The button blanket hanging in the boardroom of the Office for Aboriginal Peoples at Simon Fraser University was created in 2010 by Heiltsuk-Cree artist and elder, Mia Hunt (Thàqvailh). It represents a traditional West Coast longhouse, with the “walls” and the smoke/light hole clearly evident. The eagle/mountain/circle figure in the middle of the blanket was specifically designed in 2010 as a logo for the Office for Aboriginal Peoples. The design is that of an Eagle with two abstracted U-forms representing Burnaby Mountain. The Eagle is a highly respected creature amongst First Nations people. It often symbolizes honor, strength, and wisdom. The soaring Eagle's beak and tongue overlap with the mountain.
Aboriginal Artwork in the Office for Aboriginal Peoples
Baby alpaca fur rugs are made by hand in a thousand year old tradition in Peru, South America. The artisan combines the warmth of natural furs with modern motives and designs. They can be used as a rug, a bedspread, or wall hanging. The baby alpaca fur rug hanging in the Office for Aboriginal Peoples (OAP) at Simon Fraser University was purchased by the current Director of the OAP, William G. Lindsay (Cree-Stoney), from Indigenous makers in Cusco, Peru in 2003. The multi-colored fur depicts a sunrise over the beautiful Andean Mountains. In the foreground an Indigenous shepherd plays his Peruvian flute while adult alpacas or lamas stand to the left.
An inukshuk could serve as a marker for fishing. This inukshuk would be placed at an equal distance from the shoreline to where the fish could be found in a lake. A food cache could also be marked by an inukshuk although in this case, the figure would be more like a neat pile of stones without arms or legs. Occasionally, an inukshuk functioned as a spiritual or sacred object. Large inuksuit built on hill tops were also used to mark the territory of Inuit family groups. The serpentine inukshuk currently on display in the office was purchased from the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Ltd.
The Métis flag was first used by Métis resistance fighters in Canada prior to the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. The flag is either blue or red with a white infinity symbol superimposed on top. The blue flag is used to associate the Métis employees of the North West Company, while the red represents the Métis who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company (Anglo-Métis). The symbol represents the mixing of the European immigrants and the First Nations peoples, which creates a new and distinct culture, the Métis. The blue background flag has been accepted by the Métis National Assembly as the official flag of the Métis Nation of Canada. The white infinity symbol on the flag represents the faith that the Métis culture shall live on forever. It can also be perceived as two conjoined circles, standing for the unity of two cultures, First Nations and European. The Office for Aboriginal Peoples (OAP) at Simon Fraser University wishes to thank the Métis Nation of B.C. for providing the Métis flag currently on display in the OAP.