NEWS RELEASE · 27th April 2010
Ministry Aboriginal Relations
Premier Gordon Campbell formally accepted a hand-carved red cedar canoe as a gift to all British Columbians today from the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of B.C.
"Shxwtitostel is a gift to all peoples in British Columbia as a symbol of my belief that we need to create a better understanding amongst all people that we are in the same canoe," said the Lieutenant Governor. "No matter where you are from, we all need to paddle together."
"It is with great respect, honour and gratitude that I accept this canoe on behalf of all British Columbians," said Premier Campbell. "This canoe showcases the beauty of First Nations art and symbolizes the importance of reconciliation between people."
The Lieutenant Governor named the canoe Shxwtitostel (pronounced: Schwe-tea- tos-tel) which means "a safe place to cross the river" in Halq'eméylem. It represents the idea of a bridge between peoples, one of the Lieutenant Governor's major themes.
The canoe will be displayed in the reception hall of the B.C. Parliament Buildings until the end of the summer, when it will be exhibited in museums throughout the province.
The four-metre shovel-nosed canoe is the product of 13 months of carving by Point and Chief Tony Hunt, Hereditary Chief of the KwaGulth and master carver.
The canoe has the features of the legendary creature in Chilliwack's Cultus Lake known as Slahkum. The sides of the canoe are engraved with the crest of Point's father.
Point found the original red cedar log from which the canoe was carved at Ross Bay near Victoria. The log's tapered ends suggest someone had started carving it into a canoe in the past. Earlier this month, Point returned to the beach at Ross Bay to launch the canoe for the first time.
The canoe, a traditional inland river hunting canoe, would have been used to hunt in freshwater by lighting a fire in a pit at the bow and spearing fish attracted to the light.