Back to the matter at hand

December 1, 2010


Postcard for The Children Remembered

I’ve been looking through the archival documents and images I brought with me to Paris and am still trying to process the many stories they tell. Because in most cases I did not bring the originals with me, I am either looking at pictures of pictures (photographs I’ve taken of the images), photocopies or reproductions of the originals that are now circulating in different ways.

The image that has my attention now is a postcard printed by the United Church of Canada. It is a piece of promotional material for their Residential Schools Archival Project: “The Children Remembered.” There is a lot going on in the photo. The children are drawing “zeros” or perhaps circles on the blackboard, their backs facing away from us. Three girls, five boys. The banner “Looking unto Jesus” is perched above them in bold block letters. The image conveys both a sense of movement and a sense of stillness. The second girl is caught with her head looking slightly to her left; the boy second from the right seems to be reaching upwards to write higher. The angle from the picture is taken positions the photographer (and the viewer of the photograph) within the first rows of the classroom.

On the back of the postcard is a short excerpt from the United Church of Canada Apology made in 1986: “We tried to make you be like us and in so doing we helped to destroy the vision that made you what you were.”

3 Responses to “Back to the matter at hand”

  1. jb Says:

    two words: J_n_ L_d_n

    haha.
    miss you much
    jb

  2. jb Says:

    PS:
    love the background!


  3. Jane Lydon!! Absolutely on my book list now.

    And the background, yes – a nod to my time in Cachan, and to the strangely productive exercise of looking at these photos while so far away from home.

    Thank you for our many, many fun times in France, jb. Looking forward to the next time.
    xx,
    Naomi


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