Water Keeper

Water Keeper is a pole carved by Charles Elliott of the Tsartlip First Nation, a part of the Saanich subdivision of the Salish people who these days are centred on the Saanich peninsula within Greater Victoria. This pole is situated within the recent Dockside Green development on former industrial lands that had once been the site of a major Songhees village. The pole and associated signage commemorates this history, and you can find out more also at this link which discusses historic maps of this area. The location is on the west shore of the harbour between the Johnson and Bay Street Bridges and can be seen on the map that I keep of my posts about markers like this one that honour First Nations in the Victoria area.

I have previously featured the public art of Charles Elliott – he did the decorative bronze plaques on the Oak Bay Songhees history cairns which featured in a series of early posts on this blog. See the bottom of this post for a video about him.

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The video below is an interview with Charles Elliott, it shows some close-ups of the Water Keeper and gives Elliott’s views on Coast Salish art, as well as featuring some of his other public art in the Greater Victoria area.

Another video (which I can’t get to embed properly) concentrates on Charles Elliott in his role as teacher of carving can be found on this site.

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Canon EOS 5Dii, Canon 50/1.4 lens, ISO100, all but the last shot at f-2.2 (last shot f-10), various shutter speeds.

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12 thoughts on “Water Keeper

  1. Pingback: Charles Elliott Pole, University of Victoria « burnt embers

    • Thanks Toad – glad you like them. This was a bit of a surprise for me since I was not very familiar with the redevelopment – I used to ride the trail here every day on my commute, but lots has happened in the past 2 or 3 years and its all quite different.

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    • Hi Andy – both the Vancouver area and Nanaimo are within the traditional territories of Coast Salish peoples so you would likely have seen similar styles of carving in those areas. Though, the northern and central carvers have many poles in southern urban areas too. Sounds like you got a great reminder of your trip out this way.

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    • Thanks Ryan – the Coast Salish art style is quite different from the much better known northern styles practiced by the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian groups in southern Alaska and northern BC. It used to be extremely difficult to find examples of it outside of museum, but in the past few decades it had very much re-emerged into public spaces.

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