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The Fort Chipewyan Delta, 2020

Colleen Cameron

Elder George Vermillion

Visual Arts — Acrylic on Canvas


The Fort Chipewyan Delta, 2020; 16″ x 20″

The Fort Chipewyan Delta was inspired by the positive reaction of Elder George Vermillion to a small study painting I had completed of the Athabasca River Delta in Northern Alberta, Canada. Elder George grew up in Fort Chipewyan on the shores of the Athabasca River and Lake Athabasca. He has seen a lot of changes in the landscape and the peoples who inhabit those lands during his 87 years of treading lightly on The Great Mother.

Elder George and I had engaged in a wonderful hour-long conversation during the Art of Conversation Series. As we shared our stories with each other, I had taken a few minutes to show Elder George some of my recent paintings. His face and voice became very animated as he exclaimed over one painting that he felt looked like the area around Fort Chipewyan. Interestingly enough, before I met Elder George, while working on that study painting, I had felt it depicted the area around Fort Chipewyan and that was going to become a larger painting in the future.

Elder George and I spoke of our recollections of the northern land and the peoples who call the area their home as well as his family connections with the land. In preparation for the final painting, I researched archived photographs of the Fort Chipewyan community and surrounding landscape to understand the land formations near the Fort Chipewyan Delta and the nearby Athabasca Lake and River Delta. The completed painting showcases the Fort Chipewyan Delta on Lake Athabasca, Alberta, Canada. – Colleen Cameron