Ḥaa’yuups shares his knowledge of petroglyphs and ceremonial curtains on June 20 | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

Ḥaa’yuups shares his knowledge of petroglyphs and ceremonial curtains on June 20

Port Alberni, BC

On June 20, one day before National Indigenous Peoples Day, Ḥaa’yuups of Hupačasath will be sharing his knowledge of ‘Tlikuulth’s, also known as Sproat Lake, with a focus on petroglyphs and the progression of ceremonial curtains.

“I've been interested in painted screens, curtains, petroglyphs, [and] ceremony in a general sense since I was a boy,” shared Ḥaa’yuups. “I wanted to share some of what I've learned in over 50 years of studying.”

Ḥaa’yuups will be speaking of the petroglyphs at the mouth of Sproat Lake, a place where sockeye swimming upriver school and rest when they get to the lake, he said.

“The petroglyphs are in a location where…sockeye swimming upriver, get to the lake, they school and rest where the petroglyphs are,” said Ḥaa’yuups. “People greeted those fish, my ancestors greeted those fish and interacted with them in a ritual way.”

“That's significant, that's important, that was a key resource to my people, my own community,” he shared.

The Hupcasath elder finds that these petroglyphs relate to screens and curtains that are traditionally used during feasts and potlatches.

“The wall of petroglyphs at ‘Tlikuulth are about the size of ceremonial screens and curtains, so I thought, really that’s where our tradition of painted ceremonial crest, screens and curtains comes from,” he said.

During his presentation Ḥaa’yuups plans to share the progression of the wall of petroglyphs to cloth curtains.

“There were rituals done with the petroglyphs as a backdrop and today we go to feasts and potlatches and the painted screens and curtains are the backdrop, if you will, to our ceremonies and rituals,” shared Ḥaa’yuups.

He says that with the rich and longstanding history of creativity among First Nations, they were depicting images of local geography long before Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, known for their Canadian landscape paintings.

“I hope that people enjoy looking at the beauty of the things that I'm going to be talking on,” said Ḥaa’yuups.

He plans to share “treasures” that belong to the heads of houses, clans, and tribes.

“They're important to us and we’re the first people of this country, so maybe they can be important to other people too,” said Ḥaa’yuups. “These paintings should be important to anybody and everybody who lives here because they’re early, in a sense, timeless representations of this place where we live.”

The event will be held in the Dogwood room at Echo Centre on Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Port Alberni.

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