Two logos designed by 19 year old Courtney Butler will be part of the promotions for the 40th Annual B.C. Elders Gathering taking place in Williams Lake July 11 to 14.
“I was really surprised that I won, so I was pretty happy about that,” says Courtney, who graduated from Lake City Secondary School in 2014 and is currently taking the 15-month aircraft maintenance engineering course at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.
“It’s a tough program but it’s lots of fun,” Courtney says.
Courtney is specializing in helicopter maintenance and after graduating plans to work with her uncle Mike King who owns the White Saddle Air Services, charter helicopter company in Tatla Lake.
Courtney says she was keen to take her pilot’s licence but her uncle advised her to take the aircraft maintenance course first, so that she would know how to maintain and repair the vehicles she flies.
“I grew up on my grandparents’ ranch near Tatla Lake,” Courtney says in her biography.
She has an Aboriginal First Nations background and is always interested in learning about her family’s Tsilhqot’in background.
“My hobbies include competing in rodeos, barrel racing, snowmobiling, ball hockey and drawing,” Courtney says. “The artistic skills run through my family and it is one thing I always love to do.”
The theme of the gathering is River Unity, River Spirit: Keepers of the Land and Water so Courtney developed a logo that incorporates the eagle which represents spiritual protection, and carries prayers and brings strength and courage; the salmon which represents instinct, determination and persistence.
The salmon is also a symbol of abundance, wealth and prosperity because it is the primary food source for First Nations people, Courtney says.
Water is also included in this logo because the First Nations have a strong spiritual connection with water, she explains.
“Water is considered living and must be respected,” Courtney says. “These symbols of the logo represent the river unity and spirit of the eagle. The hands and salmon represent the keepers of the land and water.”
The Wild Wild West Rodeo theme is represented with the First Nations dream catcher circle, around which are silhouettes of the First Nation warriors and rodeo elements, with a bull rider in the middle of the logo.
“The Wild Wild West Rodeo logo also includes the theme of a rodeo with the silhouettes of rodeo events around the circle and a bull rider in the middle of the dream catcher,” Courtney explains. “This logo represents the wild western theme of rodeo and First Nations culture put together as one.”
Courtney says she will be volunteering at the Elders Gathering and competing in the flat race during the Wild Wild West Rodeo that will be part of the gathering.