June 18, 2017 7:06 pm

Okanagan artwork billboard gets people thinking about Aboriginal experience in Canada

Rethink 150 Indigenous Truth billboard goes up near Lake Country.

Bryon McLuckie/Global News
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The Okanagan’s newest billboard isn’t meant to sell something. It’s meant to provoke thought and foster understanding.

The billboard artwork is called Reality 150 Indigenous Truth. It went up Saturday on Okanagan Indian Band reserve land along Highway 97 near Lake country

Its images, including those representing colonialism, the church and its residential schools and environmental destruction, are meant to symbolize the repression of First Nations over 150 years of Canada’s existance.

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“It speaks worldly of the anguish and despair we went through,” said project spokesperson Dixon Terbasket who hopes the billboard will get people thinking about the historical relationship between Indigenous people and other Canadians.

“It’s very dark,” said Terbasket. “Learn about it, what we are, who we are and what we went through so they understand why you see us and we’re angry and upset. If you were in my shoes, I bet you’d be upset too.”

The artist who created the billboard helped put it up.

“I think the past has been very painful for Indiginious culture and people,” said Crystal Przybille.

She’s hoping the billboard will create further awareness of that.

“So that people are less racist, so they understand why some of the pain and dysfunction exists in Indigenous society and to have more understanding and more compassion for that.”

It’s the second Rethink 150 billboard. There’s also one on reserve lands in the Similkameen Valley.

“I’m proud of what we’re doing here, trying to educate people,” said Terbasket.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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