Paddling Together under the direction of shishalh weaver Shy Watters 

This weaving is based on the idea that the Salish Sea that connects us all. For Shy and Coast Salish peoples, the sea “is sacred to our survival as it provides us [with] food, provides us [with the] traditional highway of our ancestors, and connects us through our traditions to gather and potlatch with other nations.” 

As a result, the sea is central to Ms. Watters’ design, symbolic of what connects us to reconciliation. In the centre of her design is a cedar canoe. A yellow sun shines above it, with rays emanating out like paddles. The paddles represent “the past, which isn’t to be repeated; the present, where we are coming together now; and the future, where we need to paddle together for future generations so history isn’t repeated.’

The entire design is framed top and bottom with a blue and green ‘Salish Eye’ design, a common feature of shíshálh and Coast Salish weavings. This is followed by red cedar fringes, evocative of the lush cedar forests that rise above the Salish Sea. The red cedar used in the blanket will all be harvested from shishalh territory. The sacred blue and green of the eye reflect the colours of the pristine sea, “waters that are now at risk.”