PHOTOS: Sto:lo community presents Agassiz church with house post

Members of the Sto:lo community bring in a house post to All-Saints Anglican Church in Agassiz on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Adam Louis/Observer)Members of the Sto:lo community bring in a house post to All-Saints Anglican Church in Agassiz on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Artist Luke Pike speaks before the All-Saints congregation. Pike is the artist behind the three-figure house post. (Adam Louis/Observer)Artist Luke Pike speaks before the All-Saints congregation. Pike is the artist behind the three-figure house post. (Adam Louis/Observer)
All-Saints Vicar Philip Barker and artist Luke PIke share an emotional moment following the house post ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Adam Louis/Observer)All-Saints Vicar Philip Barker and artist Luke PIke share an emotional moment following the house post ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Adam Louis/Observer)
The three-figure house post represents (bottom to top) a frog, a First Nations person and an eagle. (Adam Louis/Observer)The three-figure house post represents (bottom to top) a frog, a First Nations person and an eagle. (Adam Louis/Observer)

A symbol of friendship and reconciliation now stands at the front of a local church.

During the Sunday (Oct. 30) service at Agassiz’s All-Saints Anglican Church, members of the Sto:lo First Nation presented a house post to the church in a traditional ceremony.

Coast Salish artist Luke Pike (traditional name Swoli:u:se) carved the three-figure house post, representing a frog, a First Nations person and an eagle on top. He explained the frog symbolized a strong connection to the earth. The figure of the First Nation’s person in the middle bore scars, which represented deep wounds such as loss of identity and generational trauma. The would are deep but they are now scars, Pike explained, healing with time. In Sto:lo tradition, the eagle on top carries prayers to the Creator and is the connection of earth to heaven.

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“I want to put my hands up to the church here for initiating what was a tough conversation to start,” Pike said.

Per tradition, members of the church and the Sto:lo community shared a meal after the service.

Vicar Philip Barker was visibly emotional during the ceremony, pausing during his closing words to contain his tears.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk, but talk doesn’t get you anywhere,” he said. “We have to say we’re sorry but then we have to move forward, otherwise, we will continue to tear a scab off a healing wound. We don’t want to bleed anymore. We have to do a lot to learn to pick up that paddle and paddle in time with you.”

Between the church’s and the First Nations community’s conversation, raising money and preparing physically and spiritually, Barker said the house post has been a long time in the making.

“It’s taken a lot of time and prayer and effort on both sides,” he added. “I think this is just the most amazing thing.”


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adam.louis@ ahobserver.com

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