Lieutenant Governor visits Yuquot with surprise artifact | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

Lieutenant Governor visits Yuquot with surprise artifact

Yuquot (Friendly Cove)

Mowachaht Tyee Ha’wilth Mike Maquinna welcomed British Columbia’s head of state, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, to Yuquot (Friendly Cove), generally acknowledged as the birthplace of the province.

The Mowachaht contingent set off for the visit from Gold River at about noon on Friday, May 1, well in advance of the 3 p.m. expected arrival of the official visit. By water taxi it takes a good hour or so to get to the site. Among the group were Ha’wilth Pat James and singers and dancers, as well as representatives of the Jack family.

Lt.-Gov. Guichon sailed into the territory on the Coast Guard ship Tanu. From there, she took a zodiac and made her way to the dock. The singers sang a song and Guichon was welcomed to the territory and made their way to the church, which houses historical artifacts, including house poles and the stained glass windows presented to the Mowachaht in 1957 by Spain. They commemorate the Nootka Convention Conference of 1792. Spain and Britain were at odds at the time over the trading rights to the resources of the territory.

After an exchange of gifts, those traveling with Lt.-Gov. Guichon unveiled a book printed in 1784, which contained drawings made by the artist who travelled with Captain James Cook. He had visited the territory three times, and the artist depicted the longhouse that was situated in Yuquot at the time, as well as some of the people encountered there.

It is hoped that when the Mowachaht are ready and have built their cultural interpretive centre, that the book can be presented to them to be housed there. Guichon had also brought with them a book of Cook’s diary entries about his travels to the territory.

Ray Williams, head of the lone family that currently lives in Yuquot, was happy to then show the lieutenant governor around, including a look at an old totem pole that was carved in 1921 for one of Guichon’s predecessors. The pole is going to ground now, and Williams hopes to have it replicated. It represents the work of carvers from 10 longhouses.

Guichon also took time to visit the carving shed of Sanford Williams (Ray’s son), who created the Welcome Figure that looks out over the Pacific at Yuquot. Sanford was painting a totem he was creating from yellow cedar and took time with the lieutenant governor to discuss his work.

The day ended at the welcome pole.

Maquinna told the lieutenant governor she was welcome back to Yuquot at any time, and she, in return, told the chief that whenever he visits Victoria he is welcome to stop in for tea.

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