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Truth and Reconciliation: Whistler’s Bridge Banner

Two Indigenous Youths featured in Whistler’s “Every Child Matters” banner on Ted Nebbling bridge

If you are driving or walking along Village Gate Boulevard today, you will see a new orange banner at Ted Nebbling Bridge. The banner, commissioned by the SLCC and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, honours the survivors and victims of the Indian Residential School system. The moving artwork is a collaborative piece created by by Skw̲xw̲ú7mesh (Squamish Nation) artist and SLCC Indigenous Youth Ambassador, Courtney Williams, and Lílw̓at (Lil’wat Nation) artist and SLCC Cultural Ambassador, Jordana Abraham. These talented and powerful young women took some time to share with the world the meaning behind their designs.

The Centre Heart – by Courtney Williams

“The dragonfly’s symbolism is mainly about transformation in a spiritual sense. Dragonflies guide spirits in the afterlife to where they need to be. The eyes above the dragonfly’s are for guidance and wisdom as they are watching over journey, and the baby frogs represent the children being found at the residential schools. Dragonfly’s are one of my favourite animals, and the frogs remind me of my siblings. I wanted to incorporate both those animals for their symbolism and for representation of my family.”

 

Two Panels, and the Dragonfly Takes her Home – by Jordana Abraham

“On the left hand side is a young girl who was taken to residential school. She is given a number “39” and has no face because they took everything from her: her identity, her hair cut short, she is not able to say her name or speak her language. She is not allowed to know anything about her culture. If she did, if she danced the dances, sung the songs, or spoke the words in her heart that were taught to her by her family, she would be disciplined.

On the right hand side, the same girl who went through that traumatic time is now looking up at the dragon fly – because she found peace and guidance. The dragonfly guided her in the spirit world to the place where she needed to be, with her ancestors who spoke her language who knew her name and showed her their culture.”

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