The dugout canoe is an integral part of Northwest Coast society. It is a sophisticated art form and a symbol of cultural identity.
The ceremony to witness the Black Eagle’s installation was held on Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus on October 21, 2015 at the northeast corner of the Academic Quadrangle. The fiberglass canoe is a replica of famed dugout canoe Loo Taas (Wave Eater), which Bill Reid and his assistants carved from a 750-year-old cedar tree for Expo ’86 hosted by Vancouver, B.C. It was the first Haida ocean going 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 SFU's 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 Dr. George MacDonald, founding director of the Bill Reid Centre at SFU. This remarkable journey, spanning more than five 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 Bill Reid Centre would like to thank everyone who pitched in to make our witnessing ceremony come togeather. It was truly a wonderful and memorable event!
Read more about the Black Eagle canoe and ceremony in The Georgia Straight.
All photographs by Greg Ehlers, Simon Fraser University.