Paul Seesequasis—Turning the Lens: Indigenous Archive Project

23 March 2023 – 27 August 2023

About the Exhibition

Curated By

Arin Fay with Felicia Gay

Organized & Circulated By

Nelson Museum, Archives & Gallery


Sim Gallery

Turning the Lens: Indigenous Archive Project is many things at once. It’s a photography/history exhibition, a naming project, and a social media campaign. This exhibition allows visitors to think about the many ways we record shared histories as public memory. Why are certain stories valued by different people, groups or organizations?

This exhibition features images of Indigenous peoples from the 1950s-1960s taken by photojournalist Rosemary Gilliat Eaton. At each location that this exhibition is shown, Paul adds local images and stories to the project.

Turning the Lens celebrates the everyday life and ongoing resilience in Canadian Indigenous communities.


Edgar Rossie Chief Series 

In 1919 photos were taken of regional Indigenous leaders from Treaty 4 territory in Regina, SK by photographer Edgar Rossie in his studio.  

Photographs likely document a re-enactment of the Treaty 4 signing in 1874, signatories included the Cree, and Saulteaux Nations. The Prince of Wales, Prince Edward on royal tour came through Regina in 1919, and it is presumed to be the reason why so many Indigenous leaders travelled to the city.  

In these photos are many leaders from surrounding areas that are unnamed. Perhaps you might know they are? Maybe someone in these photos is an ancestor or someone from your community. Gathering information and naming our people in the archive takes a community of people.  


Signing nations include:  

Gambler’s First Nation, MB; Pine Creek First Nation, MB; Rolling River First Nation, Tootinaowaziibeeng Treaty Reserve (all signed on Treaty 2 territory); File Hills Tribal Council includes; Carry The Kettle First Nation; Little Black Bear First Nation; Muscowpetung First Nation; Neekaneet First Nation; Okanese First Nation; Pasqua First Nation; Peepeekisis Cree Nation; Piapot First Nation; Standing Buffalo First Nation; Star Blanket Cree Nation; Saskatoon Tribal Council includes; Kinistin Saulteaux Nation; Yellow Quill First Nation; Touchwood Agency Tribal Council  includes; Day Star First Nation; Fishing Lake First Nation; George Gordon first Nation; Kawacatoose First Nation; Muskowekwan First Nation; Yorkton Tribal includes; Cote First Nation; Kahkewistahaw First Nation; Keeseekoose First Nation; Ocean Man First Nation; The Key First Nation; Zagime Anishinabek; Independent Nations include; Cowessess First Nation; Ochapowace First Nation; Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation, White Bear First Nation. 


Note on descriptions on photographs: 

As in many period photographs, the caption spellings should be regarded cautiously; many are often phonetic translations into English and have little bearing to contemporary spellings. Also, in the case of ‘Achim’ (the dog). Piapot, for example, may refer to a sobriquet; in this case ‘achim’ may derive from acimosis, in Y Dialect Cree meaning puppy or small dog. So again, potentially a nickname.  


If you feel you may know the people represented in these photographs join the conversation and email Paul Seesequasis at 

About the Artist

Paul Seesequasis is a Plains Cree writer, journalist and cultural activist based in Saskatoon. He collects archival images of everyday life among First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities from the 1920s through the 1970s. By sharing these images on social media and collecting information from Indigenous communities, Paul identifies the people, places, events and stories connected to each image. These details have often been left out of gallery, museum, and archive records.

Headshot of artist Paul Seesequasis.

Works in the Exhibition

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