The Lake | N-ha-a-itk has had an enormous impact on many of its collaborators. Post-production interviews revealed that many artists involved felt their lives had changed, that the process and performance had in itself been an act of reconciliation, and that this work was extraordinarily rewarding and revealing.
Challenges included the cost and labour involved in the production, some resistance to participation from within the Westbank First Nation, and even some racist pushback from the non-indigenous community. Overall, however, participants described an overwhelmingly positive and powerful experience. The operatic score was transfigured, and in the process of “breaking open” the score, participants embarked upon a process of “learning together” (Derickson-Armstrong) as they created something new, a music drama that told the story of the spirit of the lake in multiple voices, across the historical registers of Susan Allison’s pioneer memoirs, Pentland and Livesay’s mid-century operatic text, the legends of the syilx people, and the contemporary moment of performance.
A paper based on participant interviews entitled “Put Them on the Stage But Let Them Speak” was presented at the Canadian University Music Society (MusCan) conference in 2015.
We are pleased to share the news that Turning Point Ensemble and the Westbank First Nation have begun a second collaborative endeavour designed to learn from and with Westbank First Nations youth through music.
For resources on effective collaborations between indigenous and non-indigenous partners, contact the First Peoples’ Cultural Council
To learn more about the history and culture of the Westbank First Nation, visit the Scnewips Heritage Museum
Click on the program cover above to view the official event program for The Lake | N-ha-a-itk.
You may also download and view the program in PDF .
Video documentation of the world premiere of IMPRINT. Performed on January 23, 2010 at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC. Created by Henry Daniel and Owen Underhill with assistance from Chief Robert Joseph. Commissioned for the MOA’s Celebration of Creativity and presented by Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.