This design is influenced by inspiration from salmon and its relationship to the land. Nutrients are redistributed to the earth through their life journey and when salmon is harvested. Many different species depend on salmon, and people of the river (and of the pacific northwest of that matter) have relied on salmon as an integral part of our diet, and culture. The many was we prepare salmon, harvest salmon, and honour salmon, are some of the lifelines of our culture and what brings us together.

Many Coast Salish nations resonate with teachings surrounding wolves, and identify with their symbology. Wolves are seen as strong and caring figures, who constantly work together to keep the family unit strong. While working on this design, I was thinking of a story my mentor told me that he learned from his grandfather, of a boy who was adopted by wolf people and raised away from his human family. One day he decided to go back to his home village, and he was welcomed back by his village and family with open arms. The boy brought teachings from the wolves, hunting skills, and different knowledge of the territory. This story is meaningful to me because it makes me think of other indigenous people from Salish territory. We may grow up outside of our community, we may move away for education, or for a job, but no matter where we go- we will still have a place in our community.

Atheana Picha is a Salish artist from the Kwantlen and Tsartlip First Nations. Atheana was given the name Nashmenetanaht by Gerry Oleman from the St’at’imc Nation, which means “go-getter woman”.

Born in Vancouver, she grew up and currently works out of Richmond, BC. She is an interdisciplinary artist, working mostly in 2-dimensional work. Picha is currently doing two apprenticeships, learning Salish wool weaving from Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow, and learning wood carving and silver engraving from Squamish Artist and educator Aaron Nelson-Moody. Her work is grounded in learning more about Salish design through studying the old pieces, observing nature, and learning from her teachers.

Atheana studied Fine Art at Langara college for three years, with a focus on ceramics, intaglio printmaking, and wood carving, and is currently learning screen printing. Atheana is engaged with public art through her mural work throughout the vancouver area since 2018. Atheana is a two time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation emerging artist scholarship, and has works in the collections at the Museum of Vancouver and the Burnaby Art Gallery.

See More of Atheana’s work at: