Exploring the local area has been keeping me busy. I can just about manage not to get lost in downtown, hiked Grouse mountain (otherwise known as the Grouse Grind) and camped on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Last weekend I fancied a slightly further afield adventure and went on a tour down to Seattle. Despite the U.S. government shutdown, crossing the border was pretty speedy so I can now say that I’ve been to the city of ‘50 Shades of Grey’ and the first ever Starbucks! Highlights for me included the ‘gum wall,’ (literally what is says – voted the most grotesque and unhygienic tourist attraction in the world) and the seafood!
On the work front, one of my courses, ‘Art of the North West Coast’s People’ has been a bit of a culture shock. I thought I would be learning about totem poles and their symbolism, but that just highlights my ignorance. I was entirely unaware of the political dimension that the course would take. It’s a particularly raw subject this year because of the 2013 ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission,’ which is an attempt to move on from the traumas caused to the Canadian native peoples in recent history. It’s really hard to approach their art because they are understandably suspicious of our motives. They also don’t want to share its meaning, or cosmological significance because of the belief that it will detract from the works’ value, if shared with the outside world. So it’s more about epistemology and whether we as scholars we have a right to know and consume facts, merely because we are curious.
It’s midterm week already! Luckily arts subjects don’t seem to bother with them, so I’m off to Victoria to enjoy thanksgiving weekend. The salmon are running; apparently it’s quite a sight – they turn red as they swim upstream, and if you’re lucky eagles and even bears come out to try and grab a bit of the action! I’m looking forward to some turkey, and my first taste of a proper pumpkin pie…Happy Thanksgiving! 😀