‘The Belonging Action’


Ten young artists invited eighty other participants to reflect about their connection to belonging while looking back at the histories of migration of peoples and cultures to Coast Salish land since time immemorial. In 2011, this process took 6 months producing a 24’ X 34’ mural installed at Harbour Centre Parkade.


“how to move forward

without looking at the past?”
“who knows the responsibility

of learning their history?”
“who’s lenses do we look at

ourselves through?”

“what are your people’s stories?”
“do you hear them spoken?”
“have you seen them written?”
“do you feel them walking?”
“who decides who is welcome?”
“why is genocide still kept in silence?”
“what are the circumstances

of your birth?”
“why did you move?”
“why the need for power/control?”
“why do you not look at me in the eye?”
“do you feel welcome?”

“The medicine wheel represents healing, direction, soul-searching and commitment. First Nations people embellish simplicity as a way of life. This is having harmony within nature (a respectful relationship), caring for others, and learning how to be full of love for everything” (madelaine, participant)

“Immigrant Temporary Workers are still treated as expiry tools. A cheap means to keep filling out the never satisfied pockets of their employers” (rodolfo, alejo, chrystal, participants)

"The economic situation in the Philippines has forced my mom to leave her family behind and seek a better future in Canada for her family. But the reality is that she has to juggle 2-3 low wage jobs to provide for us who left behind and keeps her in the grips of poverty she thought she had escaped. In the face of marginalization, she is determined to overcome the struggles in the hopes that soon she will be reunited with us, her family." (migrante BC youth group, participants)

“The fire represents the remembrance of the Downtown Eastside women. In the fire all sorts of colours show up, and I think the women are somehow always present. The eagle is symbolic of strength, courage, and the messenger. The eagle appears when something has to be said.” (chrystal, facilitator)

“what are your peoples' stories? you hear them spoken? ...have you seen them written? you feel them walking?” (photo: Shadae, facilitator)

"Everyday I am working to take off the many masks that want to blind me from seeing my role in the ongoing colonization of these lands. It is time to look in the mirror and see my white privilege & how my actions are having an impact” (Josh and Metta, facilitator and participant)

“So, if you have a friend coming from out of town who says “Where are all the black people in Vancouver?” you say, “well, they used to be there, and then they (the city) knocked it down and put these projects and the black folks didn’t move into them, they moved everywhere. They scattered all across the city.” So, that’s the Negro Removal.” (Wayde and Chrystal, participant and facilitator)

“After being labelled “enemy aliens" and removing 22,000 people in my community 100 miles from the West Coast, how dare you tell me, 'I should be proud to be Canadian!'” (lily, participant)

(mat, facilitator)