Political Cartoon (OpEd)


So it’s taken me a while to be able to upload my political cartoon, but here it is!


First, let me explain the plot of my cartoon. Sitting on the couch watching TV is an average, middle class couple. A commercial comes on trying to get people to donate to help others in third world countries get clean water. They both agree that everyone should have access to clean water. Outside the window, we see a couple aboriginal people protesting for more funding from the government so that they can have clean water. The couple sees them and yells at them as opposed to feeling sympathy.


Yes, donating to other countries is a good cause. That’s not what this cartoon is trying to dispute. The point of this cartoon is to show how insensitive and uneducated people can be when it comes to aboriginal issues in Canada. Problems occurring far away receive lots of attention and sympathy, while the same problems affecting Canadians go unnoticed or ignored. As well, it brings attention to the issue of lack of clean water on Canadian reserves.


Read this article to learn more about clean water issues on reserves: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/clean-running-water-still-a-luxury-on-many-native-reserves-1.1081705


I don’t want to be like the couple on the couch. I want to be continually educated about these issues, and I want the government to start paying attention and helping fix these problems.

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Treated Unfairly Then. Treated Unfairly Now.

Before you start reading this post, I encourage to watch this poem that I am very fond of.


“Evaluate the impact of interactions between aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815 – 1914.” – PLO B2

Before this unit of socials began, I really didn’t have much interest in Canadian history or politics (sorry Canada). However, we have recently been focusing on the aboriginal history of Canada, and it has sparked my interest more than anything we’ve done in socials before.

As this is a topic that I haven’t looked into until recently, I have much to learn about it. My previous knowledge of aboriginal culture consisted of memories from my field trip to visit a longhouse in grade one. Throughout elementary school, they showed us artwork and architecture that belonged to the First Nations. In middle school I believe we read a couple books that had aboriginal main characters, thus we learned a bit about culture through that. So really, I only knew about the pretty side of things. They wouldn’t tell us about the murders and torture that made our country, since we were just little kids. Now that I am older I can educate myself.

In class the other day we read an excerpt from a book that talked about residential schools. I am appalled by everything I read, and have taken a step back to seriously analyze my actions and thoughts about the topic. All the cultures that were lost through these schools, all the people they dehumanized – it sickens me. Now, I still do not know too much about the topic of residential schools, so that is something that I plan on looking into.

I am very interested in learning about how our society and country treats aboriginal peoples in the modern day. Yes it is extremely important to learn about the past so that we can understand its impacts, but I want to know about right now. I’m so used to the Canada that allows me to have clean drinking water whenever I want, the Canada that keeps me safe and healthy, the Canada that caters to me. But I know that there are people living on reserves who don’t have that. I want to know why. I want to know what’s being done about it, if anything.

Through my studies of these topics I’m sure I will learn about many things: politics, finance, geography, etc. For once, this is a topic that I’m eager to dive into and uncover the (probably ugly) truths.

Almost Over (In-Depth Post #7)

Even though this is post number 7, I will be basing the criteria off of Ms. Mulder’s post 8 blog.

So remember how last post I said I was doing a collaboration with Joanna and her cosplay? WELL I DID IT. Joanna cosplayed Loki at FanExpo, and while I’m sure she has posted many photos, let me just add one here.

Joanna Loki

I had come over a few days before to try out the makeup on her, so here’s what that looked like (aka attempt one).


She had requested afterwards for the real thing to tone down the cheekbones a bit. Loki has amazing cheekbones, but it is important to listen to your client so I did as she requested.

Also, here is a picture of the makeup I did on my mentor during this time.


The reason I like this makeup is because I was learning how to look at a picture and duplicate it. I don’t have original picture available at the moment, but my attempt was pretty close to the real thing. As you may be able to see in the picture though, I was slightly impatient and took the picture before the eyelash glue was fully dry.

Maybe you’re wondering, did she only do one makeup with her mentor these past 3-4 weeks?!?! The answer is no, I have done much more. The reason I do not have pictures of more is because I started learning a new makeup technique, which is called airbrushing. If you don’t know what airbrush makeup is, think of it as mini spray paint that you put on someone’s face. Out of my two attempts with airbrush makeup, none of these have been worthy of pictures. This is by far the most challenging part of this project that I have experienced. It takes so much care and practice to get the airbrush under control. Beauty makeup seems even harder to do with an airbrush than creative makeup, because you have to make sure everything looks seamless and feathery. Next week I plan on trying it again with a very elaborate makeup, so hopefully I can post some pictures of that later.

