November 01, 2015

Ust'am (Witness) the Black Eagle Canoe

The Bill Reid Centre would like to say a big thank you to everyone who pitched in to make our witnessing ceremony come togeather. It was truly a wonderful and memorable event!

The ceremony was held on the Burnaby campus on Oct. 21, 2015 to witness the Black Eagle’s installation outside under the northeast corner of the Academic Quadrangle. The fiberglass canoe is a replica of famed dugout canoe Loo Taas (wave eater), which Reid and his assistants carved from a 750-year-old cedar tree for Expo ’86. It was the first such canoe to be carved on the Northwest Coast in more than 100 years.

The move of Black Eagle to the Burnaby campus was part of SFUs 50th Anniversary legacy project. The canoe’s journey from the collection of Canada’s national museum, to VanDusen Garden in Vancouver, and finally to SFU, was arranged by George MacDonald, founding Director of the Bill Reid Centre at SFU. This remarkable journey, spanning more than 5 years, was made possible due to the dedication and generosity of Charles and Gayle Pancerzewski. 

In the words of SFU's President Andrew Petter,  “Bill Reid’s Black Eagle canoe represents the resiliency, creativity and vitality of Northwest Coast canoe cultures. We are honoured to become stewards of this canoe and to share what it represents with our students and the communities we serve."

The Georgia Straight wrote a great summary of the event that can be seen here:

All photographs by Greg Ehlers, Simon Fraser University