The two mountain peaks, known widely as the Lions in the west coast British Columbia, were never called that name before the arrival of foreigners. In precolonial time, the Squamish Nation had named the peaks “Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn” (translated as “Twin Sisters”) in remembrance of a peace treaty formed by rivalry nations, through intermarriage between two Squamish sisters and two Haida brothers. As the legend unfolded, the Great Transformers would eventually turn the sisters into the soaring landmarks for future generations to remember their act of bravery and selflessness.
Throughout history, storytelling through oral transmission has been an integral part of the life of First Nations. It plays an important role in the preservation of their cultural identity, traditional knowledge and collective memories. Mystic, wistful, gentle yet dignified, the story of the Twin Sisters was often retold by great orators including Chief Mathias Joe, who shared many ancient tales like this one with others. In response to the call for a public art at a neighbourhood park, in the namesake of the Squamish chief, we explore the First Nation people’s profound connection with the land through the silent art form of sculpture.
Commissioned by: City of North Vancouver
Project Team: Rebecca Bayer; Imu Chan
Collages, Photographs and Text by: Imu Chan
Constructed by: Toby’s Cycle Work
Location: North Vancouver BC