While I may have finished reading all of the Emily Carr books, I have not finished my Emily Carr project. I plan to put together the quotes, my writing, some drawings and photographs, and turn it into something. I’m just not sure what that something is, whether it’s a webpage or if it’s a book.
For now, I’ve picked up A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada again, which is the journals and letters written by Anne Langton, a British woman who came to Ontario in 1837. That’s 34 years before Emily Carr was born in British Columbia. I went to Wikipedia to figure out what was happening on the west coast of Canada at that time. It wasn’t even part of Canada then. Yet the first piece of history on that page is this:
The first British settlement in the area was Fort Victoria, established in 1843, which gave rise to the city of Victoria, at first the capital of the separate Colony of Vancouver Island.
In fact, you have to scroll and scroll to even find the first mention of the Indigenous people who were here first:
First Nations, the original inhabitants of the land, have a history of at least 10,000 years in the area.
As we get closer to July 1st and the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I’m thinking a lot about Canada. To be honest, I’m often thinking a lot about Canada. Our identity is so tied up in what we are not. We are not British. We are not American.
It may feel like a hard question for me to answer as a white person today, but I cannot know what it was like to be an Indigenous person then. To know this place is your home, to know who you are, and then everything changes when a group of white people arrive.
The better Wikipedia page to read is the full History of British Columbia. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the library, now that I know what I need to read next.