For generations, Indigenous people in Canada have lived under the laws and values of European settlers through forced assimilation. The introduction of residential schools, formed by the federal government and instituted by the Anglican Catholic Church, pulled Indigenous children away from their lands, families, languages, and identities. The goal—according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada—was to bring “civilization to the savage people who could never civilize themselves.”
This project focuses on how Indigenous people in the Northwest Territories of Northern Canada are moving towards meaningful self-determination by resetting the past. The act of reclaiming culture and identity is ongoing, and my friends here are resilient in a place where symbols and systems of colonization loom large. We can hear colonization when Dene families pray to the Virgin Mary, but we see Indigenization when a young woman holds the hide of a caribou in her arms. In Catholicism we are “Children of God,” but in the Dene worldview we are “One with the Land.”
There is a complex tension between the way of the church and the way of the ancestors. While it may be impossible to break free of the colonizers, the subtle, defiant, and beautiful acts of resistance give strength to say: “We are still here; here is where we shall stay”.
Pat Kane is a photographer in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He takes a documentary approach to stories about people, life, and the environment in Northern Canada, with a special focus on Indigenous issues, and the relationship between land and identity.
Kane is a grantee of the National Geographic Society’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists, and an alumni of the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. He’s part of the photo collectives Indigenous Photograph and Boreal Collective.
Kane offers training opportunities to promising photographers in rural Northern communities, and is the co-founder and president of the Far North Photo Festival—a platform to help elevate the work of visual storytellers across the Arctic. He’s also a mentor with Room Up Front, a program for emerging BIPOC Canadian photojournalists. He identifies as mixed Indigenous/settler as a proud Algonquin Anishinaabe member of the Timiskaming First Nation (Quebec).
Indigenous Photograph is a space to elevate the work of Indigenous visual journalists and bring balance to the way we tell stories about Indigenous people and spaces. Their mission is to support the media industry in hiring more Indigenous photographers to tell the stories of their communities, and to reflect on how we tell these stories.
Indigenous Photograph’s global database is available to photo editors, creative directors, and those who routinely hire photographers. The electronic database of their members includes detailed information regarding geographical areas of expertise, languages spoken, and contact information.
Here Is Where We Shall Stay
Featuring: Pat Kane
LocationsView Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 1
Old Fulton and Furman St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
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Walking Tour With Indigenous Photograph
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