The Double-Headed Serpent Saki Murotani January 20, 2020


curator Director

Susan Roy


Saki Murotani


Musqueam First Nation


© Saki Murotani

The Double-Headed Serpent

Our elders tell the history of the origin of the name Musqueam. sʔi:ɬqəy̓ was a dangerous and feared two-headed serpent that wound and twisted its way from məqʷe:m, the Camosun Bog, in the forests of ʔəlqsən to the stal̕əw̓, the Fraser River, its droppings destroying vegetation along its course. The winding trail left by the serpent as it travelled to the river became Musqueam Creek and məθkʷəy̓ grew where the serpent passed. The people became known as the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm or, anglicized, the Musqueam.

“The Double-Headed Serpent and the Origin of the Name Musqueam,” as told by mən̓eʔɬ – JAMES POINT, 1963.
The animation was projected on the featured 25’x10′ wall for one of the award-winning museum exhibition series, c̓əsnaʔəm the city before the city at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) between January 2015 and January 2020. The serpent is based on a pencil sketch by Suzanne Guerin
Digital drawing / 3D
Stills from animation