Talented Artists and First-of-its-Kind Collaboration Honoured With Blanketing Ceremony
January 23, 2024 – VANCOUVER, BC – The Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 presented by ATCO, in coordination with the Four Host First Nations, recently convened a Protocol Gathering to honour the creative brilliance of four Indigenous artists who designed the new visual identity for the Games. The final artwork created by Levi Nelson (Lil’wat Nation), Mack Paul (Musqueam Nation), Ray Natraoro (Squamish Nation), and Olivia George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), represents the first-time individual artists from each of the Four Host First Nations have come together to create a single piece of art for a major sporting event.
The four British Columbia based artists were chosen for their unique style, with one artist selected to represent each of the Four Host First Nations of Lilwat7úl (Lílwat), xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh). The artists were chosen by a selection committee of Indigenous leaders based on their diverse artistic mediums, including carving and weaving. The event hosted at the Vancouver Art Gallery, served as a momentous occasion to recognize and express gratitude through a special blanketing ceremony for the dedication and hard work exhibited by these artists.
The final designs are rooted in the cultural traditions of the Salish people of the Pacific Northwest. The artwork incorporates symbolic elements such as oval shapes, crescents, and trigons, reflecting the spiritual and cultural significance of the Salish art symbols, and showcasing the unique perspectives and ideas brought forth by each artist.
“We are very proud of the work we did together, and believe this artwork is a strong representation and reflection of our Nations’ culture, lands and waters,” says Levi Nelson (Lil’wat Nation), Mack Paul (Musqueam Nation), Ray Natraoro (Squamish Nation), and Olivia George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). “We were able to share our ideas, experiences and cultural references, to come together for the first time to convey meaning from our Nations. We are honoured to show our work on the world stage through the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025.”
“The collaboration to design the visual identity for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 offers just one example of the important role that the Four Host First Nations will play in planning and co-hosting the Games,” says Nick Booth, Interim CEO, Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025. “Through the power of sport, the Four Host First Nations and the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 will work together to highlight the shared journey of recovery of Indigenous communities and military service members and Veterans in overcoming adversity.”
As the One Year to Go milestone approaches for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025, the Protocol Gathering underscored the shared journey of recovery between the Games and the Four Host First Nations. This event also allowed for a moment of reflection, emphasizing the ongoing collaboration between the organizing committee and the Four Host First Nations to co-host the Games on the traditional territories of the Lilwat7úl (Lílwat), xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
As co-hosts for the Games, the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 are committed to engaging with each Nation, addressing Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and respecting Indigenous protocols in all aspects of the Games. The organizing committee for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 will ensure that the Four Host First Nations languages, traditions, protocols and cultures are meaningfully acknowledged, respected and represented in the planning, staging and hosting of the Games.