Arts·Small Towns

Just who does the giant statue in Indian Head, Saskatchewan represent?

Carry the Kettle First Nation members reflect on the controversial monument.

Carry the Kettle First Nation members reflect on the controversial monument

Follow Tamarra Canu on a Prairie road trip across Alberta and Saskatchewan as she continues her search for the origin of the bizarre gargantuan art within small town communities on Season 2 of Big Things Small Towns. Watch the full season now on CBC Gem.

The conversation around monuments and representation is evolving — and that's certainly the case in Indian Head, Sask., where a five-and-a-half metre statue of a chief's head sits just off Highway 1.

"I grew up in this town, I went to school in this town, and it's a very racially divided town," says TJ Haywahe from Carry the Kettle First Nation.

"I have a lot of friends who travel and come visit me at Carry the Kettle First Nation, who I've met all over the place. And, every time they come here they say, 'Your people should do something about that Indian head — it is so offensive.'"

Takoza Tipi Camp. (CBC Arts)

The giant chief's head was made in 1984, and was conceived by a group of local businessmen in order to create a tourist attraction along the highway. The 1,587-kilogram monument was then constructed in Saskatoon, and transported to its current location in 1985. But who's the statue of the Indian head supposed to be? The answer is no one. It was based on an image of a stereotypical First Nations chief.

On this episode of Big Things Small Towns, you'll learn about the monument's history and visit an alternative destination that's open to everyone wanting to experience First Nations history and culture.

The Town of Indian Head, as well as the local business association, declined to comment for this video.

Kevin Haywahe of the Carry the Kettle First Nation. (CBC Arts)

Big Things Small Towns is back for another road trip and it's bigger — and smaller — than ever. Watch Season 2 now on CBC Gem.

Big Things Small Towns: Season 2 Trailer

1 year ago
Duration 1:57
Big Things Small Towns is back for another road trip and it's bigger — and smaller — than ever. Stream the new season now on CBC Gem 1:57

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kiah Welsh is a digital video producer at CBC Arts. She loves to travel and owns over a hundred pairs of sneakers.

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