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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore woman’s dog found in Colwood more than two weeks after going missing

Isla went missing on March 10 and was found 17 days later

Saanich police ticket two speeders before 9 a.m., Saturday

Officers still actively enforcing road safety amid COVID-19 pandemic

PHOTOS: Painted fence in Langford shows thanks for essential workers amid COVID-19

Community members finding unique ways to show their appreciation

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Antibody tests could be the next step in fighting COVID-19, Island doctor says

The blood test could show if a person is recovering or has recovered from the virus

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read