Jordan Abel

Native Hosts

In 2017, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery launched a new series of investigations considering the public realm of the UBC campus. To help understand and enrich the changing collection, they commissioned several video responses to selected works under the direction of lmmaker Ian Barbour, including Nisga’a writer and scholar Jordan Abel’s response to Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds’ Native Hosts (1991 / 2007), a series of text-based works situated in multiple locations on campus. Resembling way- finding signage, Native Hosts reverses the words “British Columbia” and inserts the names of twelve BC First Nations as hosts of provincial occupation. Excerpts from Heap of Bird’s work are reproduced here, with permission of the Belkin Art Gallery, along with Abel’s text response. 

Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds, Native Hosts, 1991/2007, commercially prepared aluminum street signs. Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, gift of the artist, 2007. Photo: Howard Ursuliak

Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds, Native Hosts, 1991/2007, commercially prepared aluminum street signs. Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, gift of the artist, 2007.
Photo: Howard Ursuliak

Excerpt from TCR fall issue 3.33

For Edgar Heap of Birds

Today your hosts are the high and countless summits. Today your hosts are
the people. Today your hosts are the inclines and the hills and the approaching morning. Today your hosts are the miles of water and the shores of the lakes and the water beyond the water. Today your hosts are the great distances. Today your hosts are the headlands and the dotted islands and the light and the wooded forests and the beaten pathways and the stretches of shores and the cheerful voices and the black rocks and the open heavens and the narrow passageways and the steep, rugged ascent. Today your hosts are the people. Today your host
is the air. Today your host is the community. Today your host is the wilderness. Today your host is the scent of roses. Today your hosts are the glimpses of mountain ranges that disappear just as suddenly as they appear. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the clear sheets of water and the forests and the islets and the rocks and the driftwood and the crevices and the ssures and the deep parts of the river. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the sounds. Today your hosts are the rocks. Today your hosts are the rocks and logs and mounds of earth. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the moments. Today your hosts are the adjacent lakes. Today your hosts are the bottom land and little ponds and drifts of sounds. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the people. Today your hosts are the people.