vancouver police car thunderbird


The Thunderbird

The land on which the city of Vancouver is established has been the territory of the Coast Salish peoples for thousands of years. Over the last century-and-a-half others have come and built their homes and businesses on this land. This was done without a treaty or ceding of land by the Coast Salish. Today we share their land as the treaty process moves forward.

The Vancouver Police acknowledge the traditional ownership of this land and the history of colonization through displaying the Coast Salish thunderbird motif on marked police cars. This display is a statement of mutual respect and friendship.

The artwork by artist Susan Point is a gift from the Musqueam Band. It was presented to the Vancouver Police in a ceremony on National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2006.

In Coast Salish lore, the thunderbird is a majestic supernatural creature. He has a huge curved beak and three tail feathers, representing change from past to present and then into the future. The thunderbird is a guardian spirit acting on behalf of those weaker. He is greatly respected as the hero in many legends of the Coast Salish. The thunderbird symbolizes strength, principle and courage. He is also a link to the spirit world of the creator.

The artist, Susan Point, states of the thunderbird, "Thunderbird, living high in the mountains, was the most powerful of all spirits. When the thunderbird flaps his wings, thunder crashes and lightning flashes from his eyes. The thunderbird is a protective figure, representing protection for the members of the Vancouver Police Force, and the protection that they offer to the citizens of Vancouver. The crescent behind the ear represents a watchful eye."

Proudly displayed on Vancouver police cars, the thunderbird inspires security and harmony for all those today who are on these traditional lands.

VPD Dodge Charger Police Car

Interested in learning more about the artist Susan Point?

Visit her website at www.susanpoint.com.