(Photo by Tenile Campbell on the website Tea and Bannock)
APTN National News
A website run by grassroots photographers is attracting an impressive following.
‘Tea and Bannock’ consists of Indigenous women photographers who share their experiences through essays and photos and then mentor emerging photographers.
The blog was founded in Saskatoon by Tenille Campbell out of a desire to create a community of artists who understood the highs and lows of being an Indigenous female photographer.
Since launching the project, artists from various regions of the country have supported and contributed to the website.
“There’s been lots of ‘oh, you’re Tea and Bannock, I love Tea and Bannock,” said Campbell. “All these ‘Indian Famous’ people [laughs] have been super supportive of it, and that really helps us get our words out to a larger base, which has really been the idea. Tea and Bannock is meant to represent a lot of different voices. No two of us are alike.”
Amanda Laliberte lives in Alert Bay, B.C., and is one of seven regular contributors to the site. She explains the benefits of Tea and Bannock as a sharing space.
“I use the space to share stories, inspire others, and to educate on cultural awareness of our people,” said Laliberte. “The idea of the Imaginary Indian needs to end because it has never existed. With Tea & Bannock we can talk about whatever we want to and sometimes the content will make the readers laugh, blush, cry or even get angry. But this is why Tenille created this space with the intention for Indigenous women to hold each other up.”
Laliberte contributed a photo she took of her oldest son, Elijah to Tea and Bannock. The photo was taken on the grounds of St Michael’s Residential School in ‘Yalis, Kwakwaka’wakw territories, shortly before its demolition.
“I titled this image, the Realities of Royalty because on that day Prince Edward and Sophie, countess of Wessex, were visiting Alert Bay,” she said. “We watched beside others in the community as a few helicopters landed on the soccer field next to the Big House. Shortly after Edward and Sophie (and the security entourage) were taken for a private tour of the U’mista Cultural Centre and then to the Big House for a welcoming. While we all waited and waited, I couldn’t help but ask myself, why the heck was I there?”
On the website, the photo caption reads ‘My son, “Mom, that boy is sad.”’
Visitors to Tea and Bannock are exposed to photos and stories from artists across various regions of Canada. Shawna McLeod is Dehcho Dene from Fort Providence N.W.T and contributes to the site from Yellowknife. She shares her hope for her audience as viewership continues to rise.
“Ultimately I want the audience of Tea and Bannock to be inspired, to keep coming back for more, and in return to keep us artists inspired as well,” McLeod told APTN. “I wanted to be a part of the blog to share my own stories of the North; the culture, the traditions, the land and the people. Where I come from has many stories worth sharing.”