Nelson residents will be able to take part in a unique art project as part of the celebration for the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games. To commemorate the rich history of British Columbia’s Aboriginal peoples and share the story of the international multi–sport games, a Coast Salish artist will transform a 20–foot western red cedar log into a traditional story pole. Nelson Spirit of BC committee spokesman and Chamber of Commerce manager Tom Thomson says the Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole Tour is really an amazing and unique project! With the log visiting more than 45 communities over a 13–week tour and under the guidance and supervision of the carver, Carey Newman, the Spirit Pole will take shape. In each community, people will be invited to try their hand at carving the log while learning about traditional carving methods and aboriginal history.
The Cowichan Spirit Pole will be in Nelson Thursday June 5th. The Spirit Pole will be set up between 11am and 3pm in the Nelson and District Community Complex parking lot. The 20–foot Western Cedar is transported throughout the province on a flat deck that transforms into the central focus staging and carving area.
Also as part of the experience there is an education exhibition that highlights BC rich First Nations diversity and history. There is also a demonstration carving area and an area for cultural performances.
The event kicks off with a special welcome ceremony. Then people are invited to try their hand at carving, with the guidance and supervision of the carving team. People will also be able to experience and enjoy the exhibit, demonstration carving area and the many other features of the event. It is expected that by the time the spirit pole is completed, as many as 10–thousand people will have contributed.
The Spirit Pole will eventually make its way to the coast and be integrated into Tribal Journeys, a celebration of Indigenous nations’ maritime heritage and one of the most prominent cultural events associated with the North America Indigenous Games.
The Cowichan Valley will welcome more than 9–thousand Aboriginal Athletes and cultural participants from across North America, as the region plays host to the 2008 North American Indigenous Games August 3rd–10th.
The Spirit Pole is one of several initiatives and community celebrations taking place throughout the province as part of the BC 150–Years program, a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of British Columbia as a Crown Colony.