This figure, carved by inmates at Mission Institution, stands next to the door of the women’s house at Seabird Island’s A:yelexw Centre for Hope and Healing. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

VIDEO: Seabird Island unveils welcome figures for recovery homes

The man and woman were carved by inmates at Mission Institution for the First Nation

Two cedar figures now welcome residents into Seabird Island’s A:yelexw Centre for Hope and Healing.

On Tuesday, April 30, Seabird Island unveiled its new carvings for the two recovery homes in the First Nation. The recovery homes have been operating on Seabird Island for two years, offering a place where Indigenous adults can go to deal with addiction.

“There’s lot of really different people out there to make this happen, and they know why we do these things is to help take care of the spirit of our people and help take care of things so they can get back grounded,” Seabird Island chief Clem Seymour said at the ceremony. “To help … them understand that they don’t walk alone.”

Seymour was a key partner in bringing the carved figures to the A:yelexw Centre, although he said he was “just the hands, and the feet, and the mouth that helped us get to where we’re at today.”

The carving project was a partnership between Seabird Island, Mission Institution and BC Timber Sales, which saw inmates at the correctional facility turn a donated cedar log into carvings of a man and woman, now standing in front of the male and female recovery homes.

For Matt Welick, who donated the wood from his property in the Tzeachten First Nation, the unveiling at the homes was a special moment.

“I was asked by BC Timber Sales and Clem for a cedar log, and I had no idea what it was for,” Welick said. “One that came to mind which seemed to meet the requirements they were looking for was a lonely piece of sitting that was sitting on my family’s property on Tzeachten.”

“The fact that it become welcome figures for these two beautiful homes is also a bit of a connection, because my dad went through a home like this,” he continued. “The fact it ended up here without me knowing exactly where it was going or how it ended up here is a bit of a special story for me.”

RELATED: Addressing trauma: Seabird Island’s recovery homes offer holistic approach to healing

Warden Shawn Huish also said the unveiling was an important one for Mountain Institution.

“Our job in corrections is public safety, and we do that by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens,” Huish said. “And that’s what this partnership with Seabird Island does.

“This gives our guys a sense of belonging and a sense to give back.”

Correctional facilities in the area have collaborated with Seabird Island in the past on other carvings — Huish worked on a project with Seabird Island while he was a Mountain Institution years ago, and came to the unveiling then as well.

“If you can give us the wood, we can do great things with it,” Huish said. “Clem, my hands up to you and to the community for allowing this work to take place.”

[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


This figure, carved by inmates at Mission Institution, stands next to the door of the men’s house at Seabird Island’s A:yelexw Centre for Hope and Healing. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Students at Seabird Island Community School sing during the ceremonial pole raising at Seabird Island’s A:yelexw Centre for Hope and Healing. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

The A:yelewx Centre for Hope and Healing on Seabird Island. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Just Posted

Homeless count is coming to the Fraser Valley to help track the numbers

Training Feb. 27 in Chilliwack to help volunteers adopt respectful and compassionate approach

Mya Onos gears up for B.C. Winter Games

The decorated speed skater starts competing Friday

REAL ESTATE: The affordability crisis within the BC land market

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks says new buyers are outside looking in with B.C.’s high market

UPDATE: ‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Woman in Fraser Health region confirmed as sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

New Alberta forward joins Vancouver Giants’ ranks

new left-handed 18-year-old is a familiar face to Giants head coach Michael Dyck

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Most Read