Ts’zil sign installed on the Friendship Trail invites us to re-approach “familiar” landmarks

Last year, Amanda Walker and I had a chat, the kind of chat that sends sparks of ideas flying left right and centre. I didn’t realize at the time that she was a spark-collector. That she was the kind of person who gathered up sparks and kindling and tucked them into sheltered places and turned them into things.

Wouldn’t it be cool, I was saying, as we talked about literacy, and the Whistler Pemberton Literacy Table, if we developed our community’s literacy of relationship and connection and story and place? Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a sculpture walk? And somehow Amanda grew that into: Wouldn’t it be cool if we had signs along the Friendship Trail that helped us locate ourselves inside a long story?

And then she was off, walking the trail and having the conversations that make things happen, talking with the Mayor, finding a writer, partnering with the SLCC, commissioning a designer, writing letters, securing permissions, inviting people into the unfolding story, and now, at the corner of Airport Road, on the Friendship Trail between Pemberton and Mt Currie, there is a sign that is designed to help us, as all good signs are meant, to find our way.

I want to circle back to this story, and centre Georgina Dan, who wrote the words that bring this sign to life, and took it to her elders at the Language and Culture Authority, because I am frankly in awe of this young women and her strong heart, but while we work towards that conversation, I wanted to share this sign with y’all, that I rode by the other day and that made my heart leap a little bit.

There are so many stories behind the names of things. There are so many more stories than one single story. Let us embrace the complexity of that, and lean in to listen to all the takes and truths. Because every thing is true, to someone, and maybe the “best” truth is that one that is built from bringing all our truths together, like pieces of a puzzle, and puzzling some fine shape from it.

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