Living Heritage: Our values, beliefs and ways of life shape our sense of identity, belonging and place, connecting past, present and future.

Black & Rural Saskatchewan

A Living Heritage Project in Collaboration with Shayna Jones

Early in 2021, Heritage Saskatchewan reached out to British Columbia-based artist and folklorist, Shayna Jones to collaborate on its latest living heritage project for her work and experience elevating the voices of rural-dwelling African Canadians. From there, “Black & Rural Saskatchewan,” was born in partnership with the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum (SACHM) and the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan.

Early in this collaboration, Jones conducted a series of interviews to understand the Saskatchewan “Black and rural” experience. She spoke with a range of individuals, including descendants of the first African Canadian settlers in Saskatchewan, who shared passed-down stories as well as their own personal accounts. She also spoke with recent immigrants who imparted their struggles and triumphs living as a dark-skinned person in rural Saskatchewan.

Inspired by these stories, Jones created a performance that interprets the words shared with her over the course of her conversations, as well as a book, that you can check out here

Thank you to SaskCulture and Sask Lotteries for their generous contributions and support.

Shayna Jones is a British Columbia-based multidisciplinary spoken word artist, award winning actor, performance storyteller, and folklorist of afro-centric folk history, folk narrative, and contemporary experience. Learn more about her work

Listen to this June 19, 2022 episode of CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend with Shayna and Carol LaFayette-Boyd, Executive Director of SACHM, and one of Shayna's Black & Rural Saskatchewan Interviewees.

Shayna was also interviewed on the November 13, 2021 episode of CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend about this project.

UMulticultural recently released a video about this project, which was filmed in Melfort at one of her performances. Check out the video here!

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