As the winter rains fall in Victoria, Wawadit’la, known to many as the Mungo Martin House, sports a new roof.
Located steps from the Royal BC Museum at Belleville and Douglas streets, Wawadit’la is a cultural and architectural landmark constructed by the world-renowned artist Mungo Martin, Kwakwaka’wakw Chief Nakap’ankam, in 1953.
— Victoria News (@VictoriaNews) January 23, 2019
The new roof consists of a metal roof sandwiched between two layers of wood, maintaining the cultural and esthetic elements of the building. Canadian Heritage provided $157,670 for the project to replace the roof, which reflected the original design from 1953.
“My family and I wish to thank Heritage Canada for helping to preserve Wawadit’la as a place to share culture and honour Mungo Martin’s work as a teacher,” said Chief David Knox, Martin’s great-grandson.
Wawadit’la is an Indigenous-run space that operates under the stewardship of the Royal BC Museum. It houses significant Indigenous house posts, carvings, painted curtains, a dance screen and a log drum.
The traditional hereditary rights of Wawadit’la are now the property of Martin’s great-grandson´Walas ´Namugwis, Chief David Knox of Fort Rupert, near Port Hardy.
“The Royal BC Museum has always felt honoured and humbled to be the caretaker of this significant cultural treasure,” said Royal BC Museum CEO Prof. Jack Lohman. “We are grateful to Canadian Heritage for its support in repairing Wawadit’la, a house that continues to host significant cultural ceremonies every year.”
The museum’s Indigenous and Repatriation Department consulted with the Knox family at every stage during the roof replacement.
“Museums allow us to deepen our knowledge and understanding of our collective stories and shared history,” said Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Canadian heritage and multiculturalism. “I commend the Royal BC Museum for its role in safeguarding invaluable Indigenous artifacts and making treasures like Wawadit’la accessible for all to appreciate and enjoy. Our government is thrilled to support this vital cultural infrastructure project.”