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Three house posts to be blessed in Port Moody on National Indigenous People's Day

A public event to bless three house posts for the In the Presence of Ancestors project is on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody. Register via
Tasha Faye Evans at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, where three house posts will be blessed on June 21, 2023. The public event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes a salmon feast, performances and a blessing ceremony.

If you stand at Rocky Point Park or Old Orchard Park in Port Moody, you can scan the full horseshoe of Port Moody Inlet.

It’s the place where nature lovers walk and wildlife thrive.

But for hundreds of past years, it was the place where First Nations lived and played.

Their stories and songs are held deep inside the trees, rocks and ground, the Indigenous people say.

And it’s time that their legacy be honoured in a meaningful way.

A few years back, Port Moody resident Tasha Faye Evans launched a project called In the Presence of Ancestors, designed to recognize the Coast Salish that once frequented the area.

On Wednesday, June 21 — on the first day of the summer solstice, as well as National Indigenous People’s Day — three house posts carved for the Ancestors project will be blessed at Rocky Point Park in a traditional ceremony.

It’s hoped the trio will be raised later this year, dotted around the Port Moody Inlet so that viewers can feel the First Nations’ spirit and acknowledge the unceded, occupied, ancestral and traditional lands of the Kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

The first house post to go up will be from Tsleil Waututh artist Zachary George; his “Grandmother’s Prayer” will be installed close to the Boathouse restaurant, near the park pier.

Next will be Kwantlen member Brandon Gabriel’s “Spirit of Kwikwetlem” that will be placed near the park playground. His red cedar log, which he worked on with Dené/Cree artist Jonas Bige and Kwikwetlem Elders and youth, came from the Coquitlam watershed, where the Kwikwetlem First Nation once had its winter village before the Coquitlam dam erased it.

And Chrystal Sparrow carved a Musqueam house post that will rise around Old Orchard Park; hers tells the story of women weaving.

In a few years, the circle will be complete with Xwalacktun OBC’s house post to represent the Squamish Nation presence while Damian George is honouring the Katzie First Nation.


In the lead up to the June 21 blessing, Ancestors project members and the Port Moody Ecological Society held free workshops for the public:

  • Aaron Nelson Moody spoke about ceremony protocols
  • Priscilla Omulo had a gift making session making cedar rose broaches
  • Cease Wyss put on an Indigenous teas event
  • Kerry Baisler offered community gifts and salve making

They, along with the workers and artists, will be recognized at next Wednesday’s gathering with a blanket wrap: over one shoulder for the workers, over both shoulders for the artists (to close their work).

Members of Port Moody’s St. John the Apostle Anglican Church and the Inlet United Church knitted 18 blankets for the ceremony, Evans said.

The event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. by the bandshell at Rocky Point Park, will also see a community art project by PoMoArts and a book sale by Kinder Books.

There will be a free feast, too: Tracy Green of the Mossom Creek Hatchery has secured 450 pieces of Pacific salmon, donated by Canfisco Group, for the public to enjoy before the celebration begins. Attendees are asked to bring meal kits (plate, cup and utensils) and a blanket or lawn chair.

“I think it’s a day to think about the relationship we have with the land and to think about Truth and Reconciliation,” Evans said.

“It’s a day for the community to witness these blessings so that they can also carry the story in their hearts and share the story with others.”

She added, “Knowing that this land has a history, knowing that our ancestors worked on the lands since time immemorial… you look around and you don’t see us, but we are very much in the presence of our ancestors. The land holds stories of the original caretakers. I invite non-First Nations to recalibrate themselves with the legacy of caregiving because we are also the ancestors of the next generation.”

To learn more about the In the Presence of Ancestors project and the June 21 blessing ceremony, or to make a donation, visit