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

The Kelowna Rockets Down Under fan connection

Three bus loads of workers from around the globe gave the Rockets an edge Wednesday

Updated: Accused in Kelowna triple murder in court today

Jacob Forman has been in custody since he was arrested and charged with second degree murder

UBCO professor awarded research chair for work with egg industry

Nathan Pelletier’s looking to improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impact of egg industry

Stewart says experience counts in Kelowna West

With a provincial byelection now set for Feb. 14, we hear from the candidates involved

Big White hits record number of visitors

The resort welcomed 495 more Australian guests this year during the holiday period than last

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

UPDATE: Police launch website for unsolved murder of 13-year old B.C. girl

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

North Delta’s Colton Hasebe named BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child

Colton takes the reins from 2107 Champion Child and Tsawwassen resident Taylin McGill

LIVE: B.C. announces anti-racism funding

Ravi Kahlon said money will go to B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program

Dube, Foote pace Rockets to O.T. win

World junior gold medalists key in 4-3 victory Wednesday over Lethbridge

Most Read