Artists and artisans of the Robson Valley
The Whistle Stop Gallery would like to acknowledge that we are honored to work, explore, and create on the unceded lands of the Lheidli T’Enneh and Simpcw First Nations. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the Indigenous land we reside on and provide an inclusive safe space that does not tolerate discrimination in any form. It is our mission to honor diversity and freedom of expression.
Check out our Facebook page:
Wood carver & sculptor
Robert "Sqwey'its" Mitchell is a local indigenous carving artist in McBride. He is part of the Xaxli'p First Nation Band also known as Fountain Band. In the Upper St'at'imc Nation People of the Lillooet Area.
"I was born in Lytton, BC. I am a survivor of the Fountain Day School program, St. Joseph's Mission at Williams Lake Indian Residential School, and the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I completed my high school at Lillooet Secondary School in Lillooet, BC.
On the end of high school graduation in Lillooet, I attended Selkirk College in The Forest Technologist program. In 1972, on the completion of the Firest Technologistm I started working with the Forest Industry with Finlay Forest Products Ltd. In 1988, I was transferred to the Robson Valley Forest District in McBride, BC as the Engineering Officer. I retired from the Forest Service in 2019.
My carving inspiration comes from other indigenous artists from the west coast, Haida, and other native artists. I first started carving totem poles while in Kamloops Indian School, taught by a west coast Native teacher. Earlier totem carving I made from thick Cottonwood bark. In McBride, I mainly use Western Red Cedar and have had Coastal Yellow Cedar given to me by friends. I use Western Red Cedar bark for headdresses of various bird carvings. I've also carved and painted war paddles, native war clubs, talking sticks, beaded hat bands, deer hoof rattles, medicine pouches, and drum handle sticks."