Rena Point Bolton
Coast Salish (Sto:lo) Nation
During Rena Point Bolton’s childhood, creating Aboriginal art and hosting potlatches were banned. It was under these circumstances that her life as a cultural leader began. From an early age, her mother and grandmother taught her the traditional songs, history, arts and crafts of her people, passing on the responsibility to keep the traditions alive.
Rena has since dedicated her life to learning and teaching the traditional arts of not only the Sto:lo and Thompson nations of her ancestors, but also the Tsimshian arts of her husband’s territory. She has become a foundational link between the traditional weavers and culture bearers and those working today. Her expertise as a weaver and teacher are complemented with her decades of service in the Indian Homemakers Association and the Indian Crafts Assistance Program.
She has served in many capacities to help actualize the rights of aboriginal peoples, such as the right to health care, education, and economic parity. She encouraged and taught aboriginal people to practice traditional aboriginal arts, when it was illegal to do so in Canada (prior to 1951 lifting of the anti-potlatch law). One of her main concerns today is for the preservation of the natural world. The deep forest is where she respectfully harvests the cedar and spruce roots and cedar bark she uses to create her exquisite baskets.
2010 British Columbia Aboriginal Creative Achievement Award
2011 “Coast Salish Masterworks”, Coastal Peoples Gallery