A distinctive landmark sculpture for Marine Peace Park intended to create awareness of Secwépemc traditional territory received an enthusiastic response from Salmon Arm Council.
The Sxwesméllp Landmark will be located next to the entrance to the Salmon Arm Wharf.
Shelley Witzky, an elected official with Adams Lake who has been instrumental in the Landmark and Trail Sign Project, and Libby Jay Chisholm, project coordinator, came to council to request final approval to install the landmark.
They also provided updates to council. They were successful in getting a Heritage Legacy Fund grant of $10,000 to go towards story boards to accompany each installation that will portray Secwépemc location names, culture and stories. Five meetings with the Secwépemc Lakes Elders Advisory Group took place, where the place names, sculpture location and the design were verified. Direction was also provided for the metalwork imagery.
Along with the main sculpture at Marine Peace Park, two smaller ‘Sentinel’ landmarks are now in the works for Little Mountain and R.J. Haney Heritage Village. Along with story boards, the English place names will also be provided.
Chisholm explained that for the main landmark the elders wanted to speak to the importance of the soopolallie bush and of salmon. The soopalallie will be growing in the metalwork with the salmon swimming up.
The elders each visited Marine Peace Park and favoured the wharf entrance location because of the line of sight – it provided great views of the mountains as well as for other landmark portals.
The landmark sculpture at the park will be a collaboration between metalwork artist Eric Kutschker and and Secwépemc rock sculptors Rod Tomma and Tilkotmes Tomma.
For the Little Mountain Sentinel, the metalwork designs will include turtles, tule and bulrush. The design for the R.J. Haney Heritage Village installation will incorporate bulrush, tule, trout and berries.
Council discussed that it might be necessary to move a bench next to the entrance to the wharf to accommodate the landmark sculpture.
Witzky said it is not the intention of anyone involved to displace any monuments there. She said she would like to see it integrated so people can view the landscape and the Secwépemc monument.
Chisholmasked if council would like a similar presentation regarding the landmarks at Little Mountain and Haney village.
Mayor Alan Harrison and Coun. Kevin Flynn said no, photos would be fine. Both Flynn and Harrison both spoke highly of the location.
“I would totally endorse what Flynn is saying, I think that’s the spot,” Harrison said. “Whether we have to move a bench or not. It’s high visibility; that’s where the elders feel it should go. I think it will be of high interest.”
Council unanimously approved the design and location.