I have returned from the NVMA in Merritt BC. I was there hunting for primary source documents which show the traditional tattooing of my ancestors the Nlaka’pamux (Thomspon Indians), I did not succeed in fidning any but became acquainted with hands on research, as an undergraduate student I have been blessed with this amazing opportunity at the university of British Columbia-Okanagan in Kelowna BC. It run a summer undergraduate research award which allows undergrads to get research experience, an amazing thing.
I did end up finding some amazing photos of my grandfather Ernie McIvor and of my great aunt and uncle Nellie and Gaylord Blankenship.
I also found some materials that relate to my research topic, relating the early tattooing done in the Nicola Valley before the Athabaskan Nicola people were integrated into the Nlaka’pamux nation.
I sent an update to my faculty adviser Dr. Margo Tamez and related that:
“As I continue on this research journey I am beginning to sense a shift in myself it is a shift I imagine which embodies what decolonization is, a shift from self centered thinking to nation thinking, not sure if that makes sense. It is moving from thinking about how this may benefit me to how it will benefit my people, and the generations to come, a shift from intellectually understanding that community counts to feeling it. This research journey is a project of decolonization for me. I am connecting more with the history of the hills, mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys that make up my territory. Just over a month ago I would have refereed to it as my peoples territory, but today it is my territory.”
I have already been blessed in this research journey.