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New First Nations themed mural goes up in downtown Duncan

Mural, called “Sq’uq’iptul’ (Journey Together), created by native artist Stuart Pagaduan

Another mural in Duncan’s downtown core with a First Nations theme has gone up on the east-facing wall of the Volume One Books building, located at 49 Kenneth St.

The mural project was spearheaded by the Cowichan Valley Intercultural and Immigrant Aid Society, Quw’utsun Elders, the City of Duncan, and a diverse group of community partners, who worked together to see the project to fruition as Nanum ‘Iyus Tth’ele (Meeting of Joyful Hearts).


Quw’utsun artist Stuart Pagaduan created the mural image, entitled “Sq’uq’iptul’ (Journey Together)” which was then transferred to laser-cut aluminum panels and powder coated by LaserCAM Fabrication Inc.

Pagaduan is a local Cowichan Tribes member and active community advocate for Cowichan teachings and language.

He has spent most of his life living as an inspirational Coast Salish artist, while using his creative flow to build bridges between the Cowichan People and the larger Cowichan Valley community.

“This image tells the story of our Quw’utsun people who paddled the ancient highways,” Pagaduan said.

“Large cedar canoes would be used to travel up and down the coast. All living things were respected and valued. None more than the cedar tree. It is also known as the tree of life because of its multiple uses and more importantly its spiritual value. The canoe is respected as a living being and not just an object. We need to be in a good place before we touch it or get in it. We take care of the canoe like you would a child, or yourself.”


The new mural explores the theme of Ts’its’uwatul (Helping One Another/Working Together), a Quw’utsun philosophy that has universal value and illustrates the strength realized when diverse people unite to work toward a shared goal.

The goal of the mural project is to share history and beautify Duncan in an inclusive way that promotes intercultural collaboration and cooperation, sparking conversations about the value of each person’s contribution to the shared community.

The project was guided by Cowichan Tribes Elders Albie Charlie, Laureen Charlie, Lucy Thomas, Philomena Williams, and Merle Seymour.

Nanum ‘Iyus Tth’ele is also responsible for the reconciliation mural, titled “thu-its-thuw tun shqwalawun/be truthful with your feelings” by Charlene Johnny, that was painted last summer at 221 Jubilee St.

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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