Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph

Our guest this week is Michelle Nahanee. She is a Squamish graphic designer who created a decolonizing version of Snakes and Ladders.

Read an article about her game here:

Decolonisation resources:

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council

Where are the children exhibit?


National Aboriginal Day

Ideas for events

Aboriginal terminology

Ancient BC site discovered

CBC’s missing and murdered women content

Some missing and murdered women stats 

One excellent decolonisation tool is the blanket exercise. Find out more here:
Watch a blanket exercise on Vimeo
Blanket Exercise Script

The resource below (from the City of Vancouver website) is a terrific research tool for us. Although, at first glance, it strikes me as something that might be overwhelming for its new immigrant target audience. As designers and illustrators, always think carefully about who you are creating for:

Some BC history lowlights

1875: The Dominion government passes an order in council recommending that the BC government allot 80 acres of land to every Indian family of five persons. BC refuses, asserting that not more than 20 acres of land are required for each Indian family. A revised BC Land Act is passed, setting the 20-acre Indian reserve formula while providing 160-acre land grants for individual settlers free of charge.
1913: Construction of the Canadian National Railway causes major landslides in the Fraser Canyon at Hells Gate, blocking the Fraser River salmon run and decimating the fishery. In spite of Indigenous protests and petitions, federal government officials heavily restrict Indigenous fisheries in the area, further undermining Indigenous livelihoods and economies.
1921: Indian Agent/Justice of the Peace William Halliday and the RCMP stage a major raid on a Kwakwaka’wakw potlatch at Mamlillikulla (Village Island), arresting 49 people and confiscating all regalia, masks and other sacred items. Twenty-six people are incarcerated and the confiscated items are sold to public and private collections throughout Canada and the United States. The Kwakwaka’wakw join the Allied Tribes.
1927: Canada amends the Indian Act to make it illegal to obtain funds or legal counsel to advance Aboriginal Title cases. This ends the Allied Tribes’ hope of having a case heard at the Privy Council in London and the Allied Tribes dissolves. Indigenous resistance goes underground.
1953: The BC Kemano Hydroelectric project dams the Nechako River to power an aluminum smelter in Kitimat. The resulting Nechako reservoir floods Dakelh (Carrier) territories, particularly those of the Cheslatta people. With little or no warning, the Cheslatta are forced to flee the rising waters and watch as their community’s hunting grounds, traplines, and burial sites disappear.
1968: After generations of petitioning and lobbying British, BC and Canadian governments, the Nisga’a turn to Canadian courts, seeking legal recognition that Nisga’a title to their territory has never been extinguished and still remains with the Nisga’a people. BC courts rule that Aboriginal Title never existed based on the belief that at the time of colonization, the Nisga’a were primitive people with few notions of civilized society and private property. The Nisga’a take their case, Calder v. Attorney General of BC, to the Supreme Court of Canada.
1975: The Vancouver media declares an “Indian Summer” as Indigenous resistance to government policies continues in rallies, marches, blockades and sit-ins throughout BC, including a highway blockade in St’at’imc’ territory and a Nisga’a demonstration against CN Rail surveyors.
1983: The Haida submit a Comprehensive Claim. As the Haida await negotiation, BC authorizes logging in Haida Gwaii. The Haida block access to Gwaii Hanaas (Lyell Island), declaring it a Haida heritage site and seek an injunction to stop all logging until their Comprehensive Claim is settled. BC argues that Aboriginal Title, if it did exist at all, has been extinguished. The injunction is granted and Gwaii Haanas is designated a Canadian national park.
1998: Canada selects Vancouver-Whistler (Salish-St’at’imc territories) as Canada’s nominee to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Developers prepare a number of ski resort proposals for these territories.
2000: The Nisga’a Final Agreement becomes Canadian law. The Nisga’a surrender 92 percent of their territory in exchange for expanded reserve lands and $190 million cash. The Nisga’a Lisims government is subject to provincial and federal laws. Nisga’a living in the settlement lands will be subject to BC, Canada, and Lisims taxation.