Sesquicentennial Totem unveiled in Duncan

Project part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations

The 22-foot high Sesquicentennial Totem celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 was unveiled with great fanfare on March 23 in Duncan.

The totem was commissioned by the City of Duncan, with funding from the federal Celebration & Commemorative Program-Canada 150 Fund, and carved by Tommy Hunt Jr. from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation.

More than 100 people, including representatives from Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan, the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation and members of the public attended the unveiling of the totem at Station Street Park in downtown Duncan.

The totem, called “Clan Totem of Our Nations”, travelled to four communities in the Cowichan Valley — Lake Cowichan, Mill Bay, Chemainus and Duncan — as it was being carved during 2017 to allow for community members to take part in the project.

It has the features of a bald eagle, the sun, mother, children, black bear, salmon and a bubble man carved into it.

“I would like to thank the City of Duncan for looking at reconciliation and moving forward in honouring our four communities,” Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said at the unveiling after children pulled the rope to release the covering of the totem.

“The project is an example of the good working relationship we have with the city and I would like to congratulate everyone on the work they have done to make this happen.”

Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said the totem is a symbol that bridges the two cultures.

“It’s a beautiful work of art that will be a significant part of the area’s history,” he said.

“We are grateful to unveil this new totem pole in the context of all being family, celebrating and working together for the past 150 years.”

Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, said Duncan, the City of Totems, attracts tourists from all over the world to view its traditional Coast Salish totem poles.

“This Canada 150 Totem Pole will be a great addition to our cherished collection,” he said.

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Sesquicentennial Totem unveiled in Duncan

Sesquicentennial Totem unveiled in Duncan

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