Indigenous Art Installations for BC Cancer Centres

Posted by on

Vancouver, BC (February 28, 2017) - Through the collaboration and Partnerships of the BC Cancer Agency (BCAA), Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Provincial Health Services Authority and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) the BCCA unveiled the Indigenous Art pieces that will be installed in six Cancer Centres across British Columbia (Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Prince George).  The installations will serve as a welcome to Indigenous and non-Indigenous cancer care clients and staff. They will create a space of belonging and comfort and allow for conversation and the healing journey to begin.

Together with the support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, we have positively impacted the journey of Indigenous Cancer patients in BC. The Métis and First Nations resource booklet that was created to assist Cancer patients as they navigate the cancer care system will be available at all Cancer Centres in BC.

Gathered on the traditional Coast Salish territory with Musqueam and Squamish Nation Elders, MNBC Minister Susie Hooper witnessed the official unveiling of the Métis, Urban Aboriginal and First Nations artwork designed especially to welcome patients and their families to the Centre. The pieces were specifically created to offer comfort and a warm welcome to Indigenous Cancer patients and families accessing the space with the BC Cancer Agency at Vancouver General Hospital.

“As Indigenous people from all over BC, we need to know where we are coming from and have the strength of our families and ancestors with us, in order to move forward on our healing journeys". said Minister Hooper "Having this visual connection to our culture through these beautiful art installments will help ground Métis and First Nations people for the journey they are about to make at the cancer centres.”

Métis Artisan Lisa Shepherd created the Métis artwork entitled: Peace: “Walking softly on the Land, wrapped in the strength of our Ancestors”         

"Moccasins connect us to the Earth", said Shepherd. "We can feel the land beneath our feet, grounding us. Our Ancestors are a part of the land and they hold us up as we walk. These moccasins are for all Métis people who are walking a challenging path. We are strong people – we have always been strong – and this is what makes us up. The moccasins for the Vancouver Centre feature Yarrow and Huckleberry, which are endemic. The moccasins have pointed toes, which are the original style Métis moccasins to Vancouver. The sash is the Métis Nation BC’s 20th Anniversary sash. Sashes were originally Métis men’s working tool but today are worn to show pride for the culture. The moccasins sit on Maple wood surrounded by Grandfather Stones". "It is the Artists hope that when people view the moccasins they can enjoy their beauty but they can also feel all the spirit, history and future that they carry".

Métis Citizen Savannah Todd proudly displayed her art pieces at the unveiling.  Ms. Todd's pieces will be installed in Surrey, Abbotsford and Kelowna.

-30-

Related:

BC Cancer Agency unveils new Indigenous Art at six Cancer Centres in BC (full news release) 

Minister Hooper with Métis Artist Savannah Todd

First Nations art by Shain Jackson (Sechelt Nation) & Aaron Moody (Squamish Nation)