and performance. The symposium was a great success, providing an opportunity for interaction and exchange of ideas among Canadian studies graduate students and scholars associated with many disciplines. In addition to nine University of Washington student presenters, the event attracted presenters from the University of Victoria and Emily Carr University. Michael Asch, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta; Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, delivered the keynote address, titled “Born for You and Me: Treaties with First Nations and the Settlement of Canada.” Marcia Ostashewski, 2010-2011 Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair facilitated the program.

The morning panel, “Indigenous Identities, Histories, and Performance,” was chaired by Dr. Daniel Hart, American Indian Studies and Chair/Director of Canadian Studies, University of Washington. The panel featured four papers by music education and ethnomusicology students from the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. Among these were Libby Concord’s discussion of Frances Densmore’s Music of the Indians of British Columbia, and Brooke Wilken’s study of creation and recreation of cultural traditions and values in Central Alberta’s North American Indian Ecumenical Conferencesand the annual Tsartlip Indian Reserve Yellow Wolf Intertribal Powwow in British Columbia.

Julia Day 2010

Symposium participants learn about Frances Densmore’s Music of the Indians of British Columbia from Libby Concord (University of Victoria).

The mini presentation panel, chaired by Dr. Michael Asch, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta; Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria, included three University of Washington graduate students who rose to the challenge of presenting their work in seven minutes. Wendi Lindquist provided a historical description of indigenous and European American death practices in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Amanda Barney weighed the impact and social sustainability of geo-tourism in the communities of Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Bonnie McConnell drew attention to issues of immigration, innovation and multiculturalism in relation to Canada’s vibrant African music scene.

The afternoon panel, “Crossing Borders,” chaired by Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music, University of Washington, brought together perspectives from the disciplines of history, art and music education. Christopher Herbert, University of Washington, addressed the parallel experiences of gold rushes in California and British Columbia (1848-1871) and how these reshaped pre-existing ideas of race, nationality and colonial societies. Sara French, Emily Carr University, chronicled her performance art piece, Norman Eberstein, enacted at the Douglas border crossing between Canada and the US. Christopher Roberts, University of Washington, explored the Smithsonian Folkways Children’s Music Collection with specific attention to children’s songs and games from French Canada, Inuit, African American and European American traditions.

“Canadian Content and Collaborations with the Smithsonian Folkways,” was a panel of special presentations featuring Dr. D.A. Sonneborn, Associate Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music, University of Washington; and Margaret Asch, Co-Curator of Seeing the World of Sound: The Cover Art of Folkways Records, University of Alberta. Presentations focused on history, music, history, cover art, and educational initiatives of Smithsonian Folkways.

The keynote address by Dr. Michael Asch brought together many of the main themes of the symposium in a presentation titled “Born for You and Me: Treaties with First Nations and the Settlement of Canada.” Dr. Asch examined the Canadian processes of historicization of colonial settlement of lands already occupied by others and compared these with similar processes in the US.

Julia Day 2010

Symposium presenters receive instruction during the Seattle Fandango Project community music presentation. Left to right: Lummi musician Swil Kanim, Daniel Hart (Director of Canada Studies, University of Washington), Seattle Fandango Project member, Julia Day (University of Washington), Keynote speaker Michael Asch (University of Alberta, University of Victoria), and Patricia Campbell (University of Washington)

The symposium concluded with two moving performance presentations. Members of the Seattle Fandango Project demonstrated the power of cross-border community music making by encouraging the participation of everyone present. Lummi musician and storyteller Swil Kanim closed the event with an inspirational performance that addressed the healing power of honor and self-expression.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Title VI grant, U.S. Department of Education, International and Foreign Language Education, and a Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Government of Canada.

Julia Day and Bonnie McConnell served as co-chairs for this year’s Canada-US graduate student symposium. Both Julia and Bonnie are graduate students in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington and Canadian Studies 2010-2011 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellows in French.


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