Click here to download the Ch’ı̓ya̓ḵmesh Generating Station Signage Project one-pager in PDF format.
The development and operation of BC Hydro’s system has had undeniable impacts on Squamish Nation territory and way of life. Squamish elders, leaders and members have shared their thoughts and experiences with BC Hydro so they can understand the cultural hardships through the development of the Daisy Lake Dam and Cheakamus Generating Station. BC Hydro deeply regrets these impacts and wishes to make progress towards reconciliation.
Together with BC Hydro, Squamish Nation will install a sign at the Cheakamus Generating Station that acknowledgesctheir connection to the region, with a cultural embellishment by a Squamish Nation artist. This project is an outcome of the jointly developed Relationship Agreement that Squamish Nation holds with BC Hydro. Signed in December 2017, the agreement outlines commitments to the Nation around consultation, contracting, employment and training opportunities as well as cultural heritage and environment support that will benefi t Squamish’s community
members as part of moving forward together on the path of reconciliation.
The Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw have a complex and rich history. They are descendants of the Coast Salish Aboriginal Peoples who lived in the present-day Greater Vancouver area, Gibson’s landing and the Squamish River watershed.
The Squamish Nation has a thriving and growing artistic community, which include carvers, painters, weavers, musicians, jewelers, and others. Through their artistic endeavors, these artists maintain a connection to the traditional arts while acknowledging existence in the modern world. Squamish artists continue to create inspiring artworks that are forging new and exciting pathways for the future of Coast Salish arts. There are many public and community art pieces that have been crafted by Squamish Nation artists which are prominently located through the Squamish traditional territory.
My intention was to capture the natural landscape, some of the resident wildlife, but most importantly tell the story of this area. Not far from where the sign is to be installed Squamish Nation had a village, reached by a river canoe. The residents were very skilled grizzly bear hunters and thrived with the abundance of salmon and forgeable foods. Of course, this has all changed since the Generating Station was introduced. Salmon have a keen sense of smell, directing them to the river mouth from which they were born. Sediment and particulates from the Cheakamus River are now introduced to the Squamish River and the long-term effects are evident, as once the Chinook were monstrous in size reaching over 100lbs. This is the story I am telling. I’ve chosen to create a backdrop of the presiding elements in a metal sheet format. EEC is excellent to work with, they’ve been very supportive of the process and the mutual respect for each other’s vocation is the result of a very beautiful installation.