December 20, 2012

Aboriginal art removed from Canada's $20 bill

Aboriginal Art Disappears from Canadian $20 BillIt's called the "Spirit of Haida Gwaii," and it can be seen in at the International Terminal of Vancouver Airport and in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

And until recently, on every $20 bill printed in Canada since 2004.

"Spirit of Haida Gwaii" is a bronze sculpture by the late Bill Reid, Haida. Two versions of it exist: the "Black Canoe" (located in D.C.) and the "Jade Canoe" (Vancouver). It was selected to adorn the back of Canada's $20 bill, along with other works by Reid, in 2004, for the version of the bill known as the "Canadian Journey Series." The new version of Canada's $20 bill, printed on a polymer substance and containing new security features, does not show Reid's work. It has been replaced by an image of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a monument near Vimy, France, that acknowledges the contribution and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers during World War I.

As seen in the video below, Aboriginal leaders and experts see the change as emblematic of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's priorities. The former bill, they say, featuring as it did an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the front, symbolized the treaties between the Canadian government and First Nations peoples, and the important role of those peoples in Canada. Harper, critics say, is more interested in Canada's military persona and place on the world stage than its cultural history and diversity.
Comment:  For more on Indians and currency, see 2013 Sacagawea Dollar Reverse Unveiled and Chaco Canyon Quarter Debuts.

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