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Posted by: Angela Yen on July 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm


Discussion Series Pivotal to a Deeper Understanding of Musqueam Culture

Recently, the Museum of Vancouver has been hosting several events on Musqueam culture, heritage and history in support of our award winning exhibit, c̓əsnaʔəm: The City Before the City. The sharing of knowledge on this ancestral village (previously located in the South Vancouver’s Marpole area) is so pivotal to gaining a deeper understanding of Musqueam culture and the city’s history.

After a canoe building session and tour of the Musqueam Cultural Centre Gallery with Kelly Louis in June, the discussion series returned to MOV. Last week, Wayne Point - a practiced archeologist and craftsman in traditional tool making and Musqueam artifacts - shared with our audience several tools and materials ranging from quartz, carved stone and basalt arrowheads. The talk was followed by a walk through the c̓əsnaʔəm: The City Before the City exhibition. Point elaborated on the intricate histories and details of the many displayed belongings.

This discussion series continues on July 21 when Alec Dan shares his experience taking part in the c̓əsnaʔəm vigil to protect this 4,500 year old village and cemetery from development in 2012 and draw connections between past and present Musqueam culture and heritage. More info HERE.

In September, Larry Grant, Jill Campbell and Vanessa Campbell will present an introduction to Musqueam’s traditional language. More info HERE.

Posted by: Myles Constable on October 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Today was a very special day for the team that created c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The collaborative series of exhibitions was recognized at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where the curators were presented with  the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Museums, by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.

The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have made remarkable contributions to a better knowledge of Canadian history. This year’s winning project is c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The exhibition tells the story of c̓əsnaʔəm, one of the largest ancient Musqueam villages and burial sites upon which Vancouver was built. It was jointly curated by the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, Musqueam First Nation, and Susan Roy from the University of Waterloo.

“Winning such a prestigious national award is a testament to the hard work, creativity and perseverance of the curatorial teams,” says Nancy Noble, CEO of MOV. “This important exhibition has allowed the Museum to confront its own colonial past, acknowledging the actions of our predecessors and hopefully, in some small way, reconciling the many misconceptions about the Musqueam people, their history and their continued contributions to Vancouver and Canadian society.”

The three-location exhibition intends to generate public discussion about indigenous history, and to raise awareness of the significance of c̓əsnaʔəm for the Musqueam people and for Vancouver. The ancient village of c̓əsnaʔəm was founded about 5,000 years ago at what was then the mouth of the Fraser—the southern border of today’s Marpole neighbourhood.

“c̓əsnaʔəm was a place where families lived and put their people to rest and was a sophisticated society. That’s why the exhibit is called ‘The City Before the City,’ says Jordan Wilson of the MOA and co-curator of the exhibition. “All too often there’s a picture painted of these villages as quite small and primitive, but in fact it was quite a large site, and the Musqueam people played a significant role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”

“Museums are no longer just passive buildings that store old objects. They play an active role in sharing new knowledge,” says Janet Walker, President and CEO of Canada’s History Society, which administers the award. “c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City is a perfect example of how a museum exhibition can counter an existing narrative—that Vancouver is a young city of immigrants—and replace it with a more truthful version of events. In this way, museums help shape our future as well as our past.”

The joint exhibition opened earlier this year at the Museum of Vancouver, the Museum of Anthropology and the Musqueam Cultural Centre, and continues through January 2016. Each location explores different aspects of c̓əsnaʔəm, through artifacts—collected mainly in the 1920s and ‘30s—and new technologies such as 3-D printing.

You can find more information about the exhibition at www.thecitybeforethecity.com.

Posted by: Myles Constable on June 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm

The Canadian Committee on Public History awarded its 5th annual Public History Prize Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association in Ottawa. The winning project emerged from a curatorial partnership between the Museum of Vancouver, Museum of Anthropology, University of Waterloo, and Musqueam Nation. The collaboration culminated with the creation of əsnaʔәm: the city before the city, a multi-site exhibition project.

This multi-disciplinary, community-based Indigenous research project resulted in a series of three museum exhibitions (all currently on display) at the Museum of Vancouver (2015-2020), Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia (2015-2016), and Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Centre (2015-2016).

c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city examines the history of Vancouver from the point of view of the Musqueam First Nation. It brings a critical history of city building, colonialism and dispossession, museum collecting practices, and Indigenous activism to public audiences. The project also engages many varied groups in discussions about conflicting and complex interpretations of Indigenous history and heritage sites as well as current debates about heritage and development in the city.

As Musqueam cultural advisor Larry Grant explains, “c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city aims at ‘righting history’ by creating a space for Musqueam to share their knowledge, culture and history and to highlight the community’s role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”

“We are thrilled that the committee has recognized this project as an example of innovative scholarship and public engagement,” says Susan Roy, historian at the University of Waterloo and MOV guest curator.

The award recognizes work that achieves high standards of original research, scholarship, and presentation; brings an innovative public history contribution to its audience; and serves as a model for future work, advancing the field of public history in Canada.

