Pat Kane

Photographer
  
Here Is Where We Shall Stay
Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
Nationality: Canadian
Biography: Pat is a photographer in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He takes a documentary approach to stories about people and life in Northern Canada with a special focus on issues important to Indigenous people, including the relationship between... MORE
Public Story
Here Is Where We Shall Stay
Copyright Pat Kane 2024
Updated Sep 2023
Topics Spotlight
Summary
This project focuses on how Indigenous people in my region are moving towards meaningful self-determination by resetting the past. The act of reclaiming culture and identity is ongoing, and my friends here are resilient in a place where symbols and systems of colonization loom large. In Catholicism, we are Children of God, but in the Dene worldview, we are One with the Land.  

For generations, Indigenous people in Canada have lived under the laws and values of European settlers through forced assimilation. The introduction of residential schools, formed by the federal government and instituted by the Catholic and Anglican Church, pulled Indigenous children away from their lands, families, languages, and identities. The goal was to bring “civilization to the savage people who could never civilize themselves” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Final Report, 2015).

This project focuses on how Indigenous people in my region are moving towards meaningful self-determination by resetting the past. The act of reclaiming culture and identity is ongoing, and my friends here are resilient in a place where symbols and systems of colonization loom large. In Catholicism, we are Children of God, but in the Dene worldview, we are One with the Land.  

There is a tragic and complex tension between the way of the church and the way of the ancestors. While it may be impossible to break free of the colonizers, the subtle, defiant, and beautiful acts of resistance give strength to say "We are still here; here is where we shall stay".    

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The title of this project is from the final story of "The Book of Dene", a collection of parables from various Indigenous groups in Northern Canada. In the legend titled, "The Two Brothers", two young siblings sneak away in a canoe and become lost. They travel west, south, and east, visiting many different lands but suffering tremendous hardships. Some of the people they meet ridicule and take advantage of them. After many years, they make their way to the North and are welcomed fed, and clothed by the people there. One brother says to the other, "Here is where we shall stay". An elderly couple asks who they are and the brothers tell their incredible story. It is revealed that these are the boy's parents, and they are finally reunited as a family in their homeland.
 
This project was created for the World Press Photo 2020 Joop Swart Masterclass. 
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Here Is Where We Shall Stay by Pat Kane
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