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A trio of new sculptures created by Indigenous Okanagan artists was erected in Lake Country recently.
The "Four Foods Chief," "Canoe" and "Feather" sculptures can be found throughout the cycling route of the Pelmewash Parkway. These pieces, which were designed by Clint George of the Penticton Indian Band and Les Louis of the Similkameen Indian Band, tell traditional stories of the Okanagan people.
Inspiration for the sculptures came to be after the artists looked back at the heritage of the Okanagan people.
“The Syilx people have Four Food Chiefs that have been a part of Syilx heritage since before our people came to be," said the artists. "The Four Food Chiefs sculpture carries infinite meaning and reminds us to seek information about why preservation of our valleys, mountains, waters, and sky are so important.”
They went in-depth on what the Feather and Canoe pieces represented, with the underlying message being working in harmony with settlers on land.
“The Feather sculpture with the medicine wheel, sun/star blanket, and depictions of Okanagan pictographs integrate the importance of working in harmony with the settlers of our land. The Canoe sculpture reminds us of the importance of transportation, working together, and the story of traditional transportation networks of the Syilx people.”
The works were funded by the Lake Country Public Art Advisory Commission. That group was very grateful for the artists who put in the time to complete the projects.
“We are grateful to the artists who created these sculptures as reminders about how this area along Wood Lake was regularly used for many years by the Syilx people,” stated Sharon McCoubrey, Chairperson of the Public Art Advisory Commission. “We hope everyone will enjoy the beauty of these sculptures and will think of their meaning and significance.”
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