(The Shoreline House Post Project)

In 2017, Coast Salish artist and Port Moody resident, Tasha Faye Evans, began a journey with a project titled The Welcome Post Project, which included a series of community engagement opportunities and educational sessions along with the carving of a house post at the Noons Creek Hatchery. That beautiful house post, Saymahmet, by Squamish artist and carver James Harry, was raised in ceremony at Rocky Point Park and installed at Noons Creek Hatchery in 2018.

The Welcome Post Project was the inspiration for In the Presence of Ancestors, a project that reasserts the presence of the original caretakers of the Coast Salish lands and waters in and around the place we now call Port Moody. In the Presence of Ancestors includes a variety of community engagement opportunities and will culminate in 2023 with the raising of five house posts from Coast Salish Nations along Port Moody’s Shoreline Trail, between Rocky Point Park and Old Orchard Park. 

Carvers representing kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), q̓ic̓əy (Katzie), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nations will carve unique house posts that will restore a highly visible First Nations presence in the community. Each site will be designed as a space for learning and reflection and will include signage, in each Nation’s own words, sharing who they are as a people, and their vision for the future.

Each post will be raised in public ceremony at Rocky Point Park, prior to being installed at its permanent location.

The City of Port Moody is proud to support In the Presence of Ancestors and thanks artistic director Tasha Faye Evans and everyone involved for their work on this important project. We are also grateful to the Noons Creek Hatchery for providing In the Presence of Ancestors with ongoing support, including space for dialogue, learning, carving, and ceremony.

“Port Moody resides within the beautiful ancestral lands and waters of the Coast Salish people. Many positive changes towards redress, truth-telling and reclamation of Indigenous values are happening in our city with softness of healing slowly rippling throughout all of our communities. In the Presence of Ancestors is an effort to carve these changes permanently into the legacy of Port Moody and create a path of healing for all of our relations.”

~ Tasha Faye Evans

House posts

səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh

Title: Grandmother's Prayer

Artist: Zachary George

Narrative: This house post represents the səlilwətaɬ matriarchs who used to swim on the full moon. They would use the moonlight, and follow it out and back to shore. "This was done as a way of praying for our people and for guidance.” A young girl would be taken on her first moon time and would be brought into womanhood. The post also has the two headed serpent (protector of the inlet) climbing up one side. 

Installation: 2022

Location: Rocky Point looking out onto the Burrard Inlet. This post will mark the beginning of the trail along the shore to the following house posts.

Map

View a full size map.

 kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) 

Title: Spirit of Kwikwetlem

Artist: Brandon Gabriel in collaboration with the community at Kwikwetlem First Nation

Narrative: Spirit of Kwikwetlem tells the community’s Strong Fish Story and speaks about the ancestral strength and resilience of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm people. 

Installation: 2022

Location: Edge of Rocky Point Park, nestled in a grove of Cedar and overlooking the ocean.

Map

View a full size map.

 xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam

Artist: Chrystal Sparrow

Narrative: The artist wishes to honour Coast Salish women with this house post and is basing her designs on weaving. There will be three spindle whorls carved into her house post to represent the past, present and a vision for the future. 

Installation: 2022

Location: Above the beach at what is currently known as Old Orchard Park. The post will face south and onto Burnaby Mountain where xʷməθkʷəy̓əm ancestors would have hunted elk. This house post will mark the end of the house post trail.

Map

View a full size map.

 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation)

Artist: Xwalacktun, O.B.C. (Order of British Columbia)

Installation: 2023

Location: Viewing platform near the old mill ruins along Shoreline Trail.

Map

View a full size map.

 q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie First Nation)

Historically, q̓ic̓əy̓ families stayed closer to the river than to the Inlet. They have been invited to take part in this project as In the Presence of Ancestors is intended to highlight that we are all part of a larger community currently called the Tri-Cities and that we all need to work together to create a better future for all.

Artist: As q̓ic̓əy̓ does not have any active carvers, the Chief’s husband, Damien George, a master carver and artist, will work with the community and together carve their house post. 

Installation: 2023

Location: Pigeon Cove

Map

View a full size map.

Timeline

  • 2021-2022: site design
  • early-mid 2022: preliminary work
    • archaeological investigation in partnership with First Nations
    • environmental impact assessment
    • geotechnical investigation
    • structural and landscape design
  • late 2022: construction of base and footings
  • late 2022: ceremony and raising of first three house posts (səlilwətaɬ, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm)
  • June 2023: ceremony and raising of remaining two house posts (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, q̓ic̓əy̓)

The specific sites and the timeline are subject to change as the project progresses. The cultural significance of this project requires a respectful and considered approach as well as respect for the capacity of all partners. The City is working with each partner to ensure their participation at every stage of the project. 

 

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the 150 Time Immemorial Grant Program.

Heritage BC  British Columbia