Volunteers set up a billboard created by the Rethink 150: Indigenous Truth Collective which aims to create a dialogue about Canada’s history, Saturday, June 17 at the north end of Duck Lake. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News Volunteers set up a billboard created by the Rethink 150: Indigenous Truth Collective which aims to create a dialogue about Canada’s history, Saturday, June 17 at the north end of Duck Lake. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Indigenous group’s billboard criticizes Canada 150

Billboards near Kelowna offer a different perspective on Canada celebrations

A billboard stands at the north end of Duck Lake in Kelowna, presenting powerful images of an alternative perspective to the Canada 150 celebrations planned for this year

The vision shows Okanagan/Syilx peoples forming the land with their bodies, a medicine wheel rests on a man’s shoulder, a tall ship represents the encroaching colonialists, oil runs through the waters and flames lick at a church in the background.

Bears and salmon sit on the outer edge of the board and at the bottom lies the words “Rethink 150: Indigenous Truth.”

Two billboards were created by members of the Rethink 150: Indigenous Truth Collective and have been erected in the the Okanagan to foster reconciliation between Syilx/Okanagan people and non-indigenous Canadians.

The first billboard was unveiled in May on a Lower Similkameen Indian Band reserve near Keremeos.

The second can be seen on Highway 97 at the north end of Duck Lake near Kelowna, on Okanagan Indian Band reserve land and was placed Saturday, June 17.

The artist who created the design, Crystal Przybille, grew up in the Okanagan. But she wasn’t aware of the indigenous history before she began researching a previous historic sculpture.

“Part of my research for that sculpture brought me to a sort of raised awareness of the problematics of settlement, of colonialism and of indigenous culture that was here in the valley,” she said.

The research led her to the Westbank First Nation, and then to a connection with the indigenous truth collective.

Przybille wants to create a dialogue with the billboards, showing the marginalization of indigenous peoples amid the celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday.

“For a whole culture of people it was an incredibly painful 150 years and let’s think about that,” she said.

The image was developed through conversations with the Syilx people and the collective, determining what 150 years means to them, she said.

Dixon Terbasket is a member of the Syilx Okanagan tribe and the Rethink 150 Collective. Terbasket and his family wanted to bring the dark history of Canada and its aboriginals to light.

“Here in the Okanagan it’s a little different, it’s harder to see. We’re urbanized, we’re surrounded by the settlers, for lack of a better term,” he said. “(But) there’s a lot of things we have on reserves. People are poor, they have health issues. People say ‘why don’t you just get over it?’ (or call us lazy.) I’ve worked hard all my life.

“There’s so many things that haven’t been told; the history of the Okanagan people itself.”

The billboards are supposed to make people think, he said, adding he hopes people will be curious about the billboard, with its visual message, and start asking questions.

“It’s made to make to make you uncomfortable if you know the history. You can see the anguish and despair in those faces,” said Terbasket.

The billboard will stand for two months on the side of highway. Northbound traffic have a chance to see it before they enter Lake Country. The collective has been developing the project since January, which was created through fundraising efforts.

Just Posted

Terrace to Hazelton bus service launched

First trip of BC Transit’s latest inter-community route set for Nov. 20

Snowfall warning issued for Terrace

Environment Canada expects up to 30cm by this evening

UPDATE: One injured in collision near Onion Lake

The semi truck and van collided between Terrace and Kitimat at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 15.

Housing proposed for street homeless

City-owned land close to being developed into 52 units of transitional housing

Mo Sista wears it proud

Mustachioed Kara Weeber standing in solidarity with Movember Bros

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey, White Rock

Most Read