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New Coast Salish stories adorn MONOVA's windows

On Sunday (June 26), the Museum of North Vancouver is inviting people to attend a Detachment Ceremony with the artists who created its latest public art piece.
Marissa Nahanee
A portion of one of Nisg̱a’a and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Mi kw’achi7m (Marissa Nahanee's) work is now featured on MONOVA's north and west windows in its latest public art piece, Nature as Teacher: Our Coast Salish World.

MONOVA, the Museum of North Vancouver, is welcoming people to its latest public art piece by local First Nations artists which tell Coast Salish stories of creation, nature and transformation.

Pieces by Nisg̱a’a and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Mi kw’achi7m (Marissa Nahanee) and Tsleil-Watuth Nation Skokaylem (Zac George) adorn the north and east wall windows in a series of colourful, translucent decals, and on Sunday, June 26, a detachment ceremony will be held.

Working with the theme Nature as our Teacher: Our Coast Salish World, the artists created images inspired by the North Shore’s natural environment and Indigenous creation stories.

Although each wall presents a distinctive artistic style, they are unified by Coast Salish design elements, colours and patterns.

Nahanee’s piece, The Twelve Original Occupations Of The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Demonstrate Important Lessons Of Caring, was inspired by a transformation story about a young Squamish woman, the puppies she gave birth to, and the lessons learned then, that still stand true to Squamish people today.

“The moral of this story,” Nahanee said, “is that we can help transform our challenges and cares into stability—if we always take care of all of our community members and share the bounty of nature with our people.”

George’s pieces, The First Grandmother of Səl̓ílwətaɬ Was Born From The Sea, comes from a Tsleil-Waututh legend of creation and one of the stories the Great Spirit told his Grandfather.

Intended to be representative of a Coast Salish house post, George’s pieces are featured all along the top windows, and on the wide vertical panel.

George explained that back in the mists of time, when the Great Spirit made the saltwater inlet, which now includes the City of Vancouver on its shores, the spirit placed his family on this land.

“We are Tsleil-Waututh -- People of the inlet,” says George. “He transformed my grandfather from a wolf into a young boy. My grandfather lived and learned in this new environment, he learned from everything around him how to survive,” he said.

The detachment ceremony with the artists begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, at MONOVA, 115 West Esplanade, North Vancouver.

Charlie Carey is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.


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