Vancouver General Hospital raises house posts by First Nations artists

A house post carved by First Nations artist and Fulmer Award recipient, Xwalacktun, is on site at Vancouver General Hospital’s (VGH) Diamond Family Courtyard.  

As one of three house posts, meant to represent the three Nations on which VGH is based, Xwalacktun designed and created the symbol to represent the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nation. Local carvers Brent Sparrow Jr. of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Indian Band, and Zac George of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation carved the other two house posts on display.  

Meant to commemorate the strong ties the First Nations have to the lands, and to represent an important step of VGH’s larger journey towards reconciliation, Vivian Eliopoulos, CEO at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), said the house posts would be an “everyday reminder of VCH’s deep commitment to improving the care and health experiences of all Indigenous people in the region.” 

Each of the three posts express messages of health and well-being with the Squamish Nation house post telling the story of Xwech’taal, a Squamish hero who slew a serpent and earned the ability to heal others. “I create native art with a connection to the past, present and future like our ancestors did,” says Xwalacktun. 

Squamish Chief Ian Campbell who serves on the VGH’s Foundation’s Board of Directors recognizes the house post project as “a visible reminder that First Nations have strong ties to these lands and have been here for thousands of years. It’s time to celebrate that our history is your history and we can stand together in strength today.” 

The eye-catching art is one step forward in creating more accessible and culturally-sensitive health care services for all British Columbians. 

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