De Bono talks about interrupting, and when it’s acceptable. For me, I find that sometime it is helpful to follow the “interrupt at the right point and state you will elaborate later” method, because I easily forget things that I wanted to say. You don’t want to cut them off mid sentence, but if you can find a good moment you can find an appropriate time to say something. I have done this a couple times with my mentor just to connect what she was saying to a story.

De Bono also talks about attitude. One attitude that had been present with my mentor and I is an excited attitude. For example, when she found her old airbrush paints which she thought she had given away, she came in the room smiling and exclaiming how happy she was that she found them. Of course, I was super excited about this as well because it made the airbrush process much easier. Another attitude that has been present is an unsure attitude. By that I mean that it’s kind of awkward and cautious. This was mainly by me during the first few sessions because I did not know much and just wanted to do well. It involved me saying the phrase “is this alright?” quite a lot.

This is probably my last post for in-depth (maybe not if I have a super cool update to share), so thanks for reading!

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Katherine Actually Learned Things; More on the News at 7

Welcome, friends, to the midterm section of my blog. Here you will find the link to my wonderful and not at all sarcastic prezi, for your viewing pleasure.


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Final Address and Such

Below is my final address. (Yes, this was meant to be performed in a very nonchalant, old fur trader style)

Ahhh, yes. I had a feeling this is how it would play out. There’s been a lot of big decision making out east, but I haven’t been too active in it since I am here – on the west coast. You see I, James Douglas, have lived in many countries. I was born in Guyana, moved to Scotland, and then sent off to be a fur trader. But I have to say, coming to this land was the best thing that could have happened to me.

There is nowhere in the world more magnificent than what we can now proudly call Canada.

I do fear for what will become of the natives, how they will respond to people wanting their land and resources. I have grown to know and like many of the indigenous people. I hope that an agreement will be settled and that this land can be peaceful.

I have confidence that Canada can stand on it’s own and become one of the most beautiful and influential countries in the world. Britain brought us a long way, but there is a time to become independent, and that time is now. I am so happy that the nation has realized that Britain cannot protect us forever. That we will be strong on our own.

*And before I leave, you should all know that … if you go down to the HBC, and tell them James Douglas sent you, they’ll give you a discount on some furs*

Another thing to note about this presentation was that the last little part about the fur discount was
a) a joke, and
b) I wasn’t sure whether I was going to say it or not but I ended up saying it because I think I’m hilarious.

NOW I also realize I’m really bad at remembering to put hashtags in tweets as well as formatting things into this blog so I’m sorry if these didn’t show up in the class hashtag. :(

Here are what my tweets said:

“Wow! This gold rush is getting crazy! I think it’s time for me to lay down the law.”

“Whew! Glad that’s over. Congrats to us, the new nation of Canada!”

“Remember me, not only as a fur trader, but as a leader, and as a friend.”

This was a very interesting unit, but I look forward to moving on to whatever we are learning next.


It is I, James Douglas, writing to you in the year 1856. There has been gold discovered in British Columbia! The news is spreading throughout all of the North America, and we’re receiving a lot visitors – miners and the like – who are trying to find some of this gold.

Now, I don’t have any official political standing at the moment, but I can see the chaos that is soon to be caused if someone doesn’t step in and keep everything in order. Obviously, if we are to keep the peace of BC, I will have to try and exert British jurisdiction in the land.

What kind of chaos could be caused if I don’t step in? Well, I want you to imagine how the Natives will feel about all of these recent arrivals. I can sense hostility on both sides, and I want to do everything in my power to stop any violence before it ensues.

So to do that, I have stationed a warship at the mouth of the Fraser River to issue licenses to merchants and prospectors. This will help keep a strict process that people will follow.

Why else do I care about this? Well, it’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of the Americans. Usually, as long as they stay on their side of the border, we get along just fine. Unfortunately, with the gold rush, American miners have come up here. I worry that if they like what they see, and have too much free power, that they may want to take control of this beautiful land. I will not stand for it. I will keep these Americans under proper control.

