Western Forest Products Donates Cedar Logs to Complete VIU Totem Project

Sherry McCarthy (l), VIUSU Chairperson, and Qwaya Sam, a member of Ahousaht First Nation and one of the carvers in the totem pole project, take part in the blessing ceremony for two cedar trees donated by Western Forest Products.

March 24, 2015 - 9:45am

Two cedar trees harvested in the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations territory on Vancouver Island’s west coast have been donated by Western Forest Products (WFP) to Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) totem pole project.

The donated cedars were delivered by WFP to VIU’s G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre on East Wellington Road, where they were blessed March 16 in traditional First Nations protocol by members of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, in whose territory the logs were harvested.

VIU Elder in Residence Geraldine Manson and Reg Sam, Pathways and Student Success Supervisor for Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council led a cedar brushing ceremony, witnessed by representatives from VIU, the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU), Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and Western Forest Products.

The totem carving project is an initiative of VIUSU, led by VIUSU Chairperson Sherry McCarthy.

“The Students’ Union is very grateful for this generous donation of these two logs from Western Forest Products — we wouldn’t be able to complete this totem pole project without their contribution,” said McCarthy. “This donation helps our project represent the diversity of Indigenous Peoples that have lived in this region for many thousands of years.”

WFP Manager Paul Nuttall offered his congratulations to everyone involved in advancing the totem pole project.

“Western Forest Products is pleased to support First Nations in their initiatives to preserve and revitalize their cultural interests, and we are grateful to be able to contribute toward this project at VIU,” he said. “The poles carved from these logs will be used to welcome people to Shq’apthut, the Aboriginal Gathering Place at VIU, representing a special place for not only First Nations students but for all to learn about First Nations culture and this land's history."

 Totems are being carved with donations of trees by Western Forest Products, TimberWest and Island Timberlands.

The public is welcome to view ongoing totem carving outside Shq’aphut. An unveiling of the first two completed totems in the project is expected later this spring.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E: shari.bishopbowes@viu.ca T: @viunews


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