A member of the Spuzzum First Nation, with both Nlaka’pamux and Sto:lo ancestry, Brenda Crabtre has a very long list of accomplishments. She has been the Aboriginal Program Manager and Faculty member at Emily Carr University of Art since 1999. In this role she has developed and maintained full academic, cultural and technical support for Aboriginal students in all programs. She has taught courses in Aboriginal art and technology that comprises her personal practice including drum making, cedar and spruce root basketry, moosehair tufting, birch bark and porcupine quillwork, beadwork, and perhaps most significantly, Salish, Chilkat, and Raven’s Tail weaving. She is an accomplished artist in all of these processes and has exhibited her work extensively.
Brenda has been instrumental in creating numerous educational facilities and programs that preserve and advance Aboriginal culture including the creation of the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, an Aboriginal National Historic Site/Provincial Park in Mission. In this role she created and developed educational interpretive programs for K-12, post-secondary, professional development and public programs, taught workshops, developed research projects, trained staff, and liaised with UBC and SFU archeology field schools.
Among her other accomplishments Brenda founded the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr. The Gathering Place is a dedicated studio, classroom, and hosting facility on False Creek where classes, workshops, guest lectures and conferences are in continual operation, bringing knowledge of contemporary Aboriginal art and culture to the wider community of Emily Carr and beyond.
Brenda has sat on numerous boards, committees, and juries among them the Bill Reid Foundation, the Vancouver Public Art Cultural Services/Reconciliation Adjudication Panel, the YVR Art Foundation, the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Child and Family Services/Xyolthmeyth Cultural Committee, the Vancouver Foundation: Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors: Xyolthmeyth/ Fraser Valley Aboriginal Family and Child Services, and the B.C. Aboriginal Creative Achievement Awards Adjudication to name a few.
Brenda has received numerous and significant grants in aid of supporting educational programming for Aboriginal students in Vancouver. Her leadership in this area has been outstanding for developing a strong and continuing cohort of young Aboriginal artists who are now taking their places among the recognized leaders in their fields. For her enduring vision and tireless dedication in fostering Aboriginal art education which has helped build understanding and empathy between Aboriginal and other Canadians, Brenda Crabtre is a remarkable woman!