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Canada's Ark of the Covenant: the Truth and Reconciliation Bentwood Box

by Debbie Bathgate, Nurse Practitioner

June_2012_016 An Ark is a chest which protects the sacred.   Covenant is defined as “An agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.”
The traditional Aboriginal ark of the covenant is the Bentwood Box.  Commissioned by Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Commission, this box was made of one continuous piece of steamed and bent cedar, by west coast Salish artist, Luke Martson.  The carved panels represent the unique cultures of former First Nations, Inuit, and Metis students. Luke Martson also pays respect to his own grandmother by depicting her residential school experience at Kuper Island in the carvings.

This special Bentwood Box travels to all national Truth and Reconciliation events where offerings are placed in it to commemorate personal journeys towards healing and reconciliation. The box rests on the ceremonial blanket, front and center at all the national TRC events, as an vessel of honorary witness.  This beautiful ceremonial ark of the covenant  is recognized as the sacred symbol for the healing journey which will change Canada forever.

accessed July 1, 2012
accessed July 1, 2012
accessed July 1, 2012