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Rikki Kooy, Spirit Elk Woman, is an elder/artist/designer from the Secwepemc and St’atl’imc Nations. She is a third-generation residential school survivor. Her shared hope is to support community towards healing through wisdom sharing, storytelling, and hands-on engagement in reconciliation through art. A renowned textile artist, she has designed assorted pieces that reside within our own Diocese.

Rikki is the lead designer of the “Feather Dance” reconciliation project, which she describes 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. The current work is here at the Cathedral with the creation of a Reconciliation Prayer Pole. Rikki’s stated intention is to recognize the deep value of diverse cultures coming together to deepen their understandings of each other, and to showcase art made as a symbol of the healing capacity of beauty and goodness. 

Rikki serves as a mentoring Elder to multiple communities, including St. Hildegard Sanctuary and now at Christ Church Cathedral here in the Diocese of New Westminster. As a mentoring elder, Rikki brings wisdom and cultural sharing. She offers consultation as we consider what it means for us to be good ancestors and seek to do the work of truth and reconciliation. In Rikki’s words, “It’s all about love and relationships.” 

Any opportunity to be with Rikki is a rich and sacred time. We are especially grateful to have Rikki with us to honour Orange Shirt Day on Friday, September 30. We hope many will join in making reconciliation prayer flags for the Cathedral prayer pole which is in process. Rikki is a cousin of Phyliss Webstad, the creator of Orange Shirt Day, whose story we hear. On Saturday, October 1, Rikki’s daughter Racelle will be sharing with us as well. Racelle was the communications lead in sharing the monumental and heart-wrenching news of the missing children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School with the world. Join in an evening of cultural sharing, as we learn songs, share in ceremony, and hear her reflections. On Sunday, both will be with us at our 10:30am service.