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