Drawing 30 hours of caribou hearings in the NWT – CBC story
Hello from above the Arctic Circle! I was recently in Colville Lake, NWT for a Public Listening session about caribou: Sahtú Ragóɂa (Harvest Law) and Approaches to Wildlife Harvesting. The event was a formal 3-day hearing about changes to caribou management, and it was featured in two CBC news stories.
Graphic recording is public listening — and graphic recording, along with interpreters, were part of the listening at this hearing. I felt the deep responsibility of this project and how to listen well. One unique thing we included during the days of hearings was a process for community consent about the images: we asked presenters about ways to improve the images, and then if they wanted to approve them and enter them into the official evidence.
“They’re probably the coolest-looking conference notes you’ll ever read.
In one, swooping lines pour forth from a map, morph into caribou and encircle a Dene drummer. Beneath them are the words: “It is more than a map, it is nature itself.”
In another, the shores of Great Bear Lake, N.W.T., run beneath a ribbon of words, imploring the reader to “reconnect with the land.”
These notes are the work of graphic artist Sam Bradd. Called “graphic recordings,” the notes summarize three days of presentations on caribou harvest management in Colville Lake, N.W.T., organized by the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board.
“We’re trying to create a visual record,” said Bradd. “This is a type of witnessing.”
More context on the caribou, the new management plan proposed by Colville Lake, and the cultural connections to caribou was featured on the NWT morning show: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-129-the-trailbreaker/clip/15757691-caribou-management
And while I love being able to be in the North, it’s also important to me that Drawing Change help build up Northern capacity for graphic recording, too. I was invited by Hotii ts’eeda to host two workshops last year with Indigenous artists and facilitators in Yellowknife and Inuvik – and so if you’re looking for some amazing talent, please also look to Jennie Vandermeer, Melaw Nakehk’o, or Nigit’stil Norbert too.
Other fun details about this project – It took 3 days and a charter plane to travel to this important community of 160 people, I walked in -30C, I shared a cabin with Elder, legend and former Cabinet Minister Ethel Blondin-Andrew (and others), and drew for 30 hours!