Publication Date

January 1992


In 1991, the National Archives of Canada made its first deliberate acquisition of art works by an Indian artist, the Kwaguitl David Neel, who had produced a series of serigraphs relating to events concerning native-white relations in Canada. The first work, Life on the 18th Hole (figure 1 ), was inspired by the events at Oka, Quebec, where Mohawk warriors had blockaded a provincial highway and defied first Quebec provincial police and then Canadian federal troops for more than two months in 1990.1 The second work, Just Say No (figure 2), was a commentary on the stand taken by Elijah Harper, a Manitoba Indian and member of Parliament, whose no vote in a crucial provincial legislature debate resulted in the collapse of a national constitutional accord which had been several years in the making. In 1992, two additional Neel prints were acquired: Trial of Tears, a reaction to an adverse judgement in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to a land claim by the G'tsaan Witsoa'tin, and the more personal Kwagiutl Family Portrait, a portrait of the artist and his family in traditional motif.



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