media release

Songhees First Nation and SFU’s Bill Reid Centre sign multimedia agreement

June 16, 2011

Scott McLean, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,
David Graham, Bill Reid Centre, 604.682.4179,
Christine Clarke, Songhees First Nation, 250.383.3719

The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies at Simon Fraser University and the Songhees First Nation have entered into an agreement that will establish a digital, multimedia database of images, oral histories, text and sound that will celebrate the cultural achievements of the Songhees First Nation. The agreement was signed at a press conference Thursday morning at the Bill Reid Gallery.

Many treasures of the Songhees First Nation from the late 18th century were lost due to the arrival of European settlers. Outstanding examples of Songhees art were traded as souvenirs, resulting in the majority of the early works being dispersed throughout museums across the world.

Through the use of technology, the collections can be consolidated digitally, allowing researchers to peer beyond the surface. Two immediate dividends of the project include: the multimedia database will supply content for interactive walking tours throughout the Victoria region, while the enhanced database will assist in the carving of house posts at the new Songhees Recreation and Wellness Centre.

The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies is within the Department of Archaeology and First Nations Studies at SFU. The Centre was established by the Senate of the University in 2005 and currently shares space with the Bill Reid Gallery. The Centre is devoted to the study of First Nations art of the Northwest Coast as the visual embodiment of a broad cultural development since the end of the last Ice Age.

The Songhees Nation of the Lekwungen Peoples is a Coast Salish community whose traditional territory includes areas on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and the San Juan and Gulf Islands. They have a 60-hectare reserve located in Greater Victoria, and an additional 60 hectares of reserve land comprised of a number of islands off the coast of Victoria.


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