“Lax k’naga dzol”
Photography by Tristan Ignas Menzies
These images were taken in Tsimshian traditional territory and are part of my own ongoing project of considering the identity of the Northwest Coast and the ways that this land is perceived in the popular eye.
Whether mediated by news about environmental concerns or economic engagement, First Nations happenings, or the romantic paradigms that persist in much art and imaging of the land, the Northwest Coast is often ascribed value as a natural, organic and even mystical resource that defines much of BC’s self-imaging. The spectre of this land visits our urban environment in the form of BC tourism advertisements, environmentalist rhetoric and the irrepressible legacy of Emily Carr. I thus offer my own vision to this debate: photographing places where contemporary anxieties exist alongside the scenery often associated with a beautiful and unproblematic landscape.
The first image, Lax k’naga dzol, shows us Banks Island, the proposed site of a 100+ windmill wind farm. The second is a view of the open ocean – gyiyaaks – beyond Prince Rupert, where a solitary oil tanker foreshadows the increased traffic that would come should the Enbridge pipeline be created.