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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Openings to a lake: historical approaches to Sumas Lake, British Columbia Cameron, Laura Jean


In order to explore the dynamic between history and place, I consider four methodological issues within the historical space of Sumas Lake, B.C., a large lake that was drained in the 1920’s. The first “Opening” reflects on the connection between historical and technological frontiers, while critiquing my creation of the attached HyperCard stack “Disappearing A Lake: A Meditation on Method and Mosquitos.” The stack documents the creative process of history-making, allowing the “reader” to review and record comments, to see examples of cartography and photography, to hear oral interviews and to read selections of narrative tradition either inside or outside the logic and context of an essay format. The written document flows from the stack. “Listening For Pleasure” discusses the process of oral history as it relates to the negotiated and contested space of the Sumas Lake commons. Diving into archives from Victoria to Ottawa, “Margins and Mosquitos” recycles written records to explore federal, provincial and local involvements with a flood lake. “Memory Device” moves into the archive of land and waterscapes, looking for connections between place and history, mindful of both Native oral tradition and written historical accounts of the lake. Interactive history is located not only in the interface between people and computers, but also in the process of making oral history and in the creative transformation of archival documents. Most importantly, interactive history is alive in the links people forge between stories and the actual places around them.

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