The history of the Mississauga people in the Oakville area provided my project with its core. It's therefore fitting to complete my journey by scouting for an Indian in the eastern part of their traditional territory, Toronto. In 1805 Mississauga chiefs sold 250,000 acres of land to the British, including present day Toronto.

Link of Interest: New Credit First Nation



Toronto is where my photographic practice changed during the summer of 1984. It took place along Queen Street at Spadina Avenue, where I first photographed my son Bear against the backdrop of a brick wall I had just finished photographing, it was spray painted with the words "culture revolution." The image was simply intended to be a souvenir for my son, but once I saw the print, it showed me how I could make visible the invisible urban First Nations self. The image was rich in symbolism, beginning with the juxtaposition of Bear with the graffiti, and the baseball cap he is wearing. The image on the cap is a Cheyenne First Nation man named Two Moons, who was a veteran of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He had been photographed by the American photographer Edward S. Curtis in 1906.



This one image ushered in my new role as an interventionist photographer. I have continued photographing Bear to this day and the series is known as The Bear Portraits.



MORE >>>