Vancouver History Blog

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Truth & Reconciliation Day: Spotlight on Luke Marston

The Truth and Reconciliation Day, on September 30th, is celebrated as a day for Canadians to acknowledge the harm caused by the residential schools and to honour the Indigenous survivors of these schools. As a way of reckoning with the past and working towards a better future, the day seeks to promote Indigenous history, cultures, and experiences.

At Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours, we recognize the significance of this day and strive to do our part in promoting awareness and understanding of Indigenous histories. Our tours have always focused on sharing the most truthful and diverse perspectives of local history. And we are proud to spotlight Luke Marston (Ts’uts’umutl), a talented First Nations artist and cultural educator, who has been instrumental in advocating for truth and reconciliation through his work.

Luke Marston Will Woods Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour

Photo of Luke Marston and Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours Founder, Will Woods. Will’s tour guests happened upon Marston on the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour, as Marston’s famous masterpiece, Shore to Shore (at Brockton Point) was being maintained.

Luke Marston is a member of the Stz’uminus (Chemainus) First Nation in British Columbia. He is a skilled sculptor whose works of art depict the stories of his Indigenous ancestors. Marston’s art is a powerful way of depicting the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Marston has played an essential role in reconciling Indigenous peoples with the past by constructing beautifully designed public art pieces that honour Indigenous culture and history. His sculptures are widely displayed both locally and globally, and they contribute to the spread of knowledge and appreciation of Indigenous traditions and histories.

His work extends beyond creating public art pieces. Marston is also a cultural educator who works in schools and communities to teach Indigenous history, traditions, and culture. He believes that by sharing knowledge and creating more understanding about Indigenous history, misconceptions and stereotypes can be dispelled.

The Healing Pole Luke Marston

The Healing Pole sculpture by Luke Marston

One of Marston’s most notable sculptures is the Healing Pole. This uniquely carved totem pole represents the reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The pole was designed to promote healing and solidarity in response to the unearthing of the mass graves of Indigenous children who attended the residential schools. The red cedar pole stands fourteen-foot tall in the foyer of Government House, in Victoria BC.

As Canadians prepare to celebrate Truth and Reconciliation Day, it is a time for reflection, learning, and acknowledgment. Luke Marston’s message of truth and reconciliation is essential as Indigenous peoples continue to seek justice, healing, and reconciliation from centuries of trauma and abuse. 

At Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours, we are committed to promoting Indigenous histories and cultures, and we acknowledge that we have much to learn from Indigenous peoples about how to share Canada’s rich and diverse history. We encourage everyone to take part in today’s events, participate in the healing journey, and continue to learn about the Indigenous peoples’ contributions and experiences.

When you buy a ticket to the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour, two percent of the ticket cost goes to support the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. The IRSSS was established in 1994 and its mission is to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles for the survivors, families, and communities of Canada’s residential school system.

Donate to IRSSS Here

Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour with Luke Marston

Luke Marston with tour guests on the Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour