The land that UBC is situated on has long been a place of defense for the Musqueam. In the past, it was a fortified area known as q’ələχən, where Musqueam warriors and their families lived to protect the land from intruders.
On March 20, 2012, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends gathered with Musqueam representatives on the North side of Allard Hall for the ceremonial installation of the House Post of ‘qiyǝplenǝxʷ’ (Capilano), carved by Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow Jr.
The stately human figure, which watches over the Salish Sea, depicts an important Musqueam leader who maintained a fortified warrior outpost in this area. The original qiyǝplenǝxʷ, or Capilano, provided this protection like countless other Musqueam leaders over the centuries.
He also met the first Spanish and English ships that came to his people’s territory in the 1790s.
Musqueam Elder Larry Grant, who had opened the event by welcoming the public to the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people, reminded everyone that the Musqueam have never formally surrendered or given up the territory upon which the University sits.
Musqueam Councillor Wade Grant reflected on the history of First Nations people, who were once excluded from voting and higher education, saying the “post is seen as one that recognizes Indigenous laws and reconciling things that should have been done many years ago.”
Dean of Law Mary Anne Bobinski said the post symbolizes the “historic and ongoing relationship between the [Peter A. Allard School of Law] and the Musqueam people in the pursuit of Aboriginal justice and education.” She noted that the law school is regarded as a leader in Aboriginal legal education.
As to the prominent placement of the post, the Honourable Stephen Owen, then UBC’s Vice-President, External, Legal and Community Relations, said that there was “no better symbol of strength of relationship.”
Today, the qiyǝplenǝxʷ name is held by Musqueam Elder Howard E. Grant, who carries with it the important responsibilities of being both a leader and knowledge keeper.
Learn more about the Musqueam Welcome Post here.
Indigenous Art Series: Find out where you can view Indigenous art on campus and the story behind each piece by checking out this interactive map.