Creekstone Press

Northern BC's publisher


Review of Canyon Creek: A Script

I wasn’t going to review Canyon Creek; a script, the fine combination of Sheila Peters’ writing and Megan Hobson’s illustration. I’m not well enough informed about land claims and valley history to evaluate this book, I reasoned. My taste in art and illustration is strictly gut reaction. Could I offer informed comment?

But this is a beautiful book about issues that reach beyond their Bulkley Valley settings. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to talk about it.

But this book eludes lazy, easy definitions; makes reviewing challenging; forces one to reach beyond standard, initial labels. It’s not conventional history. It’s also neither essay nor fiction.

This is the story of the eviction of some Wet’suwet’en people from their homes along Canyon Creek.

Peters calls her version a script. The format allows evocative, thought-provoking narration of events which shattered lives.

Narration gained from personal aboriginal accounts, testimony and accounts of missionaries, surveyors and white settlers is dovetailed with musing commentary.

Peters’ images in words complement the images Hobson has created with archival photographs.

The script format allows delightful roaming though time and place, gives Peters a vantage point from which to explore and comment on these human and cultural tragedies.

It also serves as a challenge to our preconceptions of history. The history student in me repeatedly lowered my gaze in search of footnotes, instinctively sought captions despite assurance that the images were used for evocative visual qualities only.

The format puts the issues in broader context too, that of our views of aboriginal people, of the western movie and novel, of images of pioneers.

Canyon Creek: a script is also very much a personal story by an author living near Canyon Creek with a sense of the history of her yard and the urge to comment on it. This book will be seized upon for causes, but it should be read most of all for its ability to prompt thoughtful examination of our past.