The focus of this CURA project is a unique art collection at the
Osoyoos Museum: 205 visual documents comprised of pieces of children's
art from the Inkameep Day School in Oliver, B.C., as well as photographs
of the children taking part in school activities. The art and photographs
were created in the years of 1931-43 during the residence of Anthony
Walsh, the teacher and principal of the one-roomed schoolhouse who
based his teaching on the importance of art in education.
Although Walsh had no formal pedagogical training, he saw that
to lift the children out of an atmosphere of discouragement and
frustration associated with Western intrusion into aboriginal lives,
they had to express themselves through their own culture and values
(B.C. Provincial Archives, MS-2799). Walsh is recorded as stating
he simply let the children teach him about what they were interested
in before he could start teaching them. Interested in Native arts
and crafts himself, Walsh encouraged creative expression in art,
song, legend, dance, and music seeing this as a positive way to
encourage the children in their education. Walsh devoted a small
allotment of regular curriculum time to creative expression everyday.
Dr. Andrea Walsh, Dept. of Anthropology at UVic, and several of her students worked in close collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band to research the drawings and archival collections located in Victoria, Vancouver, the Okanagan Valley, London, England, and Vienna. Interviews were conducted with former students of the Day School and Oliver residents with memories of the school and Anthony Walsh.
A database of digitized images was created for the Osoyoos
Museum collection as well as a bibliography and resource list for
information on the Inkameep Day School and related topics. Some
of the Osoyoos Museum works were selected for the exhibition "Drawing
the World" at the Vancouver
Art Gallery from June 27 through September 28, 2003, and for
"Nk’mip Chronicles: Drawings from the Collection of the
Osoyoos Museum" shown at the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery,
Feb. 23 – April 6, 2004.
The drawings were showcased in an exhibition at the Nk'Mip Cellars Winery in Osoyoos for National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2004, and they remained on display until July 21 st . The production of a web exhibit, entitled Drawing on Identity: Inkameep Day School Art Collection was launched in the Summer of 2004, and is sponsored by the Virtual Museums of Canada program.
The project publication, Nk'Mip Chronicles: Art from the Inkameep Day School , is available from the Osoyoos Museum or the Nk'Mip Desert Heritage Centre.
For more images and information, see the Osoyoos Museum's introduction
to the Inkameep
School and Anthony Walsh.