February 15, 2023 – Today, marked the unveiling for the Cultural Wall that resides inside the Kruger Unifor Atrium in the new Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Tower. The Cultural Wall came together as a result of collaboration between the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the Two Rivers Métis Society, the Secwépemc Health Caucus, Métis Nation BC, Interior Health, and the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation who generously funded this cultural endeavour.
The mural that makes up the Cultural Wall is the culmination of a vision to celebrate and honour the unique Indigenous cultures and communities in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region. It is an artistic representation of the traditional and unceded territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc as well as guest Nations to Secwépemc territory, including the Métis, Dãkelh Dene, Tsilhqot’in, Northern St’at’imc, Nlaka’pamux and Syilx Nations as well as Inuit People. Chris Bose, a Secwépemc and Nlaka’pamux artist, led the creation of this powerful piece of art in the tower.
“When I was first hired to take on this project, I was nervous. Bringing together all of the Nations that rely on Royal Inland Hospital was a daunting task. But, as I met with members of each Nation and researched what was important to them in terms of art and culture, I began to see that there are so many things that link us all. I am so proud of this final result, which represents the unique landmarks around Tk’emlúps and represents each of the Nations in the region,” said Chris Bose.
“The mural was painted by many community members and features the rivers (Simpcwétkwe for the North Thompson, Secwépemcétkwe for the South Thompson) flowing through the traditional territory of the Tkémlúps te Secwépemc. The iconic scroll symbolizes the traditional territory, while the mountains are in the background. Turtles are representative of Turtle Nation and include the colourful Métis sash. The animals that make this area their home are celebrated here as well. It is my hope this mural shows us coming together and being one, as this art project brought many Nations together, and shows us how we are all connected, we are all one. I hope you enjoy it,” Chris finished.
Art has many medicinal and restorative benefits for patients, visitors, and staff. Studies show that by improving and warming the hospital environment, art enhances the patient experience and speeds recovery. It has the power to ease anxiety, provide moments of enjoyment and offer a brief escape in high stress situations. This Cultural Wall contributes to an inclusive atmosphere where patients can feel safe and maintain a connection to the world outside of the hospital. Here, patients and staff can redirect their attention away from themselves for a moment and marvel in the beauty of local talent. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words and this inspiring piece of artwork exemplifies collaboration, creative expression, cultural connection, unity, and so much more.
“This project brought the recommendations of the In Plain Sight report to life by increasing the presence of Aboriginal cultures in our healthcare facility. It represents respect for, and acknowledgement of, the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and communities we serve.” – Addie Pryce, Vice President, Aboriginal Partnerships, Interior Health
“Interior Health is committed to culturally safe care, and this inclusive design in our hospital facility helps communicate that value to our staff, clients and visitors. It is my hope that the work to create welcoming spaces continues to evolve where we provide care and across the region.” – Diane Shendruk, Vice President, Clinical Operations, Interior Health Northern
“The RIH Foundation is extremely proud to work with the RIH Cultural Wall Committee and the artist Chris Bose to create a visual representation of how the many Nations welcome us to the hospital and remind us of the diverse cultures and ecosystems that make up this land.” – Heidi Coleman, RIH Foundation CEO