2022 Victoria Explaining Settlers to Ourselves wins Anne and Phillip Yandle Best Article Award

Explaining Settlers to Ourselves wins Anne and Phillip Yandle Best Article Award

A story about efforts to rethink a Victoria heritage site’s story has won the Anne and Philip Yandle Best Article Award from the BC Historical Federation. 

Explaning Settlers to Ourselves: Rethinking interpretive narratives at heritage sites by Kelly Black was published in the Spring 2021 edition of British Columbia History magazine. 

Kelly Black

Black is the executive director of Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens in Victoria and an adjunct professor in the department of history at Vancouver Island University.

His article looks at how previous interpretation of the historic site failed to mention owner Peter O’Reilly’s 18 years as Indian Reserve commissioner and focused instead on the romantic aspects of Victorian-era life. In recent years, the non-profit society that cares for Point Ellis House has reassessed and reimagined the site. 

Thirty-five articles published in British Columbia History in 2021 were eligible for the prize, which includes $250 and a certificate. A panel of judges chose the winning article, which can be found at https://www.bchistory.ca/explaining-settlers-to-ourselves

One judge called the story “a very readable, well-written, well-argued, eye-opening investigation into how historical sites in BC (and other regions) have omitted open narratives about colonization, and how one site is working to change that.

“It advances big-picture knowledge of BC history by encouraging all of us to think critically about how history is presented to us (or not presented to us), both as historical consumers and historical stewards.”  

“I am grateful to the BCHF and adjudication committee for this recognition,” Black says. “It’s more important than ever to revisit our historical narratives in BC and it was a pleasure to write about this for BC History magazine, a leading source for engagement with the past.” 

The award was announced Saturday at the BCHF’s annual conference, co-hosted by the Victoria Historical Society and held virtually. Black was also a speaker at the conference.

An honorable mention was also presented to Robert Ratcliffe Taylor for his article, Emily Carr, Cartoonist, which appeared in the winter 2021 issue and looked a little-known aspect of the artist’s work and reproduced a number of her editorial cartoons that appeared in a Victoria journal in 1905.

Philip Yandle was the editor, publisher, and distributor of the former BC Historical News from 1968 to 1977 and his wife Anne was also very active in the magazine and was the longtime book review editor.