Amy Romer

Photojournalist and documentary photographer
    
The place inside the head of False Creek
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Nationality: British
Biography: I need three things in this world: my camera, my notebook, my audio recorder. I live to tell compelling stories that elevate underreported issues around human rights, social justice and the environment. Originally from Devon, England, I'm... read on
Public Story
The place inside the head of False Creek
Credits: amy romer
Updated: 03/10/21
Location: Vancouver
Sen̓áḵw is part of the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) dating back to time immemorial. Originally a seasonal fishing village, Sen̓áḵw became a permanent settlement in the 19th Century. In 1868, the Federal Government established ‘Kitsilano Indian Reserve No. 6’, a parcel of land approximately 37 acres for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh residents to occupy. Over the following decades the land continued to be appropriated by colonial powers until Sḵwx̱wú7mesh residents were forcefully removed and displaced for a small stipend.

After a decades-long court battle launched in the late 1970s, ownership of 10.5 acres of Sen̓áḵw village was returned in 2003. This year, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw will undertake the largest and most ambitious example of an Indigenous city-building development in North America. Reclaiming its Indigenous name, Sen̓áḵw is a legacy project that seeks to reflect Sḵwx̱wú7mesh culture and identity through sustainability, while overturning (at least partially), an unjust colonial past.

The place inside the head of False Creek explores ideas around loss and belonging, as I attempt to understand the history of this unceded land, and the significance of its reclamation by the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. By combining ‘Slow Media’— a video practice with an aim to decolonize the filmmaking process by slowing down and being present with the land, along with my own documentary photography, I hope to invite viewers to experience the land from a unique, often distorted settler perspective, as I seek a deeper understanding of the stolen land I am privileged to call home. 

“The name for Sen̓áḵw is representative of its place. “Àḵw” meaning head, representing the head of False Creek, “en̓” refers to “being in the middle”, representing the middle of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory in the Kitsilano area, and “S” signifies a place name. Together, the name Sen̓áḵw is interpreted as “The place inside the head of False Creek”.” (senakw.com)

With special thanks to Victor Harry X̱ats'alanex̱w, from whose ancestral name ‘Kitsilano’ derives, and whose great-grandfather Chief Alvie Andrew Welweltsut Siy̓ám̓ was the last Sḵwx̱wú7mesh person to be born in the village of Sen̓áḵw. Victor shared knowledge with me about the history of Sen̓áḵw village. Thanks also to Gregory Coyes, founder of the ‘Slow Media Community’.
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