A close-up of the poles that are going to be raised Oct. 27. Photo supplied

Witness the raising of welcome poles in Courtenay

Witness the historic raising of two Welcome Poles in downtown Courtenay.

The Comox Valley Art Gallery, in partnership with the K’ómoks First Nation and City of Courtenay, hosts a Welcome Pole Raising Ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at 580 Duncan Ave.

The project is seen as a step toward reconciliation and recognition of the historic relationship the K’ómoks peoples have had with this valley for thousands of years.

“We are honoured to be hosting this ceremony, and to work in relation with K’ómoks Elders, Chief and council, artists and with the support of the City of Courtenay,” says Sharon Karsten, CVAG director. “The poles mark a powerful symbol – they remind us of the history of this place, and of the strength of K’ómoks cultures and traditions.”

Two new Puntlege-designed poles have been created by artists Karver Everson and Randy Frank. They have worked under the mentorship of master carver Calvin Hunt, and have been advised by K’ómoks Elders in design and technique. The poles are being placed downtown at the Centre for the Arts plaza outside the art gallery.

The event celebrates, as well, the development of an Indigenous plants garden – created in partnership with Barb Whyte, a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and Elder from the KFN.

The ceremony will include acknowledgements and a pole blessing ceremony. A light lunch will be served.

Visitors will have an opportunity to view the exhibition, Nump Ma Noche Gyai Yoo Lahss / We All Come From One Root. A body of work created by Kwakwakwk’wakw artist John Powell / Winidi, this exhibition speaks to a powerful inter-connectedness of First Nations identities, embedded within cultural practices, diversity, ceremony, art and the everyday.

We welcome you to witness this historic event and honoring.

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