TimberWest has donated two cedar trees harvested in the Nuuchah-nulth First Nations territory to Vancouver Island University for its Shq'aphut totem pole project.
Carvers representing three Vancouver Island First Nations are tasked with creating the totem poles, which will be placed at the entrance of Shq'aphut, the Aboriginal Gathering Place at VIU. The donated cedars were delivered VIU's G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre and blessed by members of the Nuuchah-nulth people at a ceremony on Friday.
VIU Students' Union is spearheading the initiative and said the project isn't possible without the help of TimberWest.
"These logs are very special, as they help to represent the diversity of indigenous peoples that have lived in this region for many thousands of years," VIUSU chairwoman Sherry McCarthy said in a release.
Carver George Hunt Jr., from Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation thanked the Students' Union
and TimberWest for making the totem pole project possible.
"We feel this is a unifying project that is bringing together like-minded people, First Nations and non-First Nations. As carvers, this project means a lot to us."
Three totems will be stationed at the Shq'aphut for the first phase of the project. The public is invited to view the totem carving outside Shq'aphut by Hunt, Qwaya Sam from Ahousaht First Nation, Noel Brown from Snuneymuxw, and Thomas Jones from Snuneymuxw.