Nanaimo Public Art Inventory - KI-ET-SA-KUN (known as Coal Tyee)

Photo of the art
Artist: Dorthea E. Kennedy
Location: Mark Bate Memorial Tree Plaza (next to the Lighthouse Bistro/Pub on the downtown waterfront)
Category: Statue
Year Created: 2002
Materials: Bronze
Sponsors: Gyro Club, Women of the Moose, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Order of the Royal Purple Lodge No. 16, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 125 (Ladies Auxiliary), Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 10
Cost: N/A
Status: Public


This bronze bust was created to honour Ki-et-sa-kun (Coal Tyee). In 1951, while Ki-et-sa-kun in having his gun repaired in Victoria; he mentions the coal in Winthuysen Inlet. In 1852, James Douglas sent Joseph Mackay (the clerk for the Hudson Bay Company) to Winthuysen Inlet to investigate the reports of coal deposits. He confirms the value of the coal deposits, a year later the Company decides to close the mine at Fort Rupert (where the coal deposits were found to be inferior) and transfer its mining operations to Winthuysen Inlet. On September 10th the first shipment of coal leaves for Victoria. In honour of Ki-et-sa-kun's discovery, he was given the name Coal Tyee, meaning Great Coal Chief.

Photo by Sean Fenzl Photographer, 2020


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