Coun. Shelley Witzky of the Adams Lake Band, Neskonlith Band Coun. Louis Thomas, the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s Jacob Brett were all involved with the development of the Secwepemc landmarks project, which is now seeking artisans to complete the sculptures. (Photo contributed)

Artisans wanted for Secwépemc landmark and trail sculptures

Sculptures will bring educational experience on Secwépemc culture to popular parks and trails

Artisans skilled in working with stone, metal and wood are needed to bring Secwépemc landmarks to life.

Planning for a project which will bring sculptures to 14 local landmarks and decorated posts to mark 100 trailheads in the area has been underway for years, but soon the plan will be made reality as artisans to work on it are being recruited.

Applications from artisans will be accepted until Feb. 20 for the main landmark sculpture, to be located in Marine Park, and for the trailhead marker posts.

For work on the main landmark, the Secwépemc Cultural Tourism Elders Committee and their partners are seeking two artisans to create the large permanent 6-7 foot tall sculpture. Applications are being accepted from a Secwépemc sculptor familiar with rock sculptures and a non-Secwépemc artist who works with metal who will collaborate on the landmark. The mixed-material sculpture will be adorned with petroglyphs, iconography and visual and written stories as well as the Secwépemc badge.

Early discussion of the project suggested it could incorporate viewing portals that would highlight local landmarks such as mountain peaks important to the Secwépemc people.

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For the trailhead marker posts, project organizers are seeking a Secwépemc wood carving artist to lead workshops with Grade 6 to 11 students. The artisan will work with a Secwépemc storyteller and the students to design and carve petroglyphs in the trailhead posts. The completed wooden posts will stand five feet tall and feature the Secwépemc badge the petroglyph carvings with a paint inlay.

Applications for the smaller sentinel landmarks which will be located in various places, mostly on trail systems around Shuswap Lake, are being accepted until March 16. The committee also wants the sentinel landmarks to be taken on by a Secwépemc stone sculptor and a non-Secwépemc metalworker. The four- to five-foot tall sculptures will have decorations similar to the larger one at Marine Park.

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Project organizers say the sculptures portraying Secwépemc location names and stories being placed at well-visited parts of the Shuswap will create awareness of the Secwépemc traditional territory.

“This initiative is another way for Secwépemc to create more awareness of our presence within our traditional territory. The sculptures can be a collaboration between Secwépemc and settler artists, and the mountain names in both Secwépemc and English will showcase Secwépemc language to the visiting tourists and locals alike,” said Adams Lake Band Coun. Shelley Witzky.

Financial support for the project was provided by the province of B.C., the Adams Lake, Neskonlith and Splatsín bands, Shuswap Tourism, the Shuswap Trail Alliance and the City of Salmon Arm.

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