The Story of ch’inkw’u (two-headed sea serpent)

Art to be installed Spring/Summer of 2021

In she shashishalhem (shishalh [Sechelt] language), ch’inkw’u translated into English is ‘two-headed sea serpent’. The sea serpent symbolizes a legendary animal with infinite strength to preserve and restore balance amongst all living things.

Traditionally, I was taught that the two heads represent both male and female counterparts, one symbolizing good and the other evil. ch’inkw’u was capable of being a faithful guardian to many creatures, big or small, as well as the protector of the land. In return, animals would bestow offerings and gifts onto ch’inkw’u as an expression of gratitude. Such offerings would include an abundant variety of nourishment from Mother Nature, such as fresh salmon from the many creeks across the land and energy from the moon.

As legend tells, ch’inkw’u had many faithful friends and allies. 

The thunderbird protects from the sky with its boundless power, vision and strength. 

The frog has a unique power of freezing during winter and returning to life in the spring.

The salmon are abundant offerings of nourishment from Mother Nature.

The killer whale, as guardian of the sea, protects all creatures and maintains harmony in the ocean.

The wolf ensures the stability of the land with its courage, tenacity and speed. 

The owl summons good and evil spirits in the night while imparting deep wisdom.

These spiritual animal legends are told from many tribal perspectives across many nations, each as equally significant as the next.

Please respect and honour them all.

Manuela Salinas,

Proud Mom, Artist and Educator

  • Animal art to be installed at Tsain-Ko Centre Spring/Summer of 2021