An 11-year-old from Tl’etinqox has won a provincial award for her poster design in FORED BC’s Traditional Knowledge and Medicine-themed artwork contest.
Janea Billyboy designed the poster when her teacher at the Tl’etinqox School in Anaham, near Alexis Creek told her there was an art contest.
The annual poster contest run by FORED celebrates the “rich cultural and heritage traditions of B.C.’s Aboriginal people.” FORED provides a $50 prize to each of the six winners, aged five to 18, of the contest.
Billyboy’s poster depicts a young First Nation girl alongside a wolf under a First Nations stylized sun and mountains. Both the words Tl’etinqox Warriors and Native Pride are written on the poster.
“I wrote that because that means we like our culture,” said Billyboy. “I drew a wolf because I like wolves and I saw one before too, so I decided to draw it.”
The mountains and the sun came from walks, and Billyboy said she was inspired by her favourite movie when she was little — Pocahontas — when she drew the young girl.
“I was thinking what to draw and something just came up in my head, so I started drawing it,” said Billyboy.
She likes drawing because it makes her feel calm, she said. When she heard that she had won a prize, she was surprised.
“I felt happy and I was surprised that I won because first I thought I wouldn’t,” she said. “I told my mom and dad and they were happy for me that I won the contest, and then my grandma heard about it and she was happy too.
“It meant a lot to me.”
Entries for the contest were received from all across B.C., and included both band and public schools as part of FORED’s Aboriginal heritage, Education and Dialogue program.
“Preserving this Aboriginal traditional knowledge that is passed on from elders to youth is vital. FORED BC is proud to be supporting this knowledge preservation as a cultural legacy,” said Victor Godin, FORED’s educational director.