British Columbia is known for its totem poles. Examples of a less known artwork have surfaced in more recent years. Aborglyphs are carved into living trees. One was discovered a few years ago, two hundred kilometres north of Vancouver in the midst of a clearcut in Toba Inlet. The Klahoose Arborglyh has been moved to the band’s multipurpose building in Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island. Deep Roots story producer Roy L Hales interviewed Michelle Robinson and Ken Hanuse, from the Klahoose First Nation, and local historian Judith Williams about the arborglyph that survived into modern times.
Its almost 550 km from Squirrel Cove, on Cortes Island, to Puyallup, Washington by car, but centuries by canoe. In 1884 the Canadian Government joined in a conspiracy to destroy the canoe traffic that had been plying coastal waters, from Alaska to California, since the beginnings of oral tradition. First Nations people were restricted to their reserves and had had to obtain permission to leave. The reawakening started almost 30 years ago, in what has since become an annual event.A different nation hosts the gathering every year and this summer the gathering is at Puyallup. The Klahoose canoe Tl’emtl’ems left Squirrel Cove at 10 AM this morning.
There are good reasons that boaters are not allowed to dump chemicals, sewage and other debris in Carrington Bay, Cortes Bay, Gorge Harbour, Squirrel Cove, or Manson’s Landing. “[Cortes Island] has the best oysters in the area, [possibly] because it is supposed to have such pristine clean water,” says Julia Rendall, President of the 13 member Bee Islets Growers Corporation. She explained that violations “could close us down and if we are closed down I think we have to have three tests, three weeks in a row, clear. So it could, in theory, close you down for about a month.” Cortes Island’s unique environmental features resulted in the creation of several marine parks. Contamination is a concern for all islanders, whether they are shellfish harvesters or not. These areas are currently designated as “No Discharge Zones” under federal regulations. Never-the-less, violations periodically do occur and a recent incident illustrates the difficulties of trying to stop recreational boaters from polluting Cortes Islands protected areas.
From the beginning, Meinsje was been a prominent voice in Cortes Island’s artistic community. She taught art at the Linnaea school for fifteen years and is a director of the Old School House Art Gallery. Meinsje’s “Dream Caravan” dance troop, her performances at Cortes Island Lip Syncs and Cabarets, puppetry and paintings continue to captivate viewers. In this morning’s interview, Meinsje describes what it was like living between two worlds. Continue reading Living Between Two Worlds→