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Chroniclers . . .

Portrait of David Thompson 1, Ruthven Hall
and a tale of horses, roses, theft, and, of course, elephants . . . .

Worker with Ladder

                                           And first, the elephants

As members of many culture clubs (power structures, large and small), we encounter elephants all the time. A few elephants we avoid because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Others we avoid because they are myth shattering. Dominators are always telling us what we can say and what we can't say. Sometimes, to broaden the boundaries of our culture clubs, we must challenge our dominators.


Elephants-in-the-room are dotted throughout Canadian remembrance - in art, history, philosophy, and fiction. To the chronicler of an era, those uncomfortable elephants are a welcome discovery. The time is ripe to discuss uncomfortable subjects, even and especially when they expose secrets and lies.

The relentless chronicler welcomes uncomfortable facts. 


Almost everyone defines a metaphorical elephant-in-the-room as a major problem or sensitive (sometimes controversial) issue, something which is obviously present but avoided as a subject for public debate because, in certain circles, the subject itself – let alone a debate over the fact – is truly uncomfortable. 

You can think of many situations in your own life where you tried not to mention the obvious. Which leads me to repeat an old joke about the manners of the courteous-home culture club. (Mother: dominator.) I remember the anecdote of the Mother who warned her young children not to comment on their guest's very considerable nose. The children were dutiful and obedient. Mother flubbed the mission. She, serving tea and overly preoccupied with her outspoken children, blurted out, "How many lumps do you take in your nose?" Oops. That elephant ran from the building.


Ruthven Hall
(Architect: John Latshaw)
Poseur/monster: Barton Farr
Builder/Director/Navigation Funds Usurper: David Thompson 1
Location of Ruthven Park: Canal village of Indiana (ghost town), within the Haldimand Tract on the Grand River
Bully: John Smoke Johnson Sakayengwaraton or Shakoyen·kwaráhton

The Elephants


Image by Elena Kloppenburg

Woodland Cultural Centre 
Grand River, Ontario
Tribute to Robbie Robertson

Grand River at Ruthven

We Remain Certain shows the enduring relationship between Haudenosaunee and their home in Grand River Territory. A group exhibition curated by a collective of Haudenosaunee artists, these contemporary works explore Haudenosaunee land tenure and the complex history, treaty agreements, and displacements along the Grand. This exhibition strives to generate thought and conversation as a means to guide relationships by employing Haudenosaunee “Original Instructions” as a foundation of understanding and collaborating on our shared future.

Arenhátyen tsi ní:tsi teyottenyonhátye’ kwató:ken tsi nī:tsi yonkwa’nikonhrayén:ta’s
Awęhęgyeh shęh hodęˀ dewahde:nihs, haˀgadagyeˀshǫˀ shęh nˀagwanigǫ̲ha:do:gę:
It does not matter what continually changes, our understanding remains certain

Artists: Dakota Brant, Denny Doolittle, Elizabeth Doxtater, Kaya Hill, Rick Hill, Arnold Jacobs, Ken Maracle, Shelley Niro, Protect The Tract Artist Collective, Steve Smith, Greg Staats, Kristen E. Summers, Jeff Thomas

Beaders: Talena Atfield, Tesha Emarthle, Jija Jacobs, Kahionwinehshon Phillips

Curated by: Protect the Tract

January 09, 2024 – March 22, 2024

More accompanying events and programming to be announced.

Michael Swanson, cover artist;  Franklin Miller, translator; Mark Demeda, reader.

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