Whistler ‘Peak 2 Peak’ Gondola to receive traditional welcome figure from local Squamish Nation carver

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 23, 2010 1:47 pm

Tomorrow, The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre(SLCC) in Whistler will see their master carver Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) begin the process of carving of a traditional Salish Welcome Figure to be placed near the world-famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola Station as a continuation of the Cultural Journey Sea to Sky up Whistler Mountain. The carving is a joint project by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and the SLCC to increase the profile of Aboriginal Tourism in the region.

All individuals are welcome to visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler’s Upper Village to meet the carver, assist him in his carving and gather some of shavings as mementos from their experience. The welcome figure is expected to be placed in the Whistler Alpine in August, 2010.

Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) is a renowned Squamish Nation carver. He has been an influential figure to many of the younger carvers and area youth of both the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. His carving will be a traditional Salish Welcome Figure of a man with hands held open while also incorporating some of the key elements of Whistler Blackcomb. Xwalacktun said “I enjoy the opportunity to meet people as I carve and look forward their participation and questions about my work”.

“The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is very excited to provide a grant that will help support the Cultural Journey hosted by the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations,” says Dave Brownlie, President of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. “A prominent spot for the completed Welcome Figure on Whistler Mountain will culminate the Cultural Journey. The structure will also provide an additional avenue for guests to learn more about the great significance and contributions of the Squamish and Lil’wat people in this region.”

The Cultural Journey program was made possible through support from the Shared Legacies Agreement with the Province of British Columbia and in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation.