Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd stand in front of their likeness, painted on the window of Bolen Books at Hillside shopping centre with their newest book Voices From The Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History. (Robert Budd Images)

Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd stand in front of their likeness, painted on the window of Bolen Books at Hillside shopping centre with their newest book Voices From The Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History. (Robert Budd Images)

Skeena combines Roy Henry Vickers’ vibrant expression with robust oral history

Vickers’ and Budd’s ninth collaboration sells out of local book store, Amazon

The partnership between First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers and author-historian Robert Budd has combined for a ninth book in six years and this time it’s more unique than ever.

With their newest project, Voices From The Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History, Budd thinks they’ve finally ripped the lid off their true potential.

Skeena is more than three years in the making, and with an online, down-loadable oral history component, it’s unlike any project the duo has done before. It focuses on the navigation of the Skeena River before railway.

READ MORE: West Coast beauty inspires children’s counting book by local author

“It stands on its own as an art book, and it has an oral history so the reader can hear all seven stories of these historical people talk about the Skeena before Europeans,” Budd said. “We’ve had national bestsellers, we’ve won 24 awards, it’s been a whirlwind, but this one is different.”

In their first eight books the two combined Vickers’ artistic skill and Budd’s experience in oral history to tell First Nations stories to children of all ages. They’ve won about two dozen awards and have slowly built their brand through visually expressive children’s books Raven Brings the Light (2013), Cloudwalker (2014) and Orca Chief (2015) and Peace Dancer (2016). Orca Chief was so well regarded it was still winning awards after Peace Dancer was released.

Along the way they also produced a trio of children’s board books and truly embedded their market reach in the children’s book industry with Hello Humpback, One Eagle Soaring, and Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue.

“Skeena goes back to when we first met,” recalls Budd, who lives with his family in Fairfield.

As the story goes (and Budd loves nothing more but to tell a story within a story), Vickers had wandered down to the Royal B.C. Museum around 1971. Vickers had recently arrived at Oak Bay High from the north and was homesick for the life he knew.

READ MORE: Victoria boy still trying to add Levidrome to the dictionary

His art teacher at Oak Bay High told him to take off and study somewhere else.

At the museum he uncovered oral history tapes from legendary CBC reporter Imbert Orchard’s time in the early 1960s that documented the traditional First Nation ways of life on his home river of the Skeena that preceded settler arrival. Vickers enjoyed them and found connection in them. But he also neglected to note which recordings he had listened to.

About 20 years ago Budd, a University of Victoria history grad, ran a 4.5 year project digitizing 2,700 hours of these same oral histories, many of them from Orchard’s precious collection. Budd later produced a book on these historical accounts and that’s when Vickers learned about him and reached out.

The result is the newest project, a unique combination with 40 illustrations by Vickers that support seven different stories based on these oral history accounts, as identified by Budd and Vickers.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

Oak Bay Police. (Black Press File Photo)
Driver caught accelerating to twice the speed limit through Oak Bay school zone

Officers also responded to impaired drivers and multiple thefts last week

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read