Totem poles revealed near Gathering Place

Fri. Jun. 26/15

Vancouver Island University held a celebration on Thursday to commemorate the raising of two totem poles on university grounds east of the Aboriginal Gathering Place.

The totem poles represent the First Nations language groups on the Island, and were carved by Snuneymuxw artist Noel Brown and Ahousaht First Nation artist Qwaya Sam.

A third totem pole has yet to be carved and will represent the Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

Brown said it was an honour and privilege to hear the crowd's applause when the totems were revealed.

He wanted to thank his wife, Tammy, elder Peter Good and his father, Jerry Brown, for his guidance. Sherry McCarthy, the president of the Vancouver Island University Students Union, got emotional when talking about the project. "I actually never thought I would see the day when this ended. I'm honoured to be here and be part of the process. I don't think there are words that can explain the happiness I felt," she said.

The totems were carved out of western red cedar trees, which were gifts to the university from Island Timberlands, Western Forest Products, Timberwest and First Nations from Vancouver Island.