Painting wolves and fishing
Persistence, Perseverance: Still Here
Language: Mik’maq
Nation: Mik’maq
(Room 401)

This painting represents perseverance, and is symbolic of what Canada’s Inuk population had to do to survive during events like the Inuit Displacement that began in the 1950’s; as explained below.

In the 1950s, several Inuit families from Innuksuac were forced to relocate by the federal government to Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord in the high Arctic. Community relocation was a direct result of governmental administrative and development practices. Three families from Pond Inlet were also relocated in order to assist the Innuksuac families with adjustment to the unfamiliar environment. The families were left without sufficient supplies for making appropriate clothing and tents. They were unfamiliar with the wildlife and had to adjust to long periods of 24 hour darkness/light. They were told that they would be returned home after two years if they wished, but these promises were not honoured by the federal government (Tester & Peter, 1994).

Artist: Austin Elijah, age 25

I am from Southwold Ontario, Oneida Nation, and I am a film maker and musician. In the community I make short films about my language and culture. Making those films made me proud of what I was doing for my community, and who I am representing in my heritage to show to future generations. That is what these paintings mean to me; they are something to show to those who come after me. I want to preserve my culture, almost like I am a warrior saving my people. It’s a good feeling; that’s what these paintings are giving me. I am proud and honoured to be asked to use my talents from the Creator in this way. To Queen’s University, I am so thankful.

Artist #2: Thomas McMahon, age 29

My name is Thomas McMahon, and I am a Métis man from Ontario. I was the second artist working on this painting.