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Walk to Musqueam

Flags adorn the entrance of Musqueam.
The Runner by Debra Sparrow

We were lucky today was such a beautiful day for our walk to Musqueam to view decorations created by two Musqueam members. At the entrance of the reserve (Crown St. and Stautlo Ave.), Debra Sparrow has designed a modern day Coast Salish monument of The Runner. The Runner was the person who kept watch for the Nation and would run through the village alerting the community of people approaching their territory. A plaque placed at the feet of The Runner  states "The spirit of our ancestors moves through the open spaces of our runner. He carries the knowledge and history of our people....he whispers to them...generation to generation."  This monument is another example of how people use decorations to tell stories.

Next we looked at a house post carved by Dave Louis Jr. The Coast Salish people do not carve totem poles but rather house posts that traditionally would adorn the interior entrance ways of the each respective family long house.  The house posts would commemorate an event, person,   family or a welcome figure greeting guests.  Many of the art forms of the Coast Salish people were personal to each individual or his/her family. 

House post by Dave Louis Jr.
The children were in awe of the height of this house post. It's interesting to note that prior to seeing the house post some children felt that totem poles and house posts were not decoration because of the lack of colour.  Seeing the house post in real life as opposed to a photograph changed the opinion of these children as they considered this house post a decoration. The children noted the carving of the figures on the post made it a decoration even though it was not brightly coloured.

This walk was quite the adventure today.  When we arrived back at the centre, the children were very hungry and tired.  It was one of the quietest lunches we have had at the centre!


  1. Hi Deb,
    I LOVE the idea of the history of the people whispering through the runner. I wonder how history whispers through each of us. I'm going to think of that tonight as I call forth my long line of Irish story-telling relatives.
    Thanks for taking the children on such a rich exploration of their community. I hope they'll visit it again and I wonder if they could do a large drawing of themselves in a running position and then make the spaces...the parents could tell the histories and blow them through the spaces.

  2. I love the idea of the drawing! What a great connection to one another.


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