Raising a Totem Pole at The Hub

On October 15th, the CSAA was honoured to formally receive and raise a totem pole gifted by Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Rupert Scow. Hundreds of community members gathered to witness, raise and celebrate together in a public ceremony. Just over a year ago, Rupert was welcomed by Quw’utsun elders, to complete the carving of his totem pole. Rupert welcomed everyone to share in the process of this special project.

“I think that in order for reconciliation to begin people need to be brought together first. That way dialogue can start. It will begin with different people expressing ideas and getting to know one another. By getting to know one another we will learn that we are all human and need to work together to find peaceful solutions that we can all live with.”

Rupert Scow

How the Pole Came to The Hub

Rupert is Kwikwasut’inuxw “The people of the Bear,” from the village of Gwa’yasdams on Gilford Island. He is a skilled artist and carver, who learned to carve at a young age and who comes from a lineage of well-known carvers. Rupert began carving this, his first totem pole, over 10 years ago, but his work was interrupted by a stroke in 2016. The pole has travelled with him through several moves and a journey of recovery, arriving together in the Cowichan Valley last summer.

Rupert has been welcomed here, on the traditional land of the Quw’utsun people where he now resides and continues to create art, teach others, and share his storytelling. In October last year, Rupert invited Indigenous and nonindigenous people to a feast that he hosted at The HUB, where he was given a blessing from Quw’utsun elders to complete the carving of his family totem in this place. Many voices have joined to welcome Rupert as he has shared the process of this special project with the community. Rupert has graciously gifted the totem pole to the CSAA in honour of the community that has welcomed him here.

The CSAA Board, staff, volunteers, and wider community have benefited greatly from Rupert’s presence, his efforts to build community, and the stories and teaching that have come from witnessing the journey of the totem pole. The CSAA is committed to continuing acts of reconciliation and learning to walk together and mend relationships.

Thank you for helping us raise the Totem Pole

For more information on Rupert’s life and work, visit his website.