Musqueam and the Public Realm

Campus and Community Planning has worked collaboratively with Musqueam staff, elders and community members on a number of projects aimed at reintroducing Musqueam culture into the campus’ public realm.

These projects welcome visitors and acknowledge that the Vancouver campus is on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Read below to learn more about recent installations of artwork, directional signage, a crosswalk feature and other initiatives that UBC and Musqueam have worked on together.

Learn more about Musqueam:

A photo of Brent Sparrow's ʔəlqsən (Point Grey) installation. It shows a bronze cast of salmon, thunderbird and salmon.
Brent Sparrow's ʔəlqsən (Point Grey) installation is located near the UBC Bus Exchange.

Artist: Brent Sparrow
Location: Walkway between the UBC Bus Exchange and MacInnes Field
Installation Date: 2020
Material: Cast Bronze

ʔəlqsən is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for ‘point of land’, “Point Grey” is the English designation for a major point of land within Musqueam territory where many Musqueam village sites are and that include some major villages such as xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and ʔəy̓alməxʷ.

ʔəlqsən is comprised of ten cast bronze pieces by Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow. They were installed in May 2020 on concrete pillars that are part of a weather protected walkway separating the UBC Bus Exchange from the new MacInnes Field. Sparrow created two different wood carvings featuring images of eagles, thunderbirds and salmon which were then cast in bronze.

Close-up photos of the thunderbird, salmon and eagle sculptures.
From left: Close-up views of the šxʷəxʷaʔəs - thunderbird, sce:ɬtən – salmon and sθəqəy̓ - sockeye, and yə́χʷəleʔ -eagle and p̓aq̓əs -bald eagle.

About the artist selection process and collaborative design approach:

A community-based selection panel process was formed to choose the artist and Campus and Community Planning thanks them for their guidance with this project. The selection panel was comprised of three Musqueam community members, including a UBC student, and a UBC Faculty member from the Museum of Anthropology.

Brent worked collaboratively with the MacInnes Field design team, various campus stakeholders and Musqueam representatives to produce the installation. The installation enhances the arrival experience to UBC, brings cohesion and vibrancy to this highly public space, and informs those arriving to campus that UBC is on the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam people.  

Visit the Indigenous Portal to read Brent Sparrow's artist statement.

Read more:

The Musqueam logo is painted on the sidewalk at Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard
The Musqueam and UBC crests are painted on the sidewalk at the intersection of Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard.

Location: Intersection of Wesbrook Mall and University Boulevard
Installation Date: 2020

The feature crosswalk was designed collaboratively between UBC and Musqueam to enhance the arrival experience to campus. The design uses the UBC and Musqueam crests woven together, acknowledging that UBC is situated on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam peoples. The design used in the crosswalk can also been seen on construction fencing for various projects on campus.

A close-up photo showing a brown and blue Musqueam street sign. This one reads University Blvd and Main Mall with the Musqueam language underneath.
A photo of a University Blvd/šxʷyəθəstəm and Main Mall/šxʷʔey̓eʔ street sign at UBC Vancouver

Location: Various intersections in the central campus at UBC Vancouver
Installation Date: 2018

The Musqueam street signs were created in collaboration with the Musqueam First Nation to give a bilingual experience while travelling on campus and acknowledge the linguistic heritage of the UBC Vancouver campus. The names do not refer to traditional sites but instead to UBC’s geography. For example, the word “middle” used for Main Mall reflects its central position on campus.

The nine street signs are installed alongside their English language counterparts at 54 locations in the centre of campus. We encourage you to walk around the UBC Vancouver campus to view the Musqueam street signs. As you stand near a sign, take note of where you are, and how the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ names relate to your position on the land, in relation to the mountains and the Salish Sea.

Visit the Indigenous Portal to learn more and to listen to the street names in Musqueam’s language, hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. 

The colourful blue and green construction hoarding with the Musqueam and UBC logos
The Musqueam crest is shown on the colourful design used as construction hoarding across the UBC Vancouver campus.

Location: Various construction projects across campus
Design first used: 2015

A colourful and vibrant design was created collaboratively between UBC and Musqueam weaves together the UBC and Musqueam crests, bringing visibility and acknowledgement that UBC is situated on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam peoples. The design is being used on the construction fencing erected around campus projects.