The Faculty of Education commissioned Musqueam carvers known as Direction 7 to create a yellow cedar panel as a 50th Anniversary legacy art project. The piece was dedicated on March 30, 2007.
The carvers include: Joe Becker, William Dan, Madeline Kenoras, Martin Sparrow (outline), Una Anne Hickson (fine design), and Jim Kew (Administration). The panel is 2.4 metres long by 1.8 metres high and hangs in the Neville Scarfe Building lobby (on the first floor of the Centre Block).
The carving, called “Teach Me to Fly,” features a Thunderbird as the main figure with representations of human beings, birds and animals embedded in its body and wings.
In the words of the artists:
The Thunderbird, the greatest figure of Salish mythology, represents excellence. The Thunderbird also symbolizes the great protector of life who helps those in need to have a better life. It is in relationship to virtuous creatures that add their own blessings to the multi-faceted Spirit.
Eagle represents the spirit and courage to seize opportunities
Wolf is the teacher, the pathfinder
Killer Whale is the warrior spirit, the leader
Beaver is the builder of dreams
The four human faces are the people involved in education. Four is a special number to the Coast Salish peoples. It can have various meanings; such as the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, the four phases of life, four colours of people, and holistic learning that includes four areas of human development; spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual.
The Faculty of Education thanks the Musqueam Indian Band for assistance with this legacy art project.