Upon accepting the award in Ottawa, Roy shared, "The c̓əsnaʔәm exhibition team is honoured to receive this acknowledgement that recognizes the importance of developing highly collaborative curatorial practices to reflect and promote new understanding of Indigenous history in Canada."

More information about the c̓əsnaʔәm: the city before the city exhibitions can view found here: www.thecitybeforethecity.com.

More information about past Public History Prize winners can be viewed here: http://www.cha-shc.ca/english/what-we-do/cha-prizes/public-history-prize.html#sthash.h4gwPXSu.LEMb9OLQ.dpbs

Posted by: Myles Constable on January 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm

We have received extensive coverage of c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city.

Below is a sneak peek of the exhibition at MOV by Dawn Chabai from City's Breakfast Television, or view here:

“We want Vancouverites to recognize that there was a city here before they came,” said Howard E. Grant. “When contact came, historians, archaeologists, and writers, wrote a lot about other tribes but very little written about Musqueam. It is now our time to tell our story.” - Excerpt from the Vancouver Sun: 'Vancouver exhibition at three sites tells the story of Musqueam city on the Fraser'  Read more

Shaw Go WestCoast explore the exhibitions at Museum of Vancouver and Musqueam:

 

Below, NovusTV host Maike Evers explores all three exhibitions:

"The key across the project is to re-establish a connection between past and present, to show the continuum between the early Musqueam people and their descendants still here, still looking for justice and recognition." Excerpt from Vancouver Magazine's 'The City Before the City: The Musqueam First Nation'  Read more

"Many people think of Vancouver as a "new" city. But long before the gleaming towers, the industry and the traffic was another thriving community called "cesna?em." Watch Jordan Wilson's interview with Gloria Macarenko on Our Vancouver: 'Vancouver's Musqueam past revisited' here and listen to Jordan Wilson give a tour of the original c̓əsnaʔəm site on CBC Early Edition: here click the "Listen" button.

"When guests visit the Museum of Vancouver’s newest exhibit beginning next week, the first thing they will see is a nail protruding from the wall beside its entrance. A Musqueam tradition advises visitors to someone’s home to “hang” any preconceived thoughts on a nail like this so people enter the space with an open mind and an open heart." Excerpt from The Globe and Mail: 'Using traces from Vancouver’s past, a vibrant community is recognized'  Read more

"The origins of this city, now lying unseen below the streets of Marpole, date back 4,000 years, and the people who built it have been here even longer." Excerpt from the Westender: 'Groundbreaking, three-part exhibit traces the origins of Vancouver back to its Musqueam roots'  Read more

“It’s one of the first times where Musqueam’s really been able to tell our own history in our own words,” said Jordan Wilson, a member of the Musqueam Nation, co-curator of the exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology and part of the curatorial collective for MOV. Excerpt from Vancouver Courier: 'Exhibits bring Musqueam legacy alive'  Read more

"The exhibition asks, whose home is Vancouver? How have newcomers claimed Vancouver as their own? How do the Musqueam understand their lengthy connection to this place?" Excerpt from Price Tags: 'c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city'  Read more

Groundbreaking, three-part exhibit traces the origins of Vancouver back to its Musqueam roots - See more at: http://www.westender.com/arts/c-%C9%99sna%CA%94%C9%99m-the-city-before-t...
The origins of this city, now lying unseen below the streets of Marpole, date back 4,000 years, and the people who built it have been here even longer. - See more at: http://www.westender.com/arts/c-%C9%99sna%CA%94%C9%99m-the-city-before-t...

"At all three venues, the didactic components are thoughtfully composed and the exhibition design is handsome and effective. The elements that knit past and present together and that most engage the visitor, however, are the unearthed belongings and the quotes from and interviews with Musqueam elders and other community members." Excerpt from the Georgia Straight: 'c̓əsnaʔəm unburies the city's lost Musqueam world Read more

"The story of Vancouver is typically told with a gaping hole, leaving out the perspective of the First Nations that called this land home for thousands of years before Europeans arrived." Excerpt from from Vancouver Metro: 'New exhibit tells Vancouver’s story through Musqueam First Nation’s eyes'Read more

“We want to make sure the Musqueam perspective is predominant,” Gosselin says. “Hopefully, when people come in here they don’t think the museum is speaking, but rather Musqueam presenting and representing the community.” Excerpt from Megaphone Magazine: 'Where We Started'  Read more

"Our elders tell young people to go slow and be careful, because if something happens to one of us, there is a page in our living history torn out and lost forever." - Morgan Guerin. Excerpt from the Vancouver Observer: 'Can we mend thousands of years of displaced history in Vancouver?Read more

“People often think of Vancouver as a new city, when in fact it is one of the most significant sites of ancient cultures in Canada – one that has even been compared to other societies such as the Egyptian and Roman societies.” - Terry Point. Excerpt from VanCityBuzz 'South Vancouver 5000 Years Ago'  Read more