Walk With Us & Bella Spirit

Drawing/Painting by Nicole Carpenter

“Walk with Us” and “Bella Spirit” were painted and donated by Nicole Carpenter, a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, from Bella Bella, British Columbia. She donated these paintings at the Greater Vancouver Region Community Hearings where she came to support her sister. Nicole was asked by her sister to create something to bring to the hearings. Painting is Nicole’s therapy and “Walk with Us” and “Bella Spirit” represent the strength that has been passed down from her grandmothers: the family was her grandmothers’ strength, her sister and herself were her mother’s strength and her daughter, mother and sister are her strength. The paintings, which can be placed together to make a larger painting, show Nicole’s community of Bella Bella from the view of her Gran’s house on the beach. “Walk with Us”, which makes up the bottom of the larger painting, shows Nicole, her daughter, her sister and her mother dancing and celebrating on the beach. Nicole’s mother is in a black and red blanket and holding copper for protection. Her sister is in a brown and purple blanket and holding a feather. Her daughter is in a black and brown blanket, wearing the same headband as Nicole. “Bella Spirit”, the top portion of the larger painting, shows the water and landscape of mountains across from the beach. It is on those mountains on another island that their loved ones are buried and there are three red blankets on the mountains representing Nicole’s late sister and grandmothers.