The display of Indigenous artwork can be a meaningful way to show respect for Indigenous peoples in BC. The In Plain Sight report validated that including Indigenous cultural spaces and increasing the visibility of Indigenous Nations’ culture in healthcare settings is an important strategy in improving healthcare for Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous art in healthcare spaces can create a sense of belonging, welcoming, meaning, and comfort for Indigenous peoples. The College encourages registrants to explore the significance of art that is Indigenous to the area where they live, work, and play, and consider displaying meaningful Indigenous art in their practice spaces. We have begun to engage with Indigenous artists and to incorporate Indigenous artwork throughout the CPTBC website in response to Recommendation 10 in the In Plain Sight report.
“I am from the shishálh First Nation. For my people and family, much of our experience since colonization has been of drab, depressing, foreign medical spaces. Such environments have reinforced dynamics of racism and oppression that have been part of the experience of Indigenous peoples in the health care system. Such environments also contribute to the increased ways in which Indigenous peoples avoid necessary medical treatment altogether. So how does our Indigenous artwork alleviate these feelings? Many are unaware, but our Coast Salish artwork was and is a written language. Our history, culture, worldview, and even our laws, are codified in our art. When we bring our Indigenous artworks into a space, it does several things.
First, the presence of this art conveys that there is respect for our cultures and an acknowledgement of the people whose land the medical environment exists upon. For our people, this can help develop a level of comfort for those having to enter these institutions.
Second, the artwork can be used to convey meanings and messaging that create comfort and support in the healing process – such as around security, equality, spirituality, resilience, hope and so much more.
Third, using our Nations’ respective stories and symbolism, Indigenous artwork can convey a sense of agreement, of there being a trust, through which medical care will be offered and received.”
– Shain Niniwum Selapem Jackson (Coast Salish, shishálh First Nation), President, Spirit Works Limited & Executive Director, Golden Eagle Rising Society (In Plain Sight Report, 2020, p.124)
Aaron Nelson-Moody / Tawx’sin Yexwulla, Artist
Aaron Nelson-Moody, or “Splash”, lives and works in the Capilano Village on the North Shore of Vancouver, British Columbia. These days he is working mainly on jewelry engraving and repousse, and still carves the larger houseposts and panels on commission.
While Aaron is his English name, he also has his Squamish Nation name, Tawx’sin Yexwulla, which translates as Splashing Eagle, so most people know him simply as “Splash”. He also carries the name, Poolxtun, from his adopted father Gerry Oleman, which he translates as, ‘the spreading ripples from a splash of water’.
Highlights of Aaron’s work include several large works for Olympic Venue sites for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada, and four house boards for the Squamish/Lil’wat Cultural Centre. He has worked with community groups and students in a number of schools in the Squamish and Vancouver areas since 1995, as well as sharing in Japan and Scotland. He recently carved a housepost at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and works at Langara College teaching a Truth and Reconciliation based Aboriginal carving cohort program.
Eagle flies up so high it looks down and sees all of humanity as one, cannot see our various nations or small differences, Eagle just sees us as one people. When we hold a feather, we remind ourselves of that perspective, and can speak with respect and honesty to each other like the family that we all are.
See this image in Practice Standard 21
Eagle’s primary feathers at the wing tips provide direction and steering and are vital for uplifting Eagle in flight.
See this image throughout Our Commitment to Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility and Anti-Racism on our website
Jason Henry Hunt, Kwagulth Carver & Artist
Born in Victoria in 1973, Jason is the son of Kwagulth carver and artist, Stanley Clifford Hunt. Following in the footsteps of his father and uncles, Tony Hunt and Richard Hunt, Jason has merged his trained indigenous artistic capabilities with a unique, recognizable style that is sought after by collectors throughout North America and in Europe.
Dedicated to the values of old world craftsmanship, and favouring the use of hand tools to carve and finish his works, Jason creates signature pieces that range from totem poles and large scale panels to masks and paintings.
Today, Jason is the youngest steward of a rich legacy of creativity that traces its roots from his father through his grandfather, Henry Hunt, to his great-grandfather, Mungo Martin (both widely credited with teaching many of today’s leading artists). Jason’s work explores the distinct culture and art form of the Kwagiulth people while reflecting the vibrant history and knowledge of generations of acclaimed artists.
The Orca is a family-oriented figure, known to travel in groups to help and protect each other while also working together. Orca are seen as the living symbols of our ancestors and as such are highly regarded. They are fierce, intelligent hunters but also have a playful side.
In this design, the Orca play and splash about, their spirit and vitality showing in the faces of the waves. But playing is also hard work. The work and play of the Orca are reflected in the moon, a powerful figure that brings light to the darkness and can transform the world by changing the tides.
See this image in our Registrant Resource Guide