February is the month to listen—to listen to the moon, to listen to the stories of nature, to listen to our oral history and to gain knowledge. The sculpture reflects a few of these stories etched in stone from our rivers, like stone libraries of knowledge.
A ‘Giant Shark’ lived in a cave in the deep waters outside of Hesquiaht. It was a great menace to our people who used the ocean waterways for fishing and travel. It was so huge that it swallowed canoes. A warrior accepted the task to rid the waters of the shark. After great preparation, he sought out the shark and killed it. In the same narrative as the shark, there is also a story of a great octopus that also attacked canoes and was successfully hunted by a Hesquiaht warrior.
The ‘Sea Serpent’ is a Hesquiaht story of a great flood that brought a tidal wave into the village. The ocean water came into the houses, including the home of an ancestor who was weaving a cedar rope. The sea serpent was carried on the wave into her house and surfaced into the ring of the cedar rope. This story was documented in the sea serpent dance and cedar bark is used to decorate the headdresses.
The ‘Killerwhale’ is a revered Hesquiaht story documenting the wolf ‘s ability to take the killerwhale form which carries the spirit of the wolf. Stories of these transformations are part of our family history and are vital in the cultural ceremonies of today
Tim is a Nuu-chah-nulth artist from Esperanza Inlet on Vancouver Island. He has held the position of First Carver at the Royal British Columbia Museum, where he oversaw numerous commissions for totem poles for international sites such as Wakefield Park and Yorkshire Park in England, Stanley Park in Vancouver, and in Auckland. He left this position to oversee a program focussing on Native education for the Port Alberni School Board and Vancouver Island.
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