Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd stand in front of their likeness, painted on the window of Bolen Books at Hillside shopping centre with their newest book Voices From The Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History. (Robert Budd Images)

Skeena combines Roy Henry Vickers’ vibrant expression with robust oral history

Vickers’ and Budd’s ninth collaboration sells out of local book store, Amazon

The partnership between First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers and author-historian Robert Budd has combined for a ninth book in six years and this time it’s more unique than ever.

With their newest project, Voices From The Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History, Budd thinks they’ve finally ripped the lid off their true potential.

Skeena is more than three years in the making, and with an online, down-loadable oral history component, it’s unlike any project the duo has done before. It focuses on the navigation of the Skeena River before railway.

READ MORE: West Coast beauty inspires children’s counting book by local author

“It stands on its own as an art book, and it has an oral history so the reader can hear all seven stories of these historical people talk about the Skeena before Europeans,” Budd said. “We’ve had national bestsellers, we’ve won 24 awards, it’s been a whirlwind, but this one is different.”

In their first eight books the two combined Vickers’ artistic skill and Budd’s experience in oral history to tell First Nations stories to children of all ages. They’ve won about two dozen awards and have slowly built their brand through visually expressive children’s books Raven Brings the Light (2013), Cloudwalker (2014) and Orca Chief (2015) and Peace Dancer (2016). Orca Chief was so well regarded it was still winning awards after Peace Dancer was released.

Along the way they also produced a trio of children’s board books and truly embedded their market reach in the children’s book industry with Hello Humpback, One Eagle Soaring, and Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue.

“Skeena goes back to when we first met,” recalls Budd, who lives with his family in Fairfield.

As the story goes (and Budd loves nothing more but to tell a story within a story), Vickers had wandered down to the Royal B.C. Museum around 1971. Vickers had recently arrived at Oak Bay High from the north and was homesick for the life he knew.

READ MORE: Victoria boy still trying to add Levidrome to the dictionary

His art teacher at Oak Bay High told him to take off and study somewhere else.

At the museum he uncovered oral history tapes from legendary CBC reporter Imbert Orchard’s time in the early 1960s that documented the traditional First Nation ways of life on his home river of the Skeena that preceded settler arrival. Vickers enjoyed them and found connection in them. But he also neglected to note which recordings he had listened to.

About 20 years ago Budd, a University of Victoria history grad, ran a 4.5 year project digitizing 2,700 hours of these same oral histories, many of them from Orchard’s precious collection. Budd later produced a book on these historical accounts and that’s when Vickers learned about him and reached out.

The result is the newest project, a unique combination with 40 illustrations by Vickers that support seven different stories based on these oral history accounts, as identified by Budd and Vickers.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fireballs fall Friday as brightest meteor shower of the year fills the skies

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Lead Island Health doctor backs Saanich push to lower provincial speed limits

Chief Medical Health Officer backs the bid to drop residential speed limits to 40 km/h

Greater Victoria sees unemployment rise in November

Unemployment rate jumps to 3.5 per cent from 3.2 per cent

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Colwood tops Grumpy Taxpayer$ 2019 Candy Cane Awards

Yearly awards for improved governance go to Colwood, Oak Bay, Victoria

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read