UBC's new Indigenized academic regalia represents partnership with host Nations | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UBC's new Indigenized academic regalia represents partnership with host Nations

In the design, the middle circle represents people, the dart represents water, the crescent represents land and the arrow represents people moving forward. The eye design also represents education as a significant role and connection within all three communities.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / UBC
December 03, 2020 - 7:00 PM

The University of British Columbia has released newly designed academic regalia designed by a B.C. Indigenous artist. 

The Indigenized regalia represents the relationship between UBC and the host Nations of each respective campus, the Syilx Okanagan Nation in Kelowna and the Musqueam in Vancouver, according to a UBC media release.

Chrystal Sparrow is a third-generation Musqueam Coast Salish artist, carver and the chosen designer of the new regalia.

The eagle design for the clasps represents the knowledge keepers and the distinctive cultures of the Musqueam and the Syilx Okanagan Nation.
The eagle design for the clasps represents the knowledge keepers and the distinctive cultures of the Musqueam and the Syilx Okanagan Nation.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / UBC

"I created a simple Coast Salish Eye design to represent all three communities," Sparrow explained in the release. "There are four design elements: the middle circle represents people, the dart represents water, the crescent represents land and the arrow represents everyone moving forward."

She said the eye design also represents education as a significant role and connection within all three communities.

The colour red represents the Musqueam and Syilx Okanagan Nation, and the black represents UBC. The clasps on the gown are also significant.

"The eagle design for the clasps represent the knowledge keepers and the distinctive cultures of the Musqueam and the Syilx Okanagan Nation," she said. "The Coast Salish eye design in sequences of three will adorn the front of each robe to represent the three communities. The two eagle clasp designs will symbolize all three communities upholding successful futures together.”

The project began in 2019, and a call for an artist was put out to both the Musqueam and Syilx Okanagan Nation. Before designing the regalia, previously created a stole which was gifted to past UBC president Stephen Toope, and a 20 foot tall Female Welcoming House Post for the Vancouver School Board.

To learn more about Chrystal Sparrow's work, click here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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