Steven Point, British Columbia’s first aboriginal lieutenant govdenror, is carving a piece of red cedar into an inland river canoe. He wants to launch it this month, and then donate it back to the people of the province as an example of a First Nations canoe, the Times Colonist of British Columbia reports here:
The launch ceremony will mark the culmination of hundreds of hours of work since Point, 58, found the old block of cedar while walking on Ross Bay beach last November.
The ends of the log had already been shaped into points and it looked like someone had tried to carve it, said Point. His brother, an experienced carver, pegged the wood at between 500 and 800 years old, meaning the work could have started before Christopher Columbus discovered the so-called New World.
He’s being mentored in his work by First Nations master carver Tony Hunt Sr., who carves both totem poles and seafaring canoes.
“What I believe is that you’re guided, and when things come in and out of your life you should pay attention, because something good could happen,” Point tells the paper’s Rob Shaw.
In addition to his provincial post, Point has been chief of the Skowkale First Nation and tribal chairman of the Sto:lo Nation.
He’s named the canoe Shxwtitöstel, which means a safe place to cross the river – a metaphor for between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.