This geocache is part of the Gold Country GeoTour – The Prequel: Be A Guest. This GeoTour focuses on a step back in time to learn about before the Gold Rush ensued: languages of the region’s culturally diverse families, handed down traditions such as recipes, flora and fauna, historic sites of significance, and points of interest. These stories will help preserve the oral languages and traditions of the region as well as assist in educating visitors and locals alike to the cultural diversity and environmental sensitivity of the region.
The Harmony Bell
Theme: Site of Significance
Project Spearheaded by: Marina Papais and Dan Collet
The Harmony Bell is a reconciliation piece led by Dan Collett and Marina Papais, with the help of different community groups. Combined efforts from Ashcroft Rotary, The Village of Ashcroft, Ashcroft Lions, with funding from New Pathways to Gold enabled the creation of the 21' tall Harmony Bell. The Harmony Bell project was completed 2018.
Wander through the beautifully landscaped Heritage Park to the south end in Ashcroft, BC and you will discover the Harmony Bell. The Harmony Bell is a beautiful sight that cannot be missed while visiting Heritage Park. A brilliant four-sided mosaic piece encloses a bell that can be rung anytime for world peace. The meaning behind each side is an artistic statement regarding the history of Ashcroft. The four main cultures represented in the Harmony Bell are Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese, and the European Canadian Settlers. This bell was designed to represent the four main cultures that reside in and helped to build the community now known as Ashcroft, BC, and their history. It became a study of modest beginnings, integration, love, and acceptance of differences when the families of the four cultural group were asked to submit family photographs. Not only does this art installation celebrate the history of the Indigenous peoples in Ashcroft, but it also showcases how the indigenous culture eventually came to mingle with the other cultures usually through marriage.
The Native American side of the Harmony Bell tells the story of the first peoples to live in Ashcroft. The Nlaka’pamux were recognized as original peoples and Mariana’s artwork of the Indigenous families who helped shape Ashcroft into what it is today was forever memorialized. The artwork includes not only the peoples since the time out of mind, but also present day and instills hope for the future. The Chinese side represents the workers who came to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Japanese side is a cherry blossom which conveys the Japanese internment camps that were in Ashcroft during World War II. Lastly, the European side of the Harmony Bell is a Celtic design which pays homage to the early settlers who came to Ashcroft.
The Harmony Bell is not only a beautiful work of art, but it is also a powerful symbol of reconciliation, and acts as a catalyst to encourage people to reflect on what harmony between cultures means. Ashcroft, BC is located on the unseeded territory of the Nlaka’pamux, and the Indigenous people still hunt, gather and fish the same areas since time immemorial. The Harmony Bell is a way of acknowledging the first people of this land, and it can be rung at anytime for world peace.
Written and Researched by Brandy Cooper-Chardon