Feature Story                                                                                        Sunday, November. 30, 2014


The Greatest Gift   

Stó:lō retail store and gallery a new home for local Native artists to showcase their talent

Staff/Voice photos


Chris Thomas drums while Francine Douglas  cuts the ribbon to officially open the Stó:lō Gift Store Friday. With her are Bonnie Graham-Krulicki and Nikki LaRock (R). Below, some items shoppers will find at the store.


t's a big step for Stó:lō artists to take – they finally have a home to showcase and sell their art.


On Friday, Francine Douglas, along with Stó:lō Resource Centre (SRC) officials, threw open the doors to the Gift Store and Interpretive Centre in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to rededicate the store which unofficially opened last summer.

Featured Stó:lō artists Bonnie Graham-Krulicki and Nikki LaRock were also on hand for the event.


Douglas told The Voice, prior to the ribbon-cutting, they put in a lot of time and energy into setting up the retail store and were all excited the day had finally come.


"The main goal of the gift shop is to raise the awareness of local, authentic handmade items, to have a place for artists to sell their items," she said.

Now they're in full-swing and booking weekly tours in the attached Interpretive Centre. Douglas was excited about the opening.

"This is to help tie it in so people will be learning about our local Stó:lō history and our culture and our technology and all of the important resources to the Stó:lō people and our culture and then have an opportunity to take something home with them," she said referring to the basket and bracelet classes offered.

Since its soft opening in the summer, the gift store has been run by Stó:lō Tourism.

But, things will be different now that the store is in the hands of the artists themselves.

"We're now open after work hours and on the weekend to provide that extra shopping opportunity. It's geared more towards the work that we're doing here," she said.

During the ceremony, Douglas told the group gathered outside the shop doors, that she was honoured and thankful for the support.

Weaving classes will be taught in the ambiance of the Interpretive Centre. Below, Francine Douglas welcomes the community on Friday.

"I think there is a small portion of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley that is excited about having a place like this become a shop and take a peek at our Stolo culture and our Stolo history home with them. This place is meant to showcase our artists. So, we are working hard to bring in artwork and craftwork from our Stolo community members and the Aboriginal community that are within our Stolo territory," said Douglas.

Chris Thomas performed a "Ceremony Song" and before leading the procession inside the store he said "What we're going to witness here today and take part in today ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters is we're going to do a cutting of the ribbon. We have Bonnie Graham-Krulicki and Francine Douglas and Nikki LaRock, all helping get this place going and today. It's a very special day for them."

"This is a great little project that we've all been working on," said said Stolo artist Bonny Graham-Krulicki. "I helped develop the store and bring the products in and make everything look pretty in here and this is a very happy day for all of us. I'm really thankful that you can all be here witih us."

For more information visit www.stolotourism.ca and watch for www.stologiftshop.com  to be online soon.

The store is located at Stó:lō Nation 7201 Vedder Rd next to Building #10. Hours are Thursday to Saturday 10am to 5:30pm. To book Cultural Tours email here and download the information sheet and booking form here.

Artist Nikki LaRock
Nikki LaRock is a Stolo Nation Qwetelhmelhet Cultural Resource Guide/Admin Assistant at the Resoure Centre on Vedder. She's also a talented artist and teacher. LaRock's father is a master carver across the Fraser River in the Chehalis community.

I was born in Chilliwack, BC and am a member of Yakweakwioose First Nation in the Stó:lõ Territory. I grew up with a strong cultural background.

In knowing my history, I have the determination to work with children and youth to keep our culture alive with arts and crafts, our language and the different healing methods to help us stay strong as First Nations people.

Some of the gifts that I have to share with others are native design fashion, painting drawing,
storytelling and teaching the Halq’eméylem language. My children are my inspiration to be all
that I can be and by sharing my k nowledge I hope to help prepare our children and youth to be our future leaders.

I do "Vintage Native Fashion Designing" And how this works, is I upcycle "your own" clothing by adding LaRock Dezines either with fabric paint or applique to create a unique piece just for you All designs are my own designs. When I paint its all freehand and I go with what I feel. When you make a custom order from LaRock Dezines, you will be the ONLY person in the WORLD to own your piece as I rarely do duplicates of my work.

She shares Halq’eméylem language and has storytelling classes with kids, teaching them how to make bracelets, medicine bags, purses.

The first two stories are stories that my great grandmother Dolly Felix used to tell and the story of Chehalis is told by the late Ed Leon and I chose to have this part of my story telling because this is where my bloodline runs, in the Chehalis Territory.

Contact Nikki La Rock via email here.

Artist Bonny Graham-Krulicki
The Salish artist, Bonny Graham Krulicki resides with her family on the West Coast of B.C. in the Fraser Valley community of Chilliwack, where her Stó:lõ ancestry dates back to the late 1800’s, a descendant of her great-grandmother (wife of William Prest) (Tata) Mary (Ben), [Schiatox], of the Skwah Reserve in Chilliwack, B.C.

Bonny was born in Hope, B.C., Canada and is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation of Nanaimo B.C., on Vancouver Island, where her mother, Ellen (Prest) Graham and grandmother Lavina (Wyse) Prest (Daughter of Chief Joe Wyse) were born.

She is currently developing her art and Halkomelem language products such as professional quality cards, bookmarks, 8x10 and 11x14 matted prints, through her own business and website and her original pieces and prints are on exhibit in Southwest B.C. Wholesale, custom, business and personal orders available through Bonny via email here.

Learn more about Bonny here and visit her website at: www.bwyse.ca 

Related Links

Stolo Tourism Gift Store Grand Opening - November 28, 2014


© Copyright (c) 2009-2014 The Valley Voice


















































Thanks for looking.