Salish Welcoming by Joe WilsonSalish Welcoming by Joe Wilson
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Salish Welcoming

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This welcoming figure represents a human with two thunderbirds on each side. The concept of the design originates from two different spindle whorls, one from where I come from (Cowichan) and one from the Vancouver area, which has two thunderbirds. The spindle whorls were used in post-contact era to spin mountain goat wool, which our people wove into beautiful blankets to clothe ourselves. Symbolically, the Thunderbird was considered a protector of the people and one of the most powerful spirit beings of the supernatural realm. Our people searched for these different powers through physical and mental deprivation from food, water and human contact spending many days in the mountains. Usually at the age of “maturity”, searching for a spirit helper or power through visions was very common. Once accomplished, they retreated home to a ceremonial welcoming, to be blessed by the villages shaman or medicine man. Happy to have found their place in the community knowing that if they ask their new found helper, they can become better at whatever it is that they do, whether it be hunting, fishing etc. for the man to basket or wool weaving for the women. The human figure in this picture can also be seen as saying “thank you”, or “hay chqa” with hands raised and palms facing towards you. This is a warm way to welcome your visitors in out Salish culture.

Artwork Information

Location Canada
Region Northwest Coast
Artist Joe Wilson
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2006
Dimensions 11 1/2" x 22"
Materials & Edition serigraph edition 200

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