Jeff Thomas (b. 1956, Buffalo, New York) is an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based storyteller, writer, public speaker, and curator living in Ottawa, Ontario, and has works in major collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Jeff's most recent solo shows are Jeff Thomas: Where Are You From? , Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto; Birdman Rising, University of Southern Illinois; A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, Art Gallery of Mississauga; The Dancing Grounds, Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon); and Resistance Is NOT Futile, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto. Thomas has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario; Tributes + Tributaries, 1971–1989, Art Gallery of Ontario; Land/Slide: Possible Futures, Markham, Ontario; SAKAHÀN, National Gallery of Canada; and UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France. He has been awarded the Canada Council's Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography (1998), the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (2008), the Karsh Award in photography (2008), the REVAL Indigenous Art Award (2017), and the Canada Council Governor General's Award in the Visual and Media Arts (2019). Please visit his website for more information.
Strong Hearts, Kevin Haywahe, Traditional Powwow Dancer, 1990
Jeff Thomas, Broken Treaties, 1613–, digital – pigment print on archival paper, 2020
Travelogue: I visited the Caledonia protest site after things had settled down and documented the signage. As I drove to the reserve, I was followed by a black SUV, so I drove around till the SUV stopped following me, before going to my destination.
Key to images (left to right)
- Jeff Thomas, Caledonia, Ontario, 2007, “OH CANADA,” Argyle Street S. Occupation Site, GPS Coordinates: 43.05713, -79.96581 Protest site with Six Nations of the Grand River asserting ownership via the Haldimand land deed (stolen land in 1841). The original Haldimand Tract that the Iroquois were given stretched from Kitchener, Ontario, to Lake Erie, six miles on each side of the Grand River. Only 5 percent of the original 950,000 acres remains.
- Jeff Thomas, Albany, New York, Dutch Man & Indigenous Man (Mohawk?) Monument, 2004, Tri-Centennial Park, Broadway & Montgomery Street, facing the Hudson River, GPS Coordinates: 42.65421, -73.74746
In 1613, the Dutch and Haudenosaunee signed the first treaty on Turtle, known as the Two Row, and commemorated as the Two Row Wampum Belt.
Jeff Thomas, Chief Red Robe, Grand River looking north from Lake Erie, Port Maitland, 2008, GPS Coordinates: 42.85705, -79.5791