The Bank of Montreal donated $2000 to the Tseshaht First Nation’s totem pole project. The donation will go toward the construction of a concrete foundation, landscaping and signage for the two poles. Designed by Hesquiaht artist Tim Paul, the poles lie finished under a tent at Tseshaht Market.
Tseshaht Chief Councilor Les Sam was on hand to accept the cheque from BMO officials Doug Forbes-King, Doug Bourque and Sharon Powell. Forbes-King said BMO was happy to contribute to the pole project. “As a neighbor and partner to Tseshaht Market I feel we have an obligation to do our part,” said Forbes-King, “I hope this project will assist the business here by attracting more people to view these beautiful pieces of work.”
Jane Jones, Assistant Manager at Tseshaht Market says the poles will not be raised until early spring but BMO’s donation will be used to prepare a site and cement foundation. The finished site will serve as a rest area for tourists. “It will be a quiet, serene area for the tourists to enjoy,” Jones explained.
The project started June 20, 2005 and was finished November 4 at a cost of nearly $50,000. The 27’ and 25’ poles were donated by Gordon Atkinson of Coast Forest Management and were harvested at Sardis Island, Tseshaht traditional territory. Cost Forest Management, Jones explained, works in partnership with Tseshaht First Nation.
“As a neighbor and partner to Tseshaht Market I feel we have an obligation to do our part,” said Forbes-King, “I hope this project will assist the business here by attracting more people to view these beautiful pieces of work.”
Hesquiaht artist Tim Paul was contracted to create the works of art with the assistance of three Tseshaht apprentices; Gordon Dick, Tobias Watts and Willard Gallic II. The apprenticeships will allow younger generations to learn the art of carving poles so that they may also pass their skills on to more Nuu-chah-nulth artists.
There will be a formal Pole-raising ceremony early this year that will involve Hesquiaht and Tseshaht culture. Watch for the story along with more details about the poles in a future issue of the Ha-Shilth-Sa.
Funding for the project came from Human Resource Development Canada through the Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Board. Tseshaht Market spearheaded the project.
By Denise August,