Photos by Debora Steel
“Strength from Within”, a sculpture by Tseshaht’s own Connie Watts, was officially unveiled on Oct. 1, life brought into it through a brushing ceremony.
It stands next to the Tseshaht longhouse and on the site of the notorious former Alberni Indian Residential School. It will serve as a constant reminder to all of the horrors that occurred at AIRS over the decades, to honor all who didn’t return to their families, and pay tribute to the resiliency of all those who survived their time there.
Watts is internationally-celebrated, renowned for such works as Hetux, the West Coast Thunderbird installation at Vancouver International Airport. She donated her time to create the “Strength from Within” project, working with a team of talented individuals.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. “How dare they call it a school,” she said. “It was a prison. There was no education.” It was “a concentration camp for kids.” Read More.