As Squamish Nation master carver, Ses siyam carved Capilano University’s 50th anniversary legacy canoe, a story from his youth began to show itself to him and he knew that this would be the name of the canoe.
The 30-foot-long seaworthy hunting canoe, named “Skw’cháys” in the Squamish language, was carved from an 800-year-old red cedar from the Elaho Valley northwest of Whistler, BC.
For centuries, Indigenous knowledge, languages and cultures were seen as inferior.
When Shasha McArthur heard the news that Capilano University was commissioning a Coast Salish artist to carve a traditional canoe on campus, the film student knew she had to be involved.
A member of the Stó:lō Nation, Capilano University’s Indigenous faculty advisor, David Kirk, was one of the only Indigenous students in his school in Burnaby where he was often bullied, and eventually dropped out of school.
Elder Latash Nahanee describes the significance of a 50th anniversary legacy.