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  • Colleen Cutschall

    The Crossing

    July 13, 2017 – January 4, 2018

    Launch Party: July 13th 7 PM - 10:30 PM on Rosser Avenue between 7th and 8th Street.
    Free Bannock Tacos
    Live Music presented by the City of Brandon’s Summer Lights Music Series.


    About this billboard

    The AGSM Billboard (on our north facing wall on Rosser Avenue at the corner of 7th Street) is a new exhibition space for the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Every six months, from July 2017 - June 2019, the AGSM Billboard will showcase a new image created by an Indigenous artist that celebrates the presence and importance of Indigenous culture to Brandon and the Westman region—in the past, present, and future.

    About the artwork

    The Crossing maps the southeastern prairies in the days before Brandon. The positions of the names—Assiniboine, Dakota, Cree, Anishinabe, and Métis—do not necessarily reflect static territory, as people moved freely throughout the land before the creation of borders, and the idea that land could be owned.

    The X marks a natural crossing point in the Assiniboine River, that was at the centre of an Indigenous cultural landscape of trails, gathering areas, spiritual centres, and meeting sites on the eastern prairies. As a site of critical importance to both Indigenous and settler peoples, the crossing acted as a bridge between lands and cultures. This landmark sits at the southeastern tip of current-day Brandon, just north of the Grand Rapids of the Assiniboine, and was incorporated into the boundaries between Treaties 1 and 2. Despite this crucial historical, legal, and cultural significance, today the site is unmarked and mostly forgotten.

    In this image, instead of marking settlements, cities, and provincial borders, Colleen Cutschall maps the Assiniboine, Souris, and Red rivers; the treaties, and animals of this territory; and the Indigenous peoples who have walked this land since time immemorial.

    As Canada marks its 150th anniversary of confederation, and Brandon celebrates 135 years, Cutschall reminds us of the deep history here, and the long-term relationships and treaties we entered into with a respectful and welcoming spirit, lasting as long as the river flows.

    About the Artist

    Colleen Cutschall is a senior Oglala-Sicangu Lakota artist originally from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. For over twenty years, she has been working and living in Southwestern Manitoba as an artist, art historian, educator and curator. Cutschall, is Professor Emerita from Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, where she was instrumental in the establishment of its current Visual and Aboriginal Art program.

    About Treaties No. 1 and No. 2

    Treaties No. 1 and No. 2 were the first Treaties signed between First Nations and the newly formed Dominion of Canada. Treaties provide the legal foundation on which Canada is founded, and were intended to see to the well-being of both parties, allowing them to peacefully coexist side by side as sovereign nations on shared territory.

    The western border between Treaties 1 and 2 is defined as a point on the west shore of Lake Manitoba that connects “thence in a straight line to the crossing of the rapids on the Assiniboine; thence due south to the international boundary line.”

    Treaty No. 1 was signed on August 3, 1871. A few of the Canadian communities that share in the obligations and benefits of Treaty No. 1 include: Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie, Killarney, Selkirk, Steinbach, Emerson, Winkler, and many more. The First Nation communities that entered into Treaty No. 1 are: Brokenhead, Long Plain, Peguis, Roseau River, Sagkeeng, Sandy Bay, and Swan Lake.

    Treaty No. 2 was signed on August 21, 1871, at Manitoba House. A few of the Canadian communities that share in obligations and benefits of Treaty No. 2 include: Brandon, Dauphin, Melita, Minnedosa, Roblin, Virden, Riding Mountain National Park, Duck Mountain Provincial Park, and many more. The First Nation communities that entered into Treaty No. 2 are: Dauphin River, Ebb & Flow, Keeseekoowenin, Lake St. Martin, Lake Manitoba, Little Saskatchewan, O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi, Pinaymootang, and Skownan.

    Many Indigenous individuals who have walked this land—past and present—are not recognized in the Treaties.

    Full text for Treaties No. 1 & No. 2

    Approximate location of the crossing of the rapids at the Assiniboine:

    The AGSM Billboard Advisory circle provides guidance and feedback throughout the production and planning process and is comprised of: Peter Morin, Jason Gobeil, Leah Laplante, Lisa Wood, Chris Reid, Roberta MacKinnon, and Debbie Huntinghawk.

    Thank you to Brandon University Archivist Emeritus, Tom Mitchell, for his important research on the crossing and the Grand Rapids, and for his fact checking, and to the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba for their information on the Treaties.

    This initiative is made possible by The Whitehead Foundation For Western Manitoba Inc. as well as the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Brandon Area Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.




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 Canadian Council for the Arts Manitoba Arts Council City of Brandon