Nisga’a Artist Creates Design for Ascot
Nisg̱a’a artist Ian Morven grew up in the Nass Valley community of Gitlaxt’aamiks learning the stories of his wilp (house) and to respect and care for the land from his grandmother and other Elders of the village. Fast forward a few decades and Ian has translated that knowledge into a career as an artist and an environmental monitor.
During the summer of 2021 Ian worked with Ascot to develop artwork that connects Ascot, Nisg̱a’a and the land. We asked Ian to create something that showed our collaborative relationship with Nisg̱a’a and our ongoing commitment to working together, particularly with regard to caring for the environment. We also asked, that if it was culturally appropriate, we wanted to reference the Nisg̱a’a wilp(s) (clans/families) and stories from the area.
Ascot was fortunate to work with Ian. He was able to speak to Elders in his family and community to understand the stories from the area in a way that an outsider could not. After much research, Ian developed this design for us, using images to connect Ascot to Nisg̱a’a and to the land.
Before contact with Europeans, there was a tribe in the area now known as Stewart that was being attacked by a neighbouring tribe. The tribe under attack asked Nisg̱a’a Nation for help and ultimately joined with them as one Nation. Together they looked after the land which is part of the Nass Area.
The human image is central to the story of this design. He has his hand inviting you to come and join with Ascot and Nisg̱a’a. He has a talking stick to tell the story of the adventures that have passed and those to come. He is walking towards you to help you find your way. The war paint on his face symbolizes the battles that we have overcome to reach where we are, and also that there was a battle for survival on the land near the Premier Mine. Ian wanted to incorporate Ascot logo into the design and used the ‘A’ which looks like a warrior’s hat to merge our existing logo into his design.
Ian included the eagle symbol because the tribe that was originally from the area was from the eagle clan. Including the eagle is a sign of respect to that clan. Also, in Nisg̱a’a mythology, the eagle is a visionary figure and can foresee the future. He included the dragonfly to symbolize the environment and the connection to the land.
Late in the fall of 2021, Ian joined the Ascot team as an Environmental Monitor. We appreciate his commitment as a Nisg̱a’a citizen to ensuring that the land is well taken care of throughout our construction and operations. We look forward to working with Ian for years to come
Q & A
How do local communities benefit from the mine?
Ascot supports the local communities including the District of Stewart and the four Nisg̱a’a Villages by hiring locally for full-time and seasonal employment and contract opportunities wherever possible. As we move into construction and operation, we are committed to continuing to do so, while also connecting people to the training necessary to participate in our workforce as it grows. We believe that employment and employment income is a key benefit to the local communities.
Has Ascot been engaging with the local First Nations?
The Premier Gold Project and the Red Mountain Project are located on Nisg̱a’a Nation lands.
The Premier Gold Project is located in the Nass Area and the Red Mountain Project is located in the Nass Wildlife Area, as defined in the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement, a modern treaty between the federal government, provincial government, and Nisg̱a’a Nation, which sets out Nisg̱a’a Nation’s rights under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act.
Ascot is working closely with Nisg̱a’a Nation to assess the impacts of the Premier Gold Project and Red Mountain Project on Nisg̱a’a Treaty Rights. Nisg̱a’a Nation citizens have Treaty rights to manage and harvest wildlife in the Nass Wildlife Area and to harvest fish, aquatic plants, and migratory birds within the Nass Area. The clarity and certainty provided by the Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement is a major advantage to development.