About the Reconciliation Prayer Pole and Flags
In June 2022, Indigenous elder and designer Rikki Kooy (Spirit Elk Woman) was
welcomed to Christ Church Cathedral. At that time Rikki introduced the creation of a
Reconciliation Prayer Pole for the Cathedral. The wood for the pole was sourced from Pacific coast beach wood, then carved and inscribed with calligraphy, and wrapped with melton. People have gathered on multiple occasions to learn from Rikki and work on prayer flags for the pole. Each design is the unique prayer of the individual who created it. Each flag has a button. The buttons honour the children who never came home. The prayer pole comes out of the Feather Dance Reconciliation Project of St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary, which is an ongoing work of Indigenous led, Indigenous-settler collaboration in textile art.
The purpose of the pole and flags is to continue to bear witness to the reconciliation process, remembering that the work of the uncovering of the children that never returned carries forward. The pole is meant to be a living, ongoing work, and materials for creating prayer flags continue to be available to any and all who wish to participate.
Rikki writes: “As we work together, we create our own expression, our way to connect with reconciliation through the prayer flags. We connect with ourselves first - to a need, or a wish. We desire to connect with others and desire to connect with Creator or Higher Power. Each person has a need for caring relationship and understanding. Love’s purpose is to reconcile.“
About Rikki Kooy
Rikki Kooy, Spirit Elk Woman, is an elder/artist/designer from the Secwepemc and St’atl’imc Nations. She is a survivor of multiple generations of residential school survivors. Her shared hope is to support community towards healing through wisdom sharing, storytelling, and hands-on engagement in reconciliation through art. Rikki is the lead designer of the Feather Dance Reconciliation Project of St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary. Rikki describes “Feather Dance” as “the work of hands extended in friendship, reaching out to each other, and walking the journey of faith together. The project is an ongoing work of truth and reconciliation that has reached into and beyond our Diocese. Rikki serves as a mentoring Elder to multiple church communities, including St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary and Christ Church Cathedral here in the Diocese of New Westminster. A renowned textile artist, she has designed assorted pieces that reside within the Diocese.