Gabriola Island South Beach (Richard Pullano photo)

Gabriola Island South Beach

(Richard Pullano photo)

Gabriola Island

Aboriginal Experiences


Petroglyphs – rock carvings – are one of humanity's most ancient forms of expression.

All it took was an artist, a tool and a rock surface. When color was added with fingertips or brushes, it became a pictograph.

Gabriola Island is known in some quarters as "Petroglyph Island" because of its abundance of ancient rock carvings. The artists were the Snuneymuxw First Nation, a Coast Salish people believed to have been here for 5,000 years.

Snuneymuxw First Nation Petroglyphs

Gabriola was a natural for rock carving because the island is composed of sandstone, which is soft and easy to work. Native subjects sprang from nature – fish, serpents, birds, stick-like human figures, creatures of mythic design and fanciful life forms combining human and animal forms.

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