Land & Water
Cody Mathias and his sister Agi share some thoughts on tradition, local animals, and the value of environmental protection.
“I’m the grandson of Chief Mathias Joe Capilano. I’m the youngest grandson and he’s the one that inspired me to carve in 1968-69. When I started that’s all I did: totem poles. I never carved anything else, but then I got into them more and more, and I got better at it. I started work to expand my work for other animals and sea creatures like killer whales, seals, otters. The sea of water—all sea animals I like to carve but the most powerful is what we call the yew’yews, the killer whale. And land has even more powerful animals, and the bear is the strongest one—we call it mixalht. Then there’s the wolf pack—they are family oriented, hunt in packs, keep the family together, and feed the family. When they come back after the hunt they bring food for the young ones. All these animals are from here, and they need to eat and be healthy too.” – Cody Mathias
“Right now I find water very important, especially with the world the way it is, and these new pipelines. Back in the day, when they came here to our land, the only way they could travel was by our right-of-way. The right-of-way was the water. They travelled by canoe. They followed our trails, which were the rivers. We were the ones who showed them how to get through the province of British Columbia. I want the women, the girls, to realize that this water belongs to us. The river belongs to us women; the fresh water belongs to us women, the lakes. All of the water belongs to the women, because every woman who has a baby… what’s going to be done for that baby first? It has to be cleaned. “ -Agi Paul (nee Mathias)