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Coquitlam City Millennium Project 2000

Artistic Director MARINA PAPAIS 

The above project was a Millennium Project for the City of Coquitlam and commissioned by then mayor Jon Kingsbury.  Besides working with Norman Tait, formost Nisga'a carver, Marina worked with most all students with participation from Aboriginal Ed, the Rivershed Society, Mossom Creek Salmon Enhancement Society, many teachers from Centennial Senior High including Daniel Collett,  and many other community members.  Students were engaged throughout the year not only to learn glass art and fully participate, but also to come to the creeks and learn about Salmon Enhancement first hand.  The experience was full ranging and included three very large ceremonies of hundreds of people who participated through drumming and singing and speaking of the benefits of taking care of our salmon and our rivers and our environment.  The year was a very productive year and in the end, the final product was assessed at a value of $100,000 even though most everyone volunteered their time to create the piece.  By encouragement of Daniel Collett, we made a second piece of art that now lives permanently at Centennial High School.  The piece itself stands seven feet tall by eleven feet wide.  The Eagle and Thunderbird carvings designed by Norman Tait and produced by himself and Robert Barratt and Lucinda Turner are stunning and probably now priceless since Norman's passing several years ago.

In 1999-2000 Marina worked with Centennial School and also with the Coquiltlam Mayor, Jon Kingsbury to create a millennium piece that would make the intentions going into the 21st century of learning to live peacefully with the environment, regarding it as sacred and the community as responsible for the seven generations to come.  Marina worked for one full year within a studio at the school, bringing in carving apprentices Lucinda Turner and Robert Barratt to help her friend Norman TaiT (formost Nis'sga artist of the past 500 years) to create a Legacy piece for the City of Coquitlam.

Marina worked with the Salmon Enhancement Program of Mossom Creek headed by Ruth Foster and Rod Mc. as well as the Rivershed Society headed by Fin Donnelly, the young man then who swam down the Fraser River twice to bring to attention the amount of pollution in the rivers, the Squamish Nation where Marina had been living, Dawne Yorke and Daniel Collett, photographer and woodworker from the School, and many others to create the large piece of art that finally graced the City Hall of Coquitlam

Norman and his carving crew at our studio in Centennial School 1999-2000

There are no finer carvers that Marina knows of and the privilege of working with Norman Tait and Lucinda Turner and Robert Barratt was beyond measure.  Her gratitude is forever.  Thank you.

The above pictures were taken at the final Potlatch at the Coquitlam City Hall June 2000.  It was a momentous ceremony complete with drumming and singing and gift giving and further sharings.  

Students and Community participated in the Potlatch in all ways.  The event was recorded and shown on local t.v. stations. Tequalum, shown below, blessed the ceremony in the traditional Shaker way.

Publicity from Tri-Cities Newspapers Circa 2000

Marina met Daniel During this Millennium Project, which involved Major contributions from Norman Tait, foremost Nisga'a Carver of the century and his carving crew Lucinda Turner and Robert Barratt. The project was a year long and included three large ceremonies, two presented at Centennial School and the third was a very large Potlatch at the Coquitlam City Hall, June 2000.  The City Hall ceremony was attended by many community members and the celebration was perhaps the largest every seen before.  Drumming and Singing and testimonies were provided by the Aboriginal Ed group which included community members from the village Marina lived in within the Squamish Nation.

The two main artists of the Millennium Project for Coquitlam Millennium

Glass Artist Marina Papais and foremost Nisga'a Carver Norman Tait

Norman and Marina shared a friendship through the work they both have done in the Native Arts Circles of British Columbia.  It was an honour and a priviledge to be able to work with Norman and his wonderful carving crew Lucinda Turner and Robert Barratt.  They shared their skills for months working on both pieces, one for Centennial School and the other for the Coquitlam City Hall.

Students working on the year long Coquitlam Millennium Project were not only taught glass art but also were given quite an extensive education on Salmon Enhancement.  We together went to Mossom Creek to visit the enhancement facilities which were founded by Ruth Foster and her partner Rod M.  Richard Baker of the Squamish Nation and also the Haida Nation further educated the students on site of the Hatchery

It is interesting to note that Daniel had designed the concrete forms and had his students build the amphitheatre the students are sitting on in the above pictures. The students gained a great deal not only from the enhancement program but from the traditional teachings surrounding the Salmon and the River. With first hand knowledge students were better able to understand their purpose in helping save the salmon through their art expressions.

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