Hockey Arenas, the ‘Public Good’ and Reconciliatory Indigenous Art: The Case of Edmonton

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:40
Oral Presentation
Judy DAVIDSON, University of Alberta, Canada
Jay SCHERER, University of Alberta, Canada
Rylan KAFARA, University of Alberta, Canada
This paper will consider how development of sporting venues in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has functioned as a technology of settler colonialism. The occasion for this dialogue is the building of a new sports arena and entertainment district in the downtown core of this mid-sized prairie city that yet again displaces and removes Indigenous peoples. The (attempted) historical and ongoing elimination and removal of the Indigenous peoples of this place (primarily the Nehiyawak Plains Cree, the Stoney Nakota Sioux, and the Metis), means that the pre-contact history of Amiskwacis, or Beaver Hills, arbitrarily named Edmonton by British fur traders, is yet again disregarded by celebratory stories of settler civilization – and often those triumphant tales are centered around sport. Drawing on fieldwork, media accounts, and policy analysis, the paper thinks through the multiple meanings and effects of a publically commissioned art installation in the new Rogers Place arena, created by renowned artist Alex Janvier of the Cold Lake First Nation. In post-TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) Canada, how do investments in public art in public-private partnerships both further celebrate ongoing Indigenous culture and resurgence, and concomitantly, continue to exacerabate the genocidal conditions under which the settler nation of Canada was created and continues to function?