'It's like taking back what was ours:' SFN totem poles installed at Departure Bay beach

By Ian Holmes
June 20, 2018 - 6:15pm Updated: June 20, 2018 - 11:16pm

SFN chief Michael Wyse during the unveiling of two newly installed totem poles at Departure Bay beach.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Officials officially unveiled new totem poles at Departure Bay Beach Wednesday afternoon. The poles were made by SFN carver Joel Good.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

SFN drummers entertain guests beneath two newly placed 16-foot high totem poles at Departure Bay Beach.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Snuneymuxw First Nation has a strengthened presence at their traditional Departure Bay village site.

Two 16-foot totem poles made by SFN carver Joel Good were revealed at a ceremony Wednesday at the north end of the waterfront walkway at Departure Bay beach.

Good said it's important to boost the amount of Indigenous art work in culturally significant areas around Nanaimo.

“It's like taking back what was ours in essence, we have that representation that should have always been here.”

Good said the creation features a mythological raven and sea serpents, which were said to be in the waters of the Departure Bay area. He said a frog signifies good luck, while an eagle topping one of the poles is their family crest.

“To represent our people and our family which are of the hereditary chief clan, to represent us on our traditional home...this is such a big deal.”

The poles, linked by an Indigenous themed metal portal, were a partnership between the City of Nanaimo, SFN and TimberWest, who donated the western cedar logs.

Good said the totem poles face the ocean, as does all traditional SFN art work, because all of their guests came from the sea.

Good spent seven months carving the poles and he was quick to praise his father for providing invaluable help.

SFN chief Michael Wyse admired the new addition to Departure Bay.

“It's a very proud day today to come together to honour our members who have provided our community a very beautiful piece of art work that's going to let the world know who Snuneymuxw is.”

 

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