Indigenous Arts

May 29, 2018

Be sure to check out the Indigenous Arts tent in this year’s Activity Village.  In this new activity, kids can help create and decorate traditional animal totems like Bear, Eagle, Wolf and Whale. Once complete, each animal will be added together to create a totem pole.  Port of Vancouver is a proud sponsor of this year’s Indigenous Arts activity.

Each animal totem has its own symbolism. Here are examples of North West Coast animal symbolism written by: Anastasia Hendry (Sgaana Jaada):

  • Salmon: Instinct, persistence, determination, proud, intense, confident, wisdom, inspiration, dependable, renewal, provider, abundance, prosperity
  • Bear: Industrious, instinctive, power, watcher, courage, will power, self-preservation, introspection, teacher, motherhood, family, strength, humility
  • Eagle: Resourceful, strength, leadership, prestige, sacrifice, intelligence, renewal, courage, freedom, grace, power, wise, noble and risk-taker
  • Whale: Traveler, guardian, strong, wisdom, provider, intelligence, compassion and kindness.
  • Wolf: Family, loyalty, perseverance, success, intuition, intelligence, leadership and spirit

This is by no means an exhaustive list and the meaning of these animals varies from one First Nations group to the next. If you would like to know more about the local meanings it would be advisable to gather information from a local elder or knowledge keeper.

Come say ‘hi’ to First Nations artist Christine MacKenzie who will be facilitating the activity.

About Christine:

Christine MacKenzie is a First Nations artist who was born in Kelowna, B.C. Her mother is a descendant of Kwakuitl royalty. Christine is of the Killer Whale and Eagle Clans. She grew up in south western British Columbia, in the Coast Salish traditional territories (Richmond). Christine finds inspiration in the natural world, seeing beauty in nature’s creations.

Her ties to the First Nations community keeps her fully occupied as she tours the province promoting native art through workshops, dramatic on-stage re-enactments and daycamps. She revels at teaching young children how to draw and paint.

Presented by the Port of Vancouver

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