On September 27th, the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum unveiled a new exhibit to the public—”Dibaajimowin | Stories From this Land.” The exhibit was assembled by Anishinaabe curator Emma Rain Smith, an MA student from Waterloo. The exhibit highlights Indigenous contributions to the region’s history with an emphasis on Urban Indigeneity. GI members Dr. Aynur Kadir (University of British Columbia) and PhD student Sid Heeg (Environment, Enterprise, and Development) took part in the design, curation, and research associated with the exhibition. The entire project is the result of the collaborative work between researchers, activists, and community members from the region, including the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University.
The exhibition uplifts Indigenous voices to create a more inclusive history of the Waterloo region. It bases itself around, which depict a very industrial and settler-based understanding of the region. The curator Emma Rain-Smith has noted that the murals are a product of their time, “and this exhibition will be of its time.” The exhibition delivers an immersive experience using multimedia to share the oral histories of local Indigenous peoples.
From the Dewdney murals and to the video testimonies of Indigenous collaborators, photos and quotes from O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp are featured throughout. The photos, taken by Bangishimo Johnston, the first Indigenous Artist in Residence for the city of Kitchener, portray many moments within the camp that celebrate the work, lives, and community of urban Indigenous peoples.
The exhibition will run at the Waterloo Region Museum until April 16, 2023.