Totem pole a combination of efforts
A 12-foot-tall totem pole, the first to be unveiled at a secondary school in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, was unveiled Tuesday morning at Garibaldi Secondary school.
The ceremony took place in the new hallway by the library, where the totem pole now stands.
“For the students, it was really a labour of love,” said Art Hagen, B.C. First Nations 12 teacher at Garibaldi, adding that the pole was placed centrally in the school where hundreds of students will walk by it every day.
The pole was acquired two and a half years ago, one of many from the 2006 wind storm that wreaked havoc in Stanley Park.
For five months it was dried. Then in November 2010 the pole was blessed and the carving began.
Carved on the pole is water representing the Alouette River, snaking up to the pinnacle of the Golden Ears mountains.
There is a bear and an eagle, traditional symbolism of being wise, proud and strong.
There is also a scene of two students being taught by an Elder, an idea the B.C. First Nations 12 students found important to include on the pole.
All creative ideas for the pole came from students at Garibaldi and were turned into a design by artist and cultural advisor Quentin Harris.
Master carver Huuyaah then took over to guide the carving of the pole to completion.
During the ceremony on Tuesday Grade 11 students Ashton Bontron and Matthiew Laing officially unveiled the pole to a gathering of First Nations dignitaries, RCMP, staff and students at Garibaldi.
Vice-principal Anelma Brown plans to push for a second pole. The more the better, she says.
“It’s art, number one. It’s original art and it’s by the students.”