The center of the solar system…. In-depth #6

Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

White hat = information

Red hat = feelings and intuition

Black hat = critical thinking

Yellow hat = values and benefits

Green hat = new ideas/alternatives

Blue hat = organizes other hats; moderator

In the last two weeks of in-depth, I’ve had the chance to further develop my two main art pieces: the jellyfish and the space junk mobile. I’ve had a lot of conversations with my mentor exploring different possibilities for each one, and deciding when to come back to a problem later. For example, we were having  a discussion about how to represent the sun (arguable one of the most important parts) in my solar system. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: “So, my biggest problem so far has been trying to figure out what the sun is going to look like. It can’t be the proper size in relation to the other planets, obviously, but I’d like to make it stand out in some way that obviously designates it as ‘The Sun’. “

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes. Well, we can definitely make the sun a bit larger than the other planets. To give it a round shape, I could use some of my circles and cross them over each other, to give it more depth. I also think it would be good to show some movement for the sun.”

Me: “That sounds good. I definitely think movement is a good thing, because the sun is always burning and giving off solar flares and radiation, right? It would be nice to have a little globe or sphere for the sun, because most of the other planets are 2D. That would set it apart for sure. What were you thinking of with the circles?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I have some old guitar strings that are really nice, they have this bouncy-ness to them that makes them really fun to work with. (Gets them out and arranges them like so) What if we wrapped a shiny clear material, like this cellophane, around it to reflect light?

guitar string sun, courtesy of me

Me: “Oh, yes I really like the guitar strings like that. Especially how the rings that make it look like the skeleton of a globe aren’t entirely lined up, so they make these great little crescents. The cellophane….I’m not sure. I like how it reflects the light, and it’s plastic, so it’s reusing garbage material, but it’s a little bit too green and pink. It doesn’t remind me of the sun that much. I almost feel like we would want something fluffier and lighter, because the sun is full of gas, and it’s always burning and releasing energy. It would be cool if we found a way to make the material be releasing, or expanding. Hmmm…..I’m not sure about the cellophane, but I really love the guitar strings. How can I attach them to make them stay in that shape?

Ms. Kirkwood: “I usually just tape them together using strong crafting tape. It works well because you can easily take it off if you don’t like it or need to make changes, and because it’s easy to put on and holds very well. If you tape it like this, crossing over one way and then the opposite direction, it makes it more difficult for the tape to get pulled apart.

Me: “Oh yeah, because now it is held together in a way that by trying to undo one piece of tape, the other piece will stop it from moving. Cool! It’s just coincidence that the tape is bright yellow, but I really like how that colour contrasts with the more copper-y guitar strings. (puts pieces together with tape) The two overlapping points are at the top and bottom of the sun if you hold it this way. It’s kind of cool, because it looks like two “poles” on the top and bottom of the sun.”

Ms. Kirkwood: “Yes, it does. Do you have any more ideas about the fabric we could use for the sun? If you want plastic, or garbage-y material, I could give you some kind of plastic-y wrapping paper I had…just let me go look for it…(15 minutes and a messy storage room later) Huh, I thought I had something, but I guess not. None of those more napkin-y tissue papers stood out to you?”

Me: “No, not really…. I don’t know, I can’t really think of anything that seems to fit with the mobile.The rest of it is coppery wire, wood and red plastic.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Do you want to come back on it? We can always work on something else, and come back to it with new ideas later.

Me: “Sure…maybe let’s work on the jellyfish for a bit.

(We make our way back to the space where we do most of our work. After about 30 minutes working on the jellyfish, my leg brushes a piece of cellophane and causes it to shift and expand, falling a little more flat).

Me: ” Wait, what if we crumpled up a material and put it inside the sun, instead of overtop of the guitar string fame?

Ms. Kirkwood: “Why don’t you show me?

Me: (crumples the cellophane and holds inside of frame) “It would be cool if I could suspend the material in the center of the frame…but I still don’t really like the cellophane. It just doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the project. (…) Could I use those yellow bags you get from No Frill’s instead? They’re a bit fluffier and match with the yellow tape really well.

