Paula Cranmer-Underhill: Pictographs
The ancient tribal designs of the Nlaka'pamux, a People Indigenous to the interior of British Columbia, Canada, have remained as a testimony to the historic use of the Stein Valley. The Stein River Valley was used to educated, and graduates emerged better prepared for life because of what they learned during their time spent alone. The pictographs are a record of these quests for knowledge and guardian spirits. Generations of Nlaka'pamux walked beside the river through the ancient valley, discovering both themselves and the world aeround them.
The Stein Valley, located near the junction of the Fraser and Thompson rivers near Tl'kamtciin (Lytton), B.C. is one of the largest rock art sites in Canada. Stein is a "hidden place". The designs used on the garments are replicas of the original red ochre paintings of the Nlaka'pamux, who believed them to be "long life makers". The rock paintings remain to this day. The Stein Valley is a sacred site and must be treated with respect by all visitors. Satisfy your need to take home a piece of the Stein by wearing the designs depicted on the garments. The originals shall remain in their rightful place, as was the intent of our ancestrs who placed them there long ago.
At the turn of the century, my great-grandfather, Kanu, Harry Thom (1873-1952), trained at the Stein where he received the guardian spirit power to practice as a Syux'nam (Medicine Man). I reproduce these designs with pride in my ancestors who struggled in a changing world and survived bequeath us their legacy.
- Paula Cranmer-Underhill, Nlaka'pamux/Kwakwaka'wakw