Saskatchewan Examiner

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Black and Rural project to trace the black community in Saskatchewan

Shayna Jones who heads the Black and Rural Project will go into the rural areas of Saskatchewan, tracing Black people, and bringing their stories to the world.

  • Shayna Jones is participating with Heritage Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum to interview the Black community living in rural areas of Sask.
  • Shayna Jones said that the Black community’s origins in Sask. date back to the 1890s.
  • The Black and Rural Project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Shayna Jones in association with Heritage Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage, and backed by the Canada Council for the Arts, is collecting interviews of the Black people in rural Canada.

Shayna Jones commenced a venture of gathering testimonies from Black humans dwelling in rural locations a yr ago, and now she’s participating with Heritage Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum to further her Black and Rural venture.

Shayna Jones, a folklorist and overall performance storyteller from Kaslo, B.C., moved to the Kootenay mountains to get away from huge metropolis lifestyles and offer her youngsters the possibility to connect to the earth.

She is thankful to be dwelling near mountains, lakes and being “immersed withinside the wasteland,” Jones stated that the proximity to wasteland continues her grounded.

But in a metropolis of about 800 humans, Jones located best 3 different Black people in or around Kaslo.

As a younger mother, Jones stated for her youngsters to peer every other Black character withinside the place is “an anomaly in comparison to the ‘norm’ in their white surroundings.”

This brought about her teaming up with Heritage Saskatchewan for a unique venture in which she could tease out the revel in of Black people dwelling in rural Saskatchewan. She stated it’s miles a part of the bigger Black and Rural venture, which is in part funded through the Canada Council for the Arts, in which she interviews rural-living black Canadians throughout the country.

With Heritage Saskatchewan, Jones is diving into the records of Black rural presence in Saskatchewan — which dates as a long way again because the 1890s, whilst she stated there has been a strong African-American network in Maidstone and the encircling vicinity in Saskatchewan.

Through her Black and Rural work, as Jones calls it, she has frequently heard approximately the shortage of a feel of the Black community. She stated such voices in Saskatchewan and past will open up rural areas for humans of color, mainly Black, as locations of belonging.

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