Making Circles: The Chilkat Dancing Blanket, 2014

Making Circles: The Chilkat Dancing Blanket, 2014
HD Video

"In partnership with Reconciliation Canada, the City is supporting a Year of Reconciliation by acknowledging the negative cultural impacts and stereotypes that resulted from Canada’s residential school system, to witness the process of reconciliation and healing, and advance with a greater shared understanding of the historical impacts that have shaped the experiences of Aboriginal people to date."
- City of Vancouver | Read more about the Year of Reconciliation.

Making Circles: The Chilkat Dancing Blanket features an original Anislaga Chilkat Blanket, and the hands of Donna Cranmer (Kwakwaka’wakw), Master Weaver and Anislaga descendent. This particular style of weaving is passed on through generations and is the only known example of perfect circles being created in this format.

Produced in Alert Bay, British Columbia at the U’mista Cultural Centre, the video documents the repatriation of a 100-year-old Chilkat Blanket to the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. An item of important cultural significance, the blanket was stolen from the Namgis First Nation during the potlatch ban in British Columbia (1885-1951) and distributed elsewhere, to eventually be uncovered in an auction house in Europe. This video shows the return of the Anislaga Chilkat Blanket to the nation, with contrasting images of present-day weaving in the same traditional style.

My deepest gratitude to Master Weaver, Donna Cranmer, the U'mista Cultural Society, the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation and specifically the Namgis First Nation for allowing me to document a significant event.

I acknowledge that Vancouver, BC is located on the stolen, sacred and ancestral territories of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh, sel̓íl̓witulh & xʷməθkʷəy̓əm nations. In addition, I would like to express sincere gratitude for being welcomed onto the land of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), and more specifically the Namgis First Nation.

For reference, the City of Vancouver refers to the municipality as being situated on “unceded” land. Unceded means that this land was never surrendered, relinquished or handed over in any way.

* Commissioned by the City of Vancouver as a public artwork for the Year of Reconciliation. Exhibited at the CBC Plaza Video Screen, Vancity Theatre, VancouverLive! Dual Video Screens at Robson + Granville Street, and the Gallery at VanDusen Gardens

This video was part of a collection of projects awarded the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Award (PAN).