Author Topic: Native Band Calls for Boycott of Merlin Books  (Read 5065 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Native Band Calls for Boycott of Merlin Books
« on: July 05, 2005, 11:32:09 am »
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Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2003 21:09:01 -0000
Subject: [nafps] Native Band Calls for Boycott of Book & Bookstores That Sell It

Destruction of pictographs feared after book on subject

BRITISH COLUMBIA: The Upper Similkameen Indian Band is organizing a
boycott of bookstores that carry a book on Aboriginal pictographs
published by Burnaby's Mussio Ventures Ltd.

Mussio Ventures is the publisher of the successful line of Backroad
Map books that guide the public to various outdoor destinations.

The book, Exploring B.C.'s Pictographs: A Guide to Native Rock Art in
the B.C. Interior, that sells for $24.95 appeared on shelves recently
and provides a guide to hundreds of sites including a number "that
the archeologists in Victoria didn't know about," said publisher
Russell Mussio.

One of the stores carrying the book -- Merlin Books in Kamloops --
has sold out and has ordered another shipment.

Brenda Gould, a professional archeologist employed by the band, said
the book gives GPS locations to many pictographs on Crown land and
would result in their being damaged.

"We have the biggest bank of pictographs in the province in this
region and I can tell you we go out week after week to remove
graffiti from
them. This book will just bring more people into the area and more
sites will be damaged," said Gould.

Mussio denied this and said he couldn't imagine any vandal would
spend the money to buy a book then travel to a remote area just to
vandalize a pictograph.

He said the book doesn't give locations of pictographs found on
Indian reserves or private property.

"It doesn't tell people how to get there and it tells them to consult
the local band if they want to see a site," said Mussio.

The authors, David Wyfe and Simon Nankibell, spent more than five
years collecting the information, said Mussio.

But publication angered the Upper Similkameen Band who said they were
caught by surprise when the book was released last week.

According to a press release issued by the band, the book identifies
sensitive sites that were still being used for spiritual purposes.

"First Nations people are very protective of their cultural heritage
especially spiritual sites as significant as pictographs," said the

The band terms the book "very controversial and potentially
explosive" and claims the authors trespassed on to band
property "when no permission was ever sought."

The band has issued notices to book stores in the Penticton area
asking them to pull the books off the shelves.

"All retailers distributing this book are being warned that there is
going to be a boycott on publications originating from Mussio
... and a further boycott on [those] who wish to continue selling
this specific publication," said the notice.

Gould said the authors came to the band three years ago and said they
had photographed pictographs on band property.

"We were very concerned they had done this and wanted to know what
they intended to do with the pictures. We were told they were just
doing research and weren't going to publish," she said.

Gould said the band wants a meeting with provincial officials as the
authors were given access to the location of pictographs that were
supposed to be restricted.

"As an archeologist I would have to sign an undertaking that I would
not publish the locations of pictographs before I received that
information. We want to know what undertaking the authors gave," said

An official with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said it was also
concerned about the information contained in the book and the
possibility that it would lead to destruction of sites.

Gould said the band has received letters of support from a number of
book and specialty stores that have promised they won't carry the

But the owner of Merlin Books said the store would continue to sell
the book on principle.

Mussio said the publishing company is offering to donate proceeds
from sales of the book to a fund for the protection of pictograph