School mace unveiled in momentous ceremony led by Musqueam

The unveiling of the College’s first mace, carved by Musqueam artist Chrystal Sparrow, marked a historic moment for Corpus Christi-St. Mark’s.

Traditionally, an academic mace symbolizes the school’s authority and is used at event such as Convocation and Presidential Installations.

In pursuit of a contemporary symbol reflective of the College values, renowned Musqueam artist, Chrystal Sparrow, was commissioned to design and carve the College’s first mace. Her artistry can be seen in previous commissions for the Vancouver School Board, 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada Seven’s Rugby and Vancouver City Hall.

On the Feast of Saint Mark, the College community gathered together with Musqueam representatives to see the mace for the first time and celebrate the occasion.

The unveiling ceremony featured Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack), a traditional Coast Salish song and dance group, who performed an honour song for Chrystal Sparrow.

Official witnesses at the ceremony included Brad Baker, Associate Superintendent of Indigenous Education with the BC Ministry of Education and Child Care and member of the Squamish Nation; Celso Boscariol, Chair of the Board of Directors; Michelle Chang, College supporter and long-time Board member; and Dr. Gerry Turcotte, President and Principal.

“I truly hope that this marks the beginning of an even deeper partnership with the Musqueam community,” remarked Dr. Turcotte in his witness statement. “We have a long tradition of welcoming Musqueam students to our community, and I hope that this initiative creates an even deeper bond and demonstrates even more clearly our keenness to work together on important projects.”

At 5’5” long with numerous hand-carved and painted designs, the mace cuts an impressive figure befitting of a symbol of the Colleges. The distinctive paddle shape is a powerful metaphor for moving forward on a journey.

At the ceremony, Musqueam speaker Alec Dan discussed the symbolism of the paddle shape saying, “This is two communities coming together – the Indigenous people and the College united. When we are on a canoe, we have to work together so we don’t end up in the water…. The College, Musqueam, and the Indigenous people come together having one heart, one mind.”

As Dr. Turcotte noted, “the Mace features beautiful symbolism representing Coast Salish, and specifically Musqueam designs, as well as unique imagery celebrating the College’s identity as a Catholic institution. But one of my favourite features is the carving of the cedar rope that encircles the stem, the artist’s statement about how peoples, combined, are always stronger together.”

The mace will be featured at Convocation on May 11, 2024. We look forward to seeing it carried down the aisle, leading our students in celebration of their accomplishments.

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