50th Anniversary Legacy Canoe Project

Release date:

Tag(s): Media

NORTH VANCOUVER B.C. February 19, 2019 – Capilano University President Paul Dangerfield is pleased to announce that master carver Ses siyam (also known as Ray Natraoro) will carve a ceremonial and sea-worthy canoe as a legacy of the University's 50th anniversary. The 30-foot-long canoe will symbolize the University's commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and will be carved on the campus, beginning next week.

"We are excited to see this canoe take shape on our campus," says Dangerfield. "Ses siyam is keen to share cultural teachings with the community as he carves. His contributions to indigenizing our University will be invaluable."

Ses siyam hails from seven generations of canoe carvers from the Squamish Nation.

"That was our family profession before [European] contact," says Ses siyam. "I thought this Legacy Project was a good opportunity to help document this canoe-carving culture."

"I am proud to see Coast Salish culture honoured in a prominent way as part of Capilano University's 50th anniversary," says Joel Cardinal, community engagement facilitator. "This project is meaningful to our Indigenous students, our campus community, to the First Nations whose traditional territories our campuses reside on and to those who live on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people."

Students in Capilano University's Indigenous Independent Filmmaking Program will share Ses siyam's teachings by filming a documentary about the carving process.

Latash Nahanee, an elder-in-residence at Capilano University who is also a carver, is eager to see the canoe project get underway.

"Capilano University is on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations," says Nahanee "The canoe legacy project is a step towards atonement for the harsh treatment of First Nations people in Canada. It sends a message that First Nations people are important and to be valued by Canadian society. The project is also going to be a great way to share our culture and our values with the world and by bringing people together in a good way, Canada can move forward."

"The shíshálh Nation is thrilled that Capilano University has taken the initiative to commission a traditionally carved Coast Salish canoe as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations," says Ashley Joe, employment/training and post-secondary manager for the shíshálh Nation on the Sunshine Coast. "This Legacy Canoe Project is an important step towards Truth and Reconciliation. We look forward to witnessing the transformation from tree to canoe."

Ses siyam will begin carving the canoe on an open lot next to the Bosa Building on the University's North Vancouver campus with completion anticipated this spring. The public are welcome to observe the carving process. For more information, please check legacy canoe project updates at capilanou.ca/50 or email indigenous@capilanou.ca.

A traditional awakening ceremony will be held to unveil the completed legacy canoe.

About Capilano University
Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. The University enrols more than 10,000 students each year and offers 101 programs, including bachelor's degrees in areas as diverse as film, jazz, early childhood education and tourism management. Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. Our campuses are located on the territories of the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Sechelt (shíshálh) Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Fiona Hughes

Submitted by: Fiona Hughes


Have questions?

Communications & Media Relations

Linda Munro