Chrystal Sparrow

In the Presence of Ancestors: Musqueam

Listen to Chrystal Sparrow as she talks with our project manager, Tasha Faye Evans, about her art and how the house post she will be carving represents Musqueam and her family legacy.
Chrystal Sparrow is a Musqueam Coast Salish artist. She was born in 1983 and lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada on the unceded Coast Salish Territory.
Chrystal comes from a long line of Coast Salish artists, weavers and three generations of carvers. Her late father Irving Sparrow was a master carver that passed down the tradition to Chrystal and her brother Christopher. As a child, she was given the privilege to be traditionally taught Coast Salish art and carving skill sets that would giver her the status to become a female Coast Salish artist.
Chrystal is a traditional and contemporary artist that has her own unique feminine designing style representing simplicity and elegance within Coast Salish art. Currently, she is creating new designs with color elements from her Cree and Shuswap heritage in beading and abstract paintings. Chrystal works in mediums of red and yellow cedar, metal, leather and acrylics.
Chrystal was the first Coast Salish artist to work in the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh (MST) Cultural Residency in Stanley Park from July 2018 to 2019. In 2018, the Vancouver School Board commissioned a 20’ Female Welcoming House Post. In 2017, Starbucks Canada, 150pluswishes with collaboration Broadway Youth Center commissioned 7’ by 3’ red cedar panel. In 2016, Vancouver City Hall, Council Chamber commissioned a 7’ by 3’ red cedar panel in respect to reconciliation.
Chrystal has a great honor for her father Irving Sparrow in passing down Coast Salish art and believing she would be another great Coast Salish artist. She believes her privileged role as an artist is to continue learning Coast Salish art as a language through designing, storytelling and experimenting in new mediums. She hopes to pass down the tradition to family as a living legacy one day.

Thu May 6: Artist Talk with Musqueam Carver Chrystal Sparrow
Thu May 20: Evening Gathering with Musqueam Elder Doris Fox
Thu Jun 3: Legacy of Musqueam Land Defence
Thu Jun 10: Artist Talk with Debra Sparrow (θəliχʷəlʷət)
Sun Jun 13: Weaving Workshop with Debra Sparrow
Mon Jun 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day – Honouring Musqueam

These lands and waters, currently known as Port Moody, have been cared for by a long legacy of ancestors since time immemorial. These ancestors include the people of Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səlilwətaɬ, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, and the S’ólh Téméxw. While each of these Nations are unique with their own songs, histories, and languages, they all share in a sacred responsibility to care for the future of these lands and waters. In partnership with the Port Moody Ecological Society, Coast Salish artist Tasha Faye Evans is curating a commission of house posts to be carved by artists from five of these Nations. This collection of house posts will be raised along Port Moody’s iconic Shoreline trail and be called, “In the Presence of Ancestors”. Each house post will raised to watch over these lands and waters and be life-long reminders to current residents of our shared and sacred responsibility to join the legacy of ancestors caring for the future of all of our relations.

As each house post is carved, the artist will be in residence at the Noons Creek hatchery and will be supported by a program of Knowledge Keepers and artists to highlight each Nation and their history in these lands.

This Spring, we are focusing on Musqueam. Beginning in April, carver Chrystal Sparrow will be artist in residence. Her house post and creative process will be supported by a program of vibrant artists and Knowledge Keepers sharing Musqueam history, culture and visions for the future.

In the fall, we look forward to hosting Xwalacktun OBC from Squamish Nation. There will be a program of Squamish artists and Knowledge Keepers throughout the fall and next spring.

In 2019, Brandon Gabriel carved the “Spirit of Kwikwetlem” in collaboration with Kwiwkwetlem Elders and youth. Currently, Tsleil Waututh artist Zachary George is carving “Grandmother’s Prayer”.

All house posts will be raised in ceremony by June 21, 2023.

Acknowledging that we are on the unceded, occupied, ancestral and traditional lands of the Kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish),Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.