Coming Home by Ric Gendron was revealed at LUNA Reimagined on Sept. 25.
Gendron is a member of the Sinixt Nation, the first inhabitants of the Revelstoke area, that were declared extinct by the Canadian government in 1956.
In 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the existence of the Sinixt in a landmark decision that could lead the way to rights, reconciliation and acknowledgement of lost history.
The piece of art features significant historical figures from the Sinixt Nation as well as members of Gendron’s own family, including his mother and father on their wedding day and his Kindergarten picture.
For Gendron and Shelly Boyd, a Sinixt spokesperson, it is a homecoming for both the ancestors depicted in the paintings and themselves.
“I have always said I am a mountain woman, because of where I live,” Boyd said.
“We pick huckleberries and we do all these things that we have done culturally and traditionally. But when we come up here I am reminded that I am truly a mountain woman and that I come from this water.”
Boyd spoke about the importance of amplifying Indigenous voices and remembering human’s connection to the land.
“When we start to forget that we are just a part of this, that’s when we will disappear,” she said.
The Sinixt Territory spans from Kettle Falls, Washington to Revelstoke. Gendron and many people of the Sinixt Nation have never been this far north.
“I think of it like Jerusalem,” Boyd said. “I don’t want to step on anybody’s culture or anybody’s history, but the stories I hear of people going back to Jerusalem.
“You guys live in Jerusalem for us, this is how it feels when we get to come home.”
The piece is permanently installed in the alley between Mackenzie and Connaught Avenue as part of the Revelstoke Art Alleries exhibit.