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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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October 30, 2003


Massey Lecture
taking place at Memorial

Thomas King
Thomas King

In the 2003 Massey Lectures, author, scholar, Dead Dog Café creator and photographer Thomas King looks at the breadth and depth of native experience and imagination. Mr. King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, in an effort to make sense out of North America’s relationship with its aboriginal peoples.

The lecture is co-sponsored by CBC Radio One and Memorial University of Newfoundland and takes place on Friday, Nov. 7, at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine in the Health Sciences Complex, Main Auditorium, at 8 p.m. It is the second lecture in a five-part series. Mr. King is the first Massey lecturer of native decent.

Thomas King is also a professional photographer and some of his ideas about photography infuse the St. John’s public lecture, titled You’re Not the Indian I Had in Mind.

In the 1900s, the American photographer Edward Curtis had a great project to photograph the native people of North America. The problem, says Thomas King, was “Curtis was looking for the literary Indian, the dying Indian, the imaginative construct. And to make sure he would find what he wanted to find, he took along boxes of ‘Indian’ paraphernalia – wigs, blankets, clothing – in case he ran into ‘Indians’ who did not look as the ‘Indian’ was supposed to look.”

Mr. King himself has a long-term project to photograph native people, but as he says in the Massey Lecture, “the photographs themselves are no longer the issue, neither are the questions of identity. What is important are stories I’ve heard along the way and the stories I’ve told … stories we make up to try to set the world straight.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at Memorial University Bookstore, Auntie Crae’s Food Shop (272 Water Street) and Bennington Gate Bookstore or at the door on the night of the lecture. For ticket information, call 737-8663.

Inaugurated in 1961 and heard on CBC Radio’s Ideas since the program’s creation in 1965, the Massey Lectures were created to honour Vincent Massey, former governor-general and an energetic advocate of public discourse in Canada. The 2003 Massey Lectures will air Nov. 17-21 on Ideas at 9:35 p.m. (NT) on CBC Radio One.

The St. John’s lecture is part of a five-city tour by the 2003 Massey Lectures starting Nov. 5 at McGill University. Other Massey Lectures venues include; The University of Calgary and Massey College, University of Toronto, and University of Victoria.

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative is published by House of Anansi Press, a co-sponsor.


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Next issue: November 13, 2003

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