Hɛhɛwšɩn signs unveiled at Willingdon Beach
Above, from left: John Louie (yaχwum), Phil Russell (kʷʊnanəm) and Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ).
New signs have been unveiled in Tla’amin territory as a way to commemorate the Hɛhɛwšɩn carving project.
The six-panel sign on Willingdon Beach now sits on the spot where carvers worked with the public to shape two canoes in a process that began in 2017.
Hɛhɛwšɩn, meaning “the way forward,” is an initiative that officially began with the canoe carving but has encompassed a larger reconciliation initiative between Tla’amin and larger community.
The Hɛhɛwšɩn group led the sign project to commemorate the ongoing work and to give the nation a larger presence on the beach. The signs were unveiled in a ceremony on Nov. 17.
A statement from Hɛhɛwšɩn — led by Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ), John Louie (yaχwum), and Phil Russell (kʷʊnanəm) — said the sign project took two years to complete.
“The gathering at Willingdon Beach worked to raise awareness of the history of Tla’amin,” the statement said.
“Our non-Indigenous neighbors were invited to participate in this act of reconciliation.”
The signs include photos from the canoe carving process, information about the history of Willingdon Beach, a traditional place names map, a harvest calendar and a timeline about the history of Tla’amin post-contact.
“Our goal is to support the survivors and families and to fully understand the nature, causes and the extent of colonialism,” the statement said.