As part of the ceremony marking the opening of Foundry Sea to Sky on Friday (March 31), a Welcome Totem Pole was unveiled at the entrance of the facility at 38646 Buckley Avenue.
The 2.5-metre cedar pole was designed by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) artist See-appl-tun (Art Harry) with help from eight local youth: Connor Spence, Jaedon Cheal, Keona Nahanee, Lucus McCarthy, Noah O'Connor, Rachel Fenton, Tallula Russell, Zeia Weafer and Zene Ford.
According to its plaque, the pole symbolizes the protection of youth. The sp'akw'us (bald eagle) represents vision, honour and respect. The takáya (wolf) is the protector.
“I was really honoured to have my name brought forward to carve this totem pole," said Harry in a news release.
"We placed the eagle on top to represent all our thoughts and prayers being carried up to the creator as a blessing for youth. And below the eagle, we put the wolf. The wolf pack is like a family – looking after each other. Wolves look after their young, and if a wolf happens to get injured, the pack doesn’t leave them behind or let them go ahead. The pack lets the injured wolf lead, and the pack matches that pace," he added.
“In the carving of the totem pole, each carver helps the totem pole to gain its strength and spirit. When the carver blows the wood shavings away, they blow their spirit into the wood. The more people who work together in the totem’s creation, the stronger it will be. The youth who helped with the carving of the Welcome Totem Pole will always be part of the totem, not just in physically making it, but in its spirit.”
Foundry Sea to Sky provides free, confidential services for youth in Squamish.
Run by Sea to Sky Community Services, help for those aged 12 to 24 can be accessed through walk-ins and appointments.
The Spirit Creek complex also includes the new youth centre and 76 new affordable rental apartments.
“The new Foundry centre and Youth Hub will offer youth in Squamish counselling, peer support, outreach, social recreational programming, someone to connect with, or simply a safe space to hang out," said Alyssa McGinnis, youth services co-ordinator with Sea to Sky Community Services, in a news release, sent Friday.
Find out more about Foundry at www.foundryseatosky.com.