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British Columbia Series
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Tait

Series documents Nisga’a artist Norman Tait and his crew of carvers during a period in which they were prolific in their creation of totem poles.

Jensen first met Tait in the early 1970s when she would photographic artists’ works for Bud Mintz, Vancouver gallery owner. In 1985 she had the idea to produce a book documenting the carving of a totem pole from start to finish. She approached Tait, who initially refused but called Jensen back just a few days later to take her up on the offer, after being commissioned to create a pole for the Native Education Centre in Vancouver.

Jensen photographed Tait and his crew, which consisted of his brother Robert (Chip), his cousin Harry Martin (Hammy), his nephew Wayne Young and his eldest son Isaac (Ikey). She also made notes and audio recordings of Tait’s lessons to his crew, most of whom had never worked on such a large project. The photographs and tapes were used in the creation of the book Where the People Gather: Carving a Totem Pole. The project also led to the publication of a children’s version, Carving a Totem Pole and a paperback version titled Totem Pole Carving. The books were published in the early 1990s.

Jensen documented Tait’s next two major commissions: two poles for Capilano Mall in 1986, and a pole for Stanley Park in 1987.

In 1987 Tait adopted Jensen into the Nisga’a Eagle Clan and began to teach her about the responsibilities that came with the honour. The lessons were put into practice in 2001 when Tait asked Vickie to guard the body of a family member that had died.

The series includes photographic records of the creation of the four poles; audio recordings of lessons and interviews with Tait; transcripts of the audio tapes; and notes. The series consists of five sub-series:

A. Native Education Centre (NEC) pole photographs
B. Capilano Mall and Stanley Park poles photographs
C. Misc. photographs
D. Tait family and crew artists’ photographs
E. Audio tapes and transcripts.

Haisla

Series consists of records pertaining to the work Powell has done in Kitamaat Village.

In 2000 Powell began working on the Haisla Traditional Use Study (TUS) with community members Gerald Amos, Rod Bolton and Louise Barbetti. For the TUS, Powell conducted interviews and checked information gathered against textual archival records of the region. The first year of the project was funded by the BC Ministry of Forests, and the second year with a federal grant. At the end of the second year, the study was completed with a report on the Haisla concept of ownership.

Upon completion of the TUS, Powell stayed on with the Haisla to work on outlining ownership in the regional watersheds to be used in Land and Resource Management Planning (LRMP) negotiations. This led to the creation of a book on Haisla land ownership and other traditions, explained using oral histories, to be distributed during a Unity Feast hosted by Chief Steve Wilson.

As he was working on the Haisla Unity Feast Book, Powell started to push for the development of a Haisla curriculum package for the schools in the Kitimat area. In the summer of 2005 Jenson travelled with Powell to Kitlope and photographed many of the areas included in the traditional oral histories of the region. This trip led to the creation of a curriculum booklet called By Punt to the Kitlope. The pamphlet was so successful that Powell was commissioned to create a booklet for the whole of the traditional Haisla territory. Beginning work on this project led to the discovery that most of the Haisla trapline registrations had lapsed or had been passed on to the incorrect person, owing to confusion between the traditional matrilineal method of inheritance and the emerging patrilineal way of passing on title. Powell embarked on a project with Rod Bolton to re-register Haisla traplines in a way that made sense to the community.

In 2006 Vickie “Eden” Robinson was hired to assist Powell in the creation of an archives for the Haisla, based on the material accrued during the time of Powell’s work in Kitamaat.

In 2008 the Kitamaat Village Council signed a two year contract with Powell. He will work for two weeks out of every two months to complete the remaining outstanding projects, including a Haisla place names map, the introduction to Haisla territory.

The series consists of five sub-series:
A. Notebooks
B. Reports
C. Publications and research material
D. Photographs
E. Interviews

Salishan

Series contains records relating to Jensen and Powell’s work with the Salishan language groups in Musqueam and Shalalth territories, and events related to those communities. Although the records were created in a number of villages at different periods of time, Jensen and Powell arranged them together due to the linguistic connection they share.

In 1975 Powell received an Urgent Ethnology grant from the National Museum of Man (Now the Canadian Museum of Civilization) to do linguistic work in Kitamaat. However, this work fell through, and Powell contacted Arnold Guerin of the Musqueam band to discuss using the grant to prepare materials for Guerin’s Hunqum’i’num classes. Together they planned to produce three books: one of phonetics, one on grammar, and one on maths, with Jensen’s assistance in the layout and photography. From reel-to-reel recordings Powell and Paul Thiele of the UBC Library for the Blind produced cassettes to accompany the books. Only the first book was completed as planned, but Powell adapted the notes they had already taken to create two books for younger children. All of this resulted in Musqueam Language: Book 1 and Hunq’um’i’num for Kids: Books 1 & 2. Three years later in 1978 Leona Sparrow hired Jensen on grant money to teach a black and white photography course.

In 1989 the principal of the Shalalth School asked Powell to work with the band on language books. With Harold Oldman and Bev Frank he compiled materials for two books, which were not published. He also completed an alphabet sheet for the community to use.

Series also includes photographs taken by Jensen in 2003 of a ceremony returning city land to the Musequeam near Vanier Park.

