VANOC’s Aboriginal Graphics and Their Stories

Two core graphics created by Coast Salish artist Xwa lack tun (Rick Harry) provide the foundation for the Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program. These graphics depict legends of the Squamish people as told by Xwa lack tun below.

Surviving the Flood
In ancient times a great flood happened that threatened the survival of the Squamish people. The people banded together in canoes (all tied together, barge-like), and tied their canoes to En cheki (now called Mount Garibaldi) so they wouldn’t drift away. An eagle caught salmon and dropped the fish into the canoes, giving the Squamish people sustenance and ensuring their survival.

This story depicts the power of many working together. It also illustrates the power, connection and interdependence between man and nature.

- Xwa lack tun




The human hands at the top of the Thunderbird’s body are positioned in the “welcome” gesture given to guests by the Coast Salish people.

Sea to Sky

The bottom portion of the Thunderbird’s body contains images — an orca, a bear and the sun — representing the Sea to Sky region where the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be hosted. The Sea to Sky story is cradled by canoe paddles in the upright position, representing respect, peace and harmony.

The Thunderbird
The above stories are contained within the Thunderbird design. As a supernatural being, the Thunderbird is greater and stronger than all other creatures. The Thunderbird’s home is at the top of Black Tusk, where it sits and surveys the world. When it flaps its wings it creates high winds. As it blinks, lightning flashes across the sky. And as its wings collide, thunder explodes up and down the valley.

- Xwa lack tun

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