Ms. Kirkwood: “Sure! That might work out well, because its always good to make objects kind of relate to each other. Then they look more like they fit together.

After that conversation, we didn’t actually get around to suspending the bag in midair. But I, for one, kind of like the way the bag flip and curls on itself like solar flares are protruding in plastic strips, and the reflective, somewhat luminous nature if plastic. I can see that in this conversation, we had a lot of ideas being tossed around. Since art is pretty subjective, most of our decisions about what to do were based off of emotions and intuition, the red hat, or the resources we had available (the white hat). Blue and black hats occured the least, but we often talked about what looked or felt good (yellow hat) when trying out new ideas. Now, off to Cuba, where I’m sure I’ll see some sun that isn’t made out of plastics and guitar strings!

wow... do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?
wow… do those sun spots spell out No Frills, or is it just me?

A Journey To Freedom

This post is based off of this article.

I chose this article because I’ve heard of the Underground Railroad many times, but did not really understand what it was. This article was short enough for me to understand the basics of what happened, but I plan on digging deeper into these situations during this time.

To sum it up, the Underground Railroad was a series of routes and safe houses that allowed slaves to attempt to make their way to freedom. (On a side note: This sounds very similar to what my eminent person did in her time during the war).

The article states: “The Underground Railroad has been the subject of a certain amount of myth-making. Because of the secrecy required for its success, there hasn’t been much documentation to describe its role in our history. It is impossible to know for certain how many slaves found freedom by way of the railroad, but it may have been as many as 30 000.”

I suppose sometimes it’s the things that are kept under wraps that make the bigger impacts. I can’t wait to find out more about this time period, as we delve into it during the upcoming Socials classes.

Mapping Out (British North) America

I really like historical maps. Especially the one that Fiona added to the resource library, where you can click on different dates to see the changes in state or country boundary lines.

Courtesy of Canadian Historical Maps
Courtesy of Canadian Historical Maps

 “After the war of 1812, immigration to British North America led to a more diversified economy, with lumbering, farming and shipbuilding growing in both the Maritimes and in the Canadas. But by the 1830s there was a great deal of unrest, partly because of economic distress, partly because of the cultural prejudice against the French-speaking Canadiens in Lower Canada, and partly due to the system of government, which gave relatively little power to the elected assembly. In November 1837, Louis-Joseph Papineau and his radical Parti Patriote led a rebellion against this unfair government structure, but the rebels were not well organized and were readily defeated by British forces. Similarly, in Upper Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie, a newspaper editor and member of the elected assembly, led a rebellion that was also quashed. But two uprisings made British officials realize they had to reform the government system.”

– Canadian Geographic: Historical Maps

I chose this map/timeline to blog about because it gives a great visual representation of what exactly is going in Canada from 1700 – 1999. We can see how our country changed from being basically two European colonies in the east to the structured provinces we have now. When viewing the Canadian geographical map/timeline, it’s amazing to see how young our country really is. Canada is still evolving and “growing up” so to speak. Our last edit to our geography was making Nunavut a territory, and happened in 1999. That’s sixteen years ago! Not long at all, compared to other places. For example, the United Kingdom’s last change in borders was in 1922, when Southern Ireland gained independence.

To me, it seems that as Europeans explored westward, they discovered all the different resources Canada had to offer. Growing, harvesting, and exporting wheat from the prairies gave Canada’s economy a boost, enabling people to explore further. When the government encouraged Canadians to explore further, offering “…free land to anyone who would clear and work it.” (Canadian Geographic: Historical Maps). In Alberta, BC, and the Yukon they  found precious minerals and oil. Remember the Klondike gold rush? Caused by the exploration of European settlers. The Aboriginals didn’t really need the gold for any reason other than decoration or ceremony – but I think they should have gotten a say in what happened (remember, it was their land) before a bunch of people bring up their pickaxes and gold pans to set up roads, supply routes, and buildings. Once the gold is gone, the deserted remains of the town make the land unsuitable for farming or animal life, so the land has to be left to be reclaimed by nature, which can take many years. Worse yet, mines that are no longer operating can still pollute the surrounding environment.