Series comprises four sub-series:
A. Field notes and research
B. Publications
C. Musqueam photographs
D. Salishan audio recordings
E. Squamish photographs

Northwest Coast groups

Series consists of photographs documenting events in various communities throughout British Columbia and Washington State. These include community photographs in Mt. Currie; the Salish Linguistic Conference in Oman, Washington State; a Robert Davidson Pole Raising; coverage of NWC artifacts at the National Museum of Copenhagen in Denmark; coverage of 1992 Nuxalk Potlatch at Bella Coola for Canadian Museum of Civilization; and photographs of a Haida bentwood box.

Between working on language and education projects, Jensen was often hired by communities to document important events, such as pole-raisings, conferences and potlatches. This series consists of the photographs taken at those events.

Northwest Coast Indian Art

Series consists of binders made up of photographs, quotations, background information and photocopied text from published sources. These binders were created to provide context to Koerner’s collection of Northwest Coast Indian art. These albums were compiled by Madeline Bronsdon Rowan, who was one of the curators at the Museum of Anthropology.

Research

The series consists primarily of material accumulated and/or created by Gillian Darling Kovanic during her travels abroad, both as a student of anthropology and a filmmaker. This series includes field research conducted by Kovanic with the Kalash in Pakistan, the Kom/Kati tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Orissa in India, the Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands [Haida Gwaii], British Columbia and the Kwakwaka’wakw in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Much of her fieldwork is made up of a study of the languages and cultural practices of the people being studied.
Included in the series are eleven field notebooks and thirty-nine corresponding cassette tapes, a handwritten Kalash’a dictionary, a notebook containing information on the ethnographic materials collected by Darling, which now reside with the Royal Ontario Museum, and approximately 4502 photographs, including slides, negatives, prints and digital photos. Also included are a number of academic and popular articles collected by Kovanic, which compliment her field research, including a unique, handwritten article by Wazir Ali Shah, secretary to the last ruler of Chital, Mehtar, in 1977, which was written after the original manuscript was lost. The series also contains published material, comprised of a teaching kit titled “Kalash Bread-making: From Field to Feast” and the Wakhi Language Book by Haqiqat Ali.

Gillian Darling Kovanic

Kwak’wala

The series contains records created during a number of visits and projects completed with the Kwakwaka'wakw of Alert Bay.

After meeting David Grubb at the Salish Conferences in the early 1970s, Jensen was invited by Grubb to attend a potlatch on Gilford Island, just off Alert Bay. It was the first potlatch that she attended, and Jensen photographed it in black and white without flash.

Around the same time, Gloria Cranmer Webster began involving her UBC colleague Powell in discussions on the development of a Kwak’wala orthography. The two worked on this project during their breaks at work, with the main end goal to create accurate labels for artefacts at the museum, then located in the basement of the library on campus.

In 1975, after she moved back to Alert Bay, Webster contacted Powell and asked him to assist her in the creation of a language and culture book for Kwak’wala speaking people. Powell travelled to Alert Bay, the first of many trips to do such work. Over the next few years, Powell and Jensen were invited to Alert Bay on a number of occasions to attend potlatches, pole raisings, and other community events. Jensen photographed the events, as well as other aspects of the community such as the day care and band school.

In 1980 Webster, on behalf of the U’Mista Cultural Centre, secured salaries for both Jensen and Powell for one full year. They were hired to produce language and culture books, but in reality helped with many other aspects leading to the opening of the Centre. They rented a house in the village and lived there full time for the year, immersing themselves in the community, and creating a body of records that integrates both work and community life. Jensen had permission to photograph extensively, and these are all included in this series. Powell did linguistic research and worked with teachers from both the band school and the provincial school that were located in the village. Jensen also photographed language and culture lessons to be used in the books being produced. During the year they lived in Alert Bay, they produced 12 language books and a teacher’s manual for U’mista.

In 1982 Powell and Jensen purchased a house in Alert Bay, further cementing their intentions to maintain connections to the community. They continued to attend and photograph events and potlatches between projects.

In 1983 the Kwak’wala Teacher Training Program (KTTP) was developed by Powell and Jensen. The program was a college credit course for local area teachers to train them to lead language and culture lessons in their classes. Jensen and Powell divided their teaching duties, involving another teacher named Joy Wild. The program was successful for two years.

Over the next 20 years many of their visits were social in nature, although they continued to keep a detailed record of the events they attended. In 2001 they completed a CD-ROM for the Learning Kwak’wala series. This project had been ongoing for some time.

The series also contains photographic records of two events that took place outside the realm of the language projects. The Canadian Museum of Civilisation hired Doug Cranmer to carve a new Wakas Pole to replace the decaying version in Stanley Park and contacted Jensen to document the event. The second set of photographs records a trip organised by U’Mista Cultural Centre for scholars and experts to visit Mimkwamlis (Village Island) and T’sadzis’nukwakme’ (New Vancouver).

The records kept in this series consist of recordings, photographs, research notes, draft teaching aids, and copies of completed resources for both children’s education and the KTTP.

The series consists of eleven sub-series:
A. U’Mista research/background
B. Research materials
C. Field notes
D. Publications
E. Kwak’wala teacher training program
F. Kwak’wala CD-ROM project
G. Kwak’wala photographs
H. Potlatch photographs.
I. Wakas pole raising in Stanley Park 1987 photographs
J. Trip to Village Island and Tzatsisnukomi (New Vancouver) photographs 2005.
K. Audio recordings