Condensed by Native Village
British Columbia: In 2009, the Skwxwú7mesh Nation installed an electronic advertising billboard at Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver. The 3 x 10 meter billboard is on their Kitsilano Indian reserve No. 6.
The billboard flashes a static advertisement every 10 seconds. In April the ads included messages about Native issues:.
The text messages were part of Digital Natives, a public art project curated by Lorna Brown and Clint Burnham. Using tweets, Native and non-native writers and artists across North America contributed to the messages.
Burnham says advertising on native land seems to trigger confusion or even outright racism.
"It's like non-native people don't want to be reminded there still is native land around us," he said. "Or that native people shouldn't use their land to make money."
The land on which the billboard stands is also controversial. It reflects a history of colonialism and the taking of lands from many First Nations, including the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard)
This Indigenous history is often minimized or erased from stories of Vancouver's development:
Digital Natives coincided with Vancouver's 125th Anniversary. The brief messages related to location and history, digital language and translation, and of the city itself.
Brown and Burnham say those who contributed to the Digital Natives Art Project include "a dream team of artists and writers," "a crackerjack team of technicians," and many others.
Youth contributed also. Burnham said the kids saw a direct political message they want to convey. Two messages are about paying more attention to what marginalized youth need:
Digital Natives was also part of an exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
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