With drumming, singing and dancing, Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School’s totem pole rose in their lobby, a permanent symbol of the school’s connection with local First Nations culture.
Haisla carver Nathan Wilson began working on a raw log on February 11 which would become the pole, with a raven on top and a beaver at the bottom.
“They represent unity and community within the Haisla clan system, those two work really well together,” he explained.
He said it was an emotional day seeing everyone out for the celebration, from mentors to students who helped out during the carving process.
“It’s very empowering, just feel very humbled at the whole experience,” he said. “This was my first pole raising, all the attention is set on me and it’s very rewarding. Like a big roller coaster of emotions.”
“There was a lot of support,” he added.
The totem pole committee at the school was also ecstatic with the event.
“This is a real, visual, concrete symbol of the work that we do behind the scenes, and have done for a number of years and continue to do,” said committee member Katherine Johnsen.
Sheila Duncan said it’s a real symbol of unity, and also praised fellow committee member Gail Amos for her leadership.
“If it wasn’t for her…I think I’d be running around with my head cut off. This thing all happened with her leadership.”