Life has always been
(The Jade Canoe)
by Bill Reid
Vancouver International Airport
British Columbia, Canada
Taken during travels, 2009
From the Wikipedia article linked above:
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii is intended to represent the Aboriginal heritage of Haida Gwaii, formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands. In green-coloured bronze on the Vancouver version and black-coloured on the Washington version, it shows a traditional Haida cedar dugout canoe which totals six metres in length. The canoe carries the following passengers: Raven, the traditional trickster of Haida mythology, holding the steering oar; Mouse Woman, crouched under Raven’s tail; Grizzly Bear, sitting at the bow and staring toward Raven; Bear Mother, Grizzly’s human wife; their cubs, Good Bear (ears pointed forward) and Bad Bear (ears pointed back); Beaver, Raven’s uncle; Dogfish Woman; Eagle; Frog; Wolf, claws imbedded in Beaver’s back and teeth in Eagle’s wing; a small human paddler in Haida garb known as the Ancient Reluctant Conscript; and, at the sculpture’s focal point, the human Shaman (or Kilstlaai in Haida), who wears the Haida cloak and woven spruce root hat and holds a tall staff carved with images of Seabear, Raven, and Killer Whale. Consistent with Haida tradition, the significance of the passengers is highly symbolic. The variety and interdependence of the canoe’s occupants represents the natural environment on which the ancient Haida relied for their very survival: the passengers are diverse, and not always in harmony, yet they must depend on one another to live. The fact that the cunning trickster, Raven, holds the steering oar is likely symbolic of nature’s unpredictability. The sculpture is 6 metres (20 ft) long, not quite 4 metres (13 ft) from the base to the top of the Shaman’s staff, and weighs nearly 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb).