Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Elders Gathering to feature spirit pole carving ceremony

Prince Rupert residents can leave their mark on history on Tuesday, as a Spirit pole will be worked on in Prince Rupert as part of the BC First Nation's Elders Gathering currently taking place at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The pole which is destined for Cowichan's 2008 North American Indigenous Games later this summer, will be on display and available for local input from 11:30 am to 4 pm, among those set to make their mark is British Columbia Lieutenant General Steven Point.

The spirit pole is currently on a tour of the province leading up the games in August, its arrival during the middle day of the gathering of BC's First Nations elders is in part a salute to the elders as well as a way to bring attention to the games.

The Daily news featured details of the plans for the Spirit pole as their front page story in Monday's paper.

Spirit Pole arrives in city tomorrow on its epic journey around British Columbia
By Carla Wintersgill
The Daily News
Monday, July 07, 2008

Page one

Ruperites will get to carve a piece of history this Tuesday when Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Steven Point will be on hand to help in the carving of a commemorative totem pole.
The Spirit Pole is part of efforts to mark the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games and is currently in the midst of a 13-week, 50 community tour.

Along the way, the 20-foot red cedar log will be turned into a ceremonial story pole and raised at the opening ceremony of the Games.

Point, who is in Rupert for the Elders Conference will be among those taking part in the carving event.

People are being invited to come out and contribute to the carving by putting their own cut into the pole.

Leading the tour will be master carver Carey Newman, a Coast Salish and Kwaguilth artist with 20 years of carving experience.

"I love that the people of B.C. will help carve the Spirit Pole," said Newman. "I was blown away by the idea when I first heard about it, and I'm honoured to be able to take part."

Everyone will get a chance to carve a piece of the log as well as learn about traditional carving methods and aboriginal history.

"The Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole is our opportunity to bring the message of the Games to all of British Columbia and to celebrate our shared history," said vice-chair of the Games, Al Edkins.
Designed by Newman, the pole will commemorate the history of B.C. Aboriginal people by showing the past, present and future of the culture.

The wolf in the middle of the pole represents the past. Variations of the wolf can be seen on many poles from the early days to the present.

A salmon swimming upstream illustrates the present. This ritual represents the cycle of life.
On the top of the pole is an eagle, representing the future. The eagle is strong and proud and expresses a positive future when the young leaders are learning from their elders.

The Spirit Pole carving takes place on Tues., July 8, between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Jim Ciconne Civic Centre.

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