Nuxalk culturist Chris Nelson leads in singing the “paddle song” with partner Clyde Young at the July 4 Grand Opening of Copper Sun Journeys and Gallery. In his opening remarks, Nelson expressed his delight that the Tour operation and Gallery have teamed up with Bella Coola Valley Tourism, the Bella Coola Music Festival and Coast Mountain News, all housed together in the former RCMP station on the Townsite.
The logo on Young’s drum symbolizes the cooperative venture, its shield-like “copper” shape representing prosperity and the sun the life-giving force. The sloping bars represent the rafters of the long house sheltering the whole community. This is the first time the Nuxalk have operated a public gallery. It showcases the work of numerous painters and carvers as well as cedar weaving, jewelry, and other “wearables”.
Nelson noted that this Nuxalk Development Corporation venture is a way to promote tourism, and tourism is another way of carrying the Nuxalk culture forward. He noted that his partner is just starting to sing, adding that “finding a voice” is vital for the Nuxalk People. A Director on the Board of Bella Coola Valley Tourism, Nelson is well-known for his many years guiding tourists to the Thorsen Creek Petroglyphs with his twin Lance.
Petroglyph tours and a Totem walk (which includes a visit with a Nuxalk carver) are among the guided tours offered. Copper Sun hours are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. For information, phone 1-250-267-6430.