Spain gives city historic drawing
- Spain gives city historic drawing
1792 picture believed to be oldest existing image of a Vancouver resident
Saturday, June 07, 2008
VANCOUVER - The government of Spain has presented the city of Vancouver and Musqueam leaders with reproductions of what is believed to be the the oldest surviving image of a person in what is now Vancouver.
The drawing, entitled Jefe de la punta de Langara -- Chief of Point Langara -- was made by Jose Cardero, who was on board Alcala Galiano's 1792 expedition. It's thought to depict a Musqueam leader on the site of what is now the Musqueam reserve in Vancouver's Point Grey area, which was once called Point Langara.
Musqueam band councillor Delbert Guerin said his best guess is that the mysterious figure in the picture is Qeyupulenuxw (also spelled Giyeplénexw), "the famous warrior who brought our warriors together and defended against the raiding northern peoples."
Qeyupulenuxw -- whose name eventually evolved into the word Capilano -- wouldn't actually have been a chief, Guerin said. Oral history suggests the Musqueam had no system of chiefs until the establishment of reserves.
Cardero Street, in the West End of Vancouver, was named after Cardero Channel between Vancouver Island the mainland, north of Campbell River.
The channel was named after Jose Cardero.
Mayor Sam Sullivan said he first saw a rough copy of the portrait during a visit to the reserve.
"I was just smitten with this painting. I was fascinated with it," Sullivan said. "I realized when I looked into the face of that person, it was the first-ever recorded picture of a resident of the city."
Musqueam leaders offered to contact Spanish officials to request reproductions of the original, held in a vault in a Madrid museum.
Mariano Alonso-Burin, Spain's ambassador to Canada, presented copies of the portrait to Sullivan and Musqueam leaders this week at Vancouver's city hall. Sullivan said the "haunting picture" will be hung in a prominent place.
Guerin said it was "heartwarming" to receive the art, but the glimpse into the past is also bittersweet. "Things have just changed so much, and it's done its damage," he said.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]