Trees donated for totem project at VIU

NANAIMO – TimberWest gives two cedar trees to university for totems to be placed outside aboriginal gathering centre on campus.

Two cedar trees harvested in the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations territory on Vancouver Island’s west coast have been donated by TimberWest to Vancouver Island University’s totem pole project.

The donated cedars were delivered by the Island-based forest company to VIU’s G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre on East Wellington Road, where they were blessed by members of the Nuu-chah-nulth people at a ceremony earlier this month. The trees were harvested in the northern region of Nuu-chah-nulth territory, on Ehattesaht First Nation territory.

Two of the four carvers involved in the project, Qwaya Sam (Ahousaht First Nation) and George Hunt Jr. (Kwakwaka’wakw) were in attendance along with Nuu-chah-nulth singer and Elder-in-Training Steven Howard.

As the first phase in the totem pole project, three totems will grace the entrance of Shq’aphut, the Aboriginal Gathering Place at VIU.

Over the summer and fall months, the public is invited to view totem carving outside Shq’aphut by Hunt and Sam, and Snuneymuxw carvers Noel Brown and Thomas Jones.