There are several differences in how Europeans mapped out this country in comparison to the indigenous people, the First Nations. The First Nations people had many different groups spread throughout Canada, with not much visual or text records of their land. Other than knowing where different language groups generally lived, most knowledge about the land was passed down through oral tradition. The whole idea of “your land” and “my land” didn’t really exist with the First Nations, which lead to problems when Europeans colonized Canada.

Map of First Nations populations and languages. Data used for this map is from 1996. Image taken from “Canada’s First Peoples” website.

The current 50 languages of Canada’s indigenous peoples belong to 11 major language families – ten First Nations and Inuktitut. Canada’s Aboriginal languages are many and diverse, and their importance to indigenous people immense. This map shows the major aboriginal language families by community in Canada for the year 1996.”

Canada’s First Peoples

My personal interests lie in First Nations rights and fairness, so it is eye-opening to see how the land originally inhabited by the First Nations people was signed away (or just outright taken, as is the case in the majority of BC) to the European settlers. “Because the Royal Proclamation of 1763 stated that the Crown must negotiate and sign treaties with the indigenous people before land could be ceded to a colony, the Numbered Treaties were negotiated in most parts of the Prairie Provinces. The Government of the Colony of British Columbia, however, failed to negotiate many treaties and as a result, most of the province’s land is not covered by treaties.” (Wikipedia, British Columbia Treaty Process). In BC, we currently have a six-step plan that First Nations groups can take to try to settle the issue of land rights.

  1. Statement of Intent to Negotiate: A First Nation submits a Statement Of Intent (SOI) stating among other things who is claiming, proof that the negotiating party is supported by the community and where the claim will be made.
  2. Readiness To Negotiate: Within 45 days of submitting the SOI the parties must sit down and show that all parties have the will and resources to negotiate a treaty.
  3. Negotiation Of a Framework Agreement: The “table of contents” of a comprehensive treaty. The three parties agree on the subjects to be negotiated and an estimated time frame for stage four agreement-in-principle negotiations.
  4. Negotiation Of An Agreement In Principle: The negotiating parties examine in detail the elements outlined in their framework agreement with the goal of solving the all problems and creating a working treaty.
  5. Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty: The treaty for all intents and purposes is finished at this stage the treaty has to be approved by all parties of the negotiating team.
  6. Implementation of the Treaty: Applying and running the First Nation as set out by the treaty.

However, I’m not entirely sure if this is fair to the First Nations peoples. For example, in July 2007, the Tsawwassen First Nation members voted in favour of their treaty. The treaty more than doubles the size of the Tsawwassen reserve, and has several financial compensations:  a one-time capital transfer of $13.9 million, $2 million for relinquishing mineral rights under English bluff, $13.5 million for startup and transition costs, $7.3 million for resource management and economic development, and $2.6 annually for ongoing programs and services. It also reserves a portion of the Fraser River salmon catch to the Tsawwassen. In return, the Tsawwassen will abandon other land claims and will eventually pay taxes. (Wikipedia, British Columbia Treaty Process)But can we really translate the First Nations way of thinking, where the people belong to the land, not the other way around, into numbers like area and money? It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Whichever way our treaty system works, the First nations will never end up being able to fully reclaim their land, because then the other 96% of Canadians would have nowhere else to live. In fact, when negotiating, only crown-owned land is even on the table for the First Nations to regain. Any land that is owned by private companies is unavailable unless the owners are willing to sell it. Instead, it’s a very tricky process of trying to re-compensate the First Nations for something we will never be able to give back to them. It makes it worse that in the past, signing a treaty was analogous to signing away the rest of your rights as an Aboriginal, and losing rights to your culture, land, and traditions except for what was explicitly stated in the treaty. Although now treaties try to modify and define Aboriginal rights instead of “cede, release, and surrender” your rights, some people think it still limits the rights of Aboriginals even more than not having a treaty. For more information, check out: http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/land-rights/aboriginal-rights.html

Some of the prescribed learning outcomes this covers are:

  • Interactions between Aboriginal peoples and Europeans
  • Canada’s physiographic regions
  • Geographical factors in the development of Canada
  • Resource development in BC and Canada
  • Western Expansion
  • Technological development and settlement
  • Contributions to the development of Canada

On a brighter note, Happy 1st of March!