________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 18 . . . . May 9, 1997

cover We Are All Related: A Celebration of Our Cultural Heritage.

Art and Quotations by Students of G.T. Cunningham Elementary School.
Forward by George Littlechild.
Vancouver: George T. Cunningham Elementary School, 1996.
Distributed by POLESTAR Press (Vancouver). 56pp., paper, $15.95.
ISBN 0-9680479-0-4.

Subject Headings:
Children's art-British Columbia-Vancouver-Exhibitions.
Multiculturalism in art-Exhibitions.
Family in art-Exhibitions.

Grades 3 - 8 / Ages 8 - 13.
Review by S.A.M. McCue.

*** /4

Visual symbols are a powerful and immediate connection to our cultural heritage. They are a reflection of cultural myths, legends, values and history This is where Art finds its roots and inspiration. ... The students who contributed to this book learned about First Nations history, culture, and art in a truly personal and meaningful way. This book is a celebration of art, culture, and families. We hope it inspires people of all ages to create their own family heritage collage.

This book started out as a project to help students in a Vancouver school see the richness in their diversity. It began as an art project which would help them understand First Nations values and heritage and grew to include their own cultural and family backgrounds. The students looked at the environment in which artists create. They talked to members of various First Nations, visited art galleries, and talked to members of their own families about their ancestors. The result is a remarkable effort filled with love, joy, and gentle advice (for example, from an Ojibway aunt who said, "Be your own self, don't follow others."). image

      The book is a collection of collages which were made by students of a Vancouver school. The full colour collages are on one page along with what the student understands We are all related to mean. On the opposite page the student talks about him/herself and family, the meaning of his/her collage, and why the project was interesting. On the same page is a statement from a family elder to whom the student has spoken.

      The collages are bright, varied, and imaginative. Their borders range from combinations of fish and triangles to sunsets, stars, and stripes - each with its own special meanings for the artists and their families. Central to the collage are photos of the artists, their families, and drawings which help to explain the family and its origins.

      This book would make a wonderful resource for students beginning an exploration of First Nations culture. These students whose work fill these pages were inspired by Cree artist George Littlechild who facilitated workshops and inspired them with a collage of his own ancestors. Perhaps, with a little digging in their own region young people could find other Aboriginal artists to inspire them. School librarians would do well to ensure that a copy of We Are All Related is in their libraries where it will interest students and inspire teachers.


S.A.M McCue worked as a library consultant for the Cree School Board of James Bay from 1983-88.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364