The logo for the World Rowing Coastal Championships is called “Orca Spirit,” and features a family of orcas. (Archie Andrew/WRCC)

The logo for the World Rowing Coastal Championships is called “Orca Spirit,” and features a family of orcas. (Archie Andrew/WRCC)

World rowing competition, bound for Sidney, features strong Indigenous connections

This October, the spirit of the orca will be front and centre at the World Rowing Coastal Championships (WRCC). For the first time, the International Rowing Federation (known by their French acronym, FISA) chose Sidney instead of Europe and South America, and the local organizing committee wanted a strong local connection. That meant including the four local First Nations who are hosting the event on their traditional territory.

Marla Weston, regatta manager for the WRCC, said the connection began in June when she asked the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School whether they could rent their space for a banquet.

“I was actually out on a bike ride and wondered if there was space at the tribal school that we could hold some of our events,” said Weston. She spoke to the receptionist, Denise Sam, who she called “an amazing connection” to have between the rowing championship organizers and the local nations.

“We just started sharing and chatting about what their needs were and what we could provide here from the local community,” said Sam.

RELATED: World Rowing Coastal Championships coming to Sidney

When searching for an artist to create their logo, Sam ultimately put Weston in touch with artist Archie Andrew, who was once a student at the school. Sam said Andrew helped carve the welcome totem in front of the Saanich Adult Education Centre with Bear Sam, another former student. Sam knew Andrew for years because they grew up together. “He’s kind of one of those hard-working artists that doesn’t get the recognition I feel,” said Sam.

The organizers wanted something orca-related, and it turns out Andrew had a work-in-progress that fit the bill. The work, which features an orca family on a blue background, immediately resonated with the organizers.

In an interview, Andrew said his work, “Orca Spirit,” was started “a long time ago,” and was inspired by a family of orcas he saw while fishing in Pedder Bay in Metchosin. He photographed the family and used them for reference.

“You can feel them, right, when they pass you? They’re pretty close to me. You can feel their presence. That’s what inspired me to paint that,” said Andrew.

Andrew said he had been drawing since his elementary school years, but did not take it seriously until his 20s, when he started selling his work. He ran into Chief Floyd Joseph (a hereditary chief of the Squamish band) while at the local tribal school, who told him he needed two volunteer apprentices. Andrew volunteered, and began by sanding and following Joseph’s instructions.

“So I picked up a knife too, and that’s how it started.”

Andrew said he tries hard to find his own style, but has taken inspiration from his mentor’s colouring system. Black and red colours, said Andrew, refer to the past, and other colours like blue and yellow refer to the present or future. Andrew visits his mentor still, and he watches him work on his paintings, carvings, and jewelry.

Andrew will have his work for sale at the championships, as will other local artists and artisans from local First Nations, which Weston said would expose their work to an international audience. The logo will be featured on the WRCC letterhead and limited edition posters. The logo will also be featured on buffs (circular bandanas) that identify volunteers (T-shirts were deemed not warm enough for October.)

Current tribal school students will also get their chance to shine, as Grade 4 and 5 students will welcome the rowers with dancing and singing on the evening of Oct. 11. Their inclusion is special for Sam because they are the first group of students to have been in a SENĆOŦEN immersion program since they entered the school at age 3. They drum each morning on the longhouse on the grounds, which Sam said is “the best part of my day.” Sam said she was thankful that an event of this size was open to as much local community involvement as possible. The promotional video was even narrated by Tsartlip elder STOLȻEȽ (John Elliott).

The WRCC, which expects 400 international athletes to race in Sidney’s Bazan Bay, will take place Oct. 11-14.



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

 

Marla Weston, regatta manager for the World Rowing Coastal Championships, stands with artist Archie Andrew and his work, “Orca Spirit”. (Provided)

Marla Weston, regatta manager for the World Rowing Coastal Championships, stands with artist Archie Andrew and his work, “Orca Spirit”. (Provided)

Just Posted

Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich is calling for witnesses after its large metal gate was stolen overnight on Monday, Jan. 18. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Rural Saanich farm reports large metal gate stolen

Muddy Valley Farm gate stolen overnight by ‘at least two people’

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Dallas Road

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

Most Read