British Columbia

New logo for Vancouver Island school district by Indigenous artist represents moving forward

The Cowichan Valley School District has revealed a new Coast Salish canoe design meant to showcase the collective reconciliation journey the community is on together.

Coast Salish canoe design symbolizes a community working together

The new logo for the Cowichan Valley School District was designed by Stuart Pagaduan, a respected local artist, member of Cowichan Tribes and Hul’q’umi’num language and culture advisor in the district. (Cowichan Valley School District)

A southern Vancouver Island school district is swapping out its old logo for one it believes better reflects the community's collective journey of reconciliation and cultural respect.

On Nov. 3, the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District unveiled the new design by Stuart Pagaduan, a Cowichan Tribes member and Hul'q'umi'num language and cultural advisor for the district.

Pagaduan's design is a canoe with four people in front of a rising sun that features images of a spaal' (raven) and a wuxus (frog) inside the colourful orb.

It will be rolled out over the next several months as use of the old one — a blue, green and white image featuring the district's name — is phased out.

The previous logo for the district seen here will be phased out over the next few months and replaced with the new Coast Salish design. (Facebook/Cowichan Valley School District)

Done in a Coast Salish style, the new logo is the result of the board's 2020-2024 strategic plan that was designed with input from community members, staff and students.

According to a media release from the board, it realized the old logo did not represent the community or its "collective journey".

So the board reached out to Pagaduan, a respected local artist with over 25 years experience, for a new one.

"The pressure was on," he said with a chuckle during an interview on CBC's On The Island.

WATCH | Artist Stuart Pagaduan shares what the new logo he designed for the Cowichan Valley School District means to him:

He said the canoe is symbolic of the community coming together and the animals depicted in the sun are in a state of transition, which also represents forward movement. The sun represents new days and new beginnings.

"The board is honoured to have such a beautiful and powerful representation of our district," said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the Board of Education in a statement. "Stuart's powerful art truly depicts our collective journey," she said.

Pagaduan said there is still a lot of unfinished business when it comes to Indigenous relations, but the logo is one tiny step forward for reconciliation.

"Whether or not you're in the canoe or not, there is no choice anymore, even if you don't want to grab that paddle you are going to sit in this canoe, we are going to move forward," he said.

Tap here to listen to the complete interview with Stuart Pagaduan on CBC's On The Island.

With files from On The Island