The Tseshaht First Nation and Alberni Valley Museum launched a landmark publication on Monday at the Tseshaht Administration Building.
“Hisheenqu’as, Living Together: Alberni and the Birth of the B.C. Forest Industry, opened as an exhibition locally in 2010 and has now culminated in a stunning large format book, containing the integrated narrative with maps and images, about the convergence of two cultures in the Alberni Valley in 1860.
The book is available for purchase at the Alberni Valley Museum and the Tseshaht Market.
The book showcases artwork, artifacts and archival material brought together to tell the story of what took place in the area 150 years ago. Included are large format maps and images from the collections of the Royal BC Museum, the BC Archives, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, UBC Special Collections and Parks Canada, and artworks of the late George Clutesi Sr. and contemporary Tseshaht artist Sterling Watts.
“Hisheenqu’as – Living Together, goes beyond just the title of this collaborative publication,” Tseshaht Chief Councillor Les Sam said. “It draws on Tseshaht traditional values of ha’huupaa which are stories and teachings rooted in the values we live each day, living together and working together in the Alberni Valley.”
The book explores the contrast between the Tseshaht traditional world view and that of the colonial administration which supported the granting of the area as a resource producing hinterland.
The story of commerce, export, trade and resource exploitation around the first purpose-built export mill in what would become the province of British Columbia, is really the story of the birth of the B.C. forest industry, museum director Jean McIntosh said.
“The beginnings of this key industry which has shaped the development of the province and the Alberni Valley deserves to be recognized.”
Offering something for history and culture buffs to fans of Northwest coast art, Hisheenqu’as – Living Together: Alberni and the Birth of the B.C. Forest Industry tells the story of a distinct and challenging history that has culminated into a unique spirit of partnership.
“I hope this relationship continues on in all walks of life.” said Willard Gallic, Tseshaht councillor. “That’s how we’re going to grow together.”