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Big House Post

Xwalacktun, Rick Harry
Year: 2017
  • Sculpture
  • Wood
Status: In Place


This carving is a huge houspost with natural elements and creatures installed at the Cheakamus Centre. At around four metres, it is full of Coast Salish symbolism. The top is an eagle with wings almost akimbo, protecting a person; just below them is the Coast Salish Eye, a well-known design that has been adopted as a symbol by the District of Squamish. The eagle represents The One (Great Spirit) watching and seeing; the Coast Salish eye represents “seeing beyond,” or inward vision. On the eagle’s wing is a feather and a flame. Whistler’s Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre donated the cedar trunk used, with the cost of the pole covered by a grant from the Squamish Arts Council. The Big House teaches visiting youngsters about Squamish Nation culture and stories. Xwalacktun has a longstanding relationship with it, having designed it in 1983, when he was 25.

Artist Statement

The feather symbolizes healing and the truth, the feather is used in talking circles, passed around when you want to share your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The flame symbolizes the healing and it is from the design of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission logo, I just made it into my own style. The protected human holds its hands out in the sign of O’Siyam, which means “thank you” in the Squamish language. It is for finally recognizing the past. As the generations go through, we’re going to get through this and pass it on, so we raise our hands in a thank-you gesture. Below this are two salmon, representing balance for humans and the Earth, a tribute to the Cheakamus Centre, previously known as the North Vancouver Outdoor School, an education facility that has brought thousands of children to the banks of the Cheakamus River.Balance is what the outdoor school is all about, thinking about the balance and teaching the young ones about that. At the bottom of the pole is a wolf to symbolize family. It shows we all have to work together to move forward. The pole is crowned by a large butterfly to represent the changes that are coming.”

Xwalacktun, also known as Rick Harry, is a descendant of Squamish and Kwakwak’wakw ancestry. He creates native art that bridges the past, present, and future, echoing the traditions of his ancestors. With a deep spiritual connection, he collaborates with clients to infuse each piece with personal narratives, breathing life into his creations.

Specializing in Coast Salish style, Xwalacktun seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary expression, catering to a diverse clientele from individuals to corporations. His artworks transcend decoration, becoming cherished treasures and iconic landmarks.

He has adorned prestigious locations with his commissioned works, from intricately carved doors at B.C. Hydro and the University of Victoria First People’s House to striking sculptures at the Audan Museum in Whistler. His craftsmanship has earned accolades including the Georgie Award in 2002 and the Arthur G. Hayden Medal at the 31st Annual International Bridge Conference Awards.

Driven by a commitment to excellence and cultural preservation, Xwalacktun continues to push boundaries in native art, leaving an indelible mark on both the artistic landscape and the communities he serves.


1600, Paradise Valley Road, Squamish, British Columbia, V0N 1H0, Canada.

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