Tara Bowie Isha Jules works on the mural going up on Highway 3A near Green Mountain Road.

Activists use art to convey their message

Activists building tiny homes along Kinder Morgan pipeline also creating mural on Green Mountain Rd

The words, ‘No more stolen sisters,’ now greets drivers along Highway 3A between Penticton and Keremeos.

The message is almost impossible to miss, even with scaffolding still in front of it. The phrase is painted in giant, blue, block letters with a yellow background.

“This is about all women, not just missing and murdered Aboriginal women, but all women,” Uthlxanica Kenoras said on his property. ‘The violence against women is the same thing as the violence against the land.”

The billboard is located on Kenoras’ property near Green Mountain Road.

For the last few days Kenoras, his niece Mayuk Manuel and muralist Isha Jules have worked on the large billboard. Mayuk Manuel is the daughter of Arthur Manuel, longtime Indigenous Rights activist and founder of the National Indian Brotherhood, the precursor to the Assembly of First Nations. He died in January 2017.

Related: Rights activist and former B.C. chief Arthur Manuel dead at 66

Arthur Manuel helped pen the 2015 award winning book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake Up Call, Between the Lines which he co-wrote with Grand Chief Ron Derrickson. He was also the spokesman for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade.

Brought up in an activist family, Mayuk has been involved in countless rallies, protests, activist organizations and blockades. Her and her sister Kanahus Manuel spent time in jail after protesting the expansion of Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops in 2001.

After finishing the mural on Highway 3A she is headed back to Secwepemc territory near Chase B.C. to work alongside her sister and many others on a tiny house build along the Kinder Morgan pipeline. She explains the concept is to build 10 tiny houses on unceded Secwepmc territory in the vicinity of the pipeline extension. The Secwepemc territory is the largest indigenous territory the pipeline will cross.

The group, called Tiny House Warriors, is working with Greenpeace on the project.

“We’ve always used this land. We’ve occupied this land. The process to allow this doesn’t include Indigenous people. A few chiefs decide to go ahead, but we don’t have a say. We need to say, ‘No,’ to projects that are going to destroy the land.”

Her role in the build is to create murals on all the buildings. The first is dedicated to the salmon.

“Salmon are important for our people all people. They’re one of those key species. If there is something wrong with the salmon, there is something wrong with our land.”

Before she leaves to continue the fight against Kinder Morgan and pipelines, she is focussed on finishing the mural project. One side depicts Coyote, the land and teachings from her culture. The other side, including the words, ‘No more stolen sisters,’ has garnered more attention.

“People have stopped to talk about women they’ve known that had disappeared or hurt. This is powerful. It’s a trigger for them. It brings up a lot of emotion,” she said.

Every few minutes, the sound of a passing vehicle’s horn reminds the painters there is support for these kinds of projects. There has been some intimidation and profanities yelled from people on motorcycles who she said appeared at times to be driving in circles around the site.

“It’s strange,” she said. “All we can think is that they are part of the sex trade. This is a border community.”

Plans later this year include heading south into the U.S. near the Mexican border and painting a similar mural here. As well, there are also plans underway to paint a mural across the highway from the one near Green Mountain Road.

“These can be very powerful. It’s a good way to get you message out there. We used pictographs at one time, now we use these,” she said.

 

Tara Bowie Isha Jules, left, and Uthlxanica Kenoras work to smooth out the middle of the boards for a mural going up on Highway 3A.

Just Posted

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan set to kick off

Popular event kicks off in Kelowna with a sold out launch party

Kelowna’s Capri-Landmark plan could carry big price-tag

City council told the ‘preferred’ concept plan could cost as much as $100 million over next 22 years

Okanagan nurse assists Rohingya refugees

Crystal Grymaloski volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse disaster response mission in Bangladesh

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

West Kelowna council to debate its 2018 budget

Going into the day-long meeting, the proposed budget calls for a three per cent tax increase

Kelowna artist creates fundraiser for a friend

Artist Laurie Koss was inspired by her friend’s cancer battle to help her keep fighting

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

Jodi Moskal discovered the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club continues to ban women as members, as it has done since opening in 1909.

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management department sent a mistaken warning

Toronto girl dies after being pinned between vehicles while picked up from school

Police say an SUV with no driver in it rolled forward and pinned the girl against her father’s car

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Penticton bookkeeper may face jail time for embezzlement

Sentencing stances ranged from three years of probation to six months in jail for $60k embezzlement

Most Read