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Event Recap & Video: Cowichan Totem Raising & Galaxy Foundation

The weather cooperated for one of our most ambitious undertakings to date.

In one afternoon we would be raising a 30 foot, locally carved Totem Pole, as well as announcing the Galaxy Foundation of Scholarships in partnership with some of Vancouver Islands premier colleges and trade schools.

Connecting with the Cowichan Community

The Galaxy Motors Duncan location is nearing the final stages of a rather robust refurbishment, and General Manager, Kevin McCaw felt that their business needed a little something extra to iron their commitment to the community and the land.

“We should celebrate our aboriginal heritige, which has been a big part of our success here” – Kevin Mccaw, General Sales Manager – Galaxy Motors Duncan

* footage courtesy, CHEK News.

The Family Totem

The Family is represented through the symbolism represented in the totem pole. We learned what each totem animal signified in our last blog post and during the ceremony, we had a wonderful opportunity to hear from the totem’s creator himself, explain what the carvings meant.

  • The Thunderbird – Power, protection, and strength. The most powerful of all spirits and the dominating force of all forces of nature. As such, the Thunderbird is traditionally at the top of all Northwest Coastal Totem Poles.
  • The Beaver with Baby – A determined builder of the mind, body, and soul. The Beaver symbolizes creativity, cooperation, creation, persistence and harmony. The Beaver balances work and play appropriately, encourages you to seek out your dreams, to never limit yourselves and embrace the dynamics of teamwork.
  • The Orca Whale – The Lord of the Ocean. The Orca symbolizes family, longevity, romance, harmony, community and protection. It is said that this spirit protects you when you travel and will lead you back home. They are tender animals and raise their young with care and compassion. They are the guardians of the ocean and will fiercely protect their family (pod), whom they remain with their entire lives.
  • The Frog – Symbolizing wealth and abundance, the Frog also reminds us not to get too bogged down with the day to day minutiae. The totem of water tells us to acknowledge our feelings and to get in touch with our emotions. The Frog and Orca are facing each other which allows the Frog to share its knowledge and power through its outstretched tongue. Frogs are frequently placed at the bottom of totems to prevent the pole from collapse.

 

Establishing Strength and Togetherness

Cowichan elder, and lead carver, Harold Joe was on hand for the ceremony and had these words to say about the experience.

“It’s an honour” – Harold Joe, Cowichan Elder & Master Carver

* footage courtesy, CHEK News.

 

Things really started to kick off as the crane approached with the totem resting on its deck. After a few more minutes of rejigging the straps, the Totem was in the air and being prepped for its final welcoming position. Here the team steadies the 

steady-the-totem

 

Once the truck was in place the totem was secured to the crane and lifted from the deck. Everything went precisely to plan and the transformed, 30 foot cedar tree was soon hanging in the air, ready to be placed upright on its platform.

suspended-totem-pole

 

The totem was lowered onto blocks so they could re-position the straps for the final raising and placement. Once the straps were in place for the lift and some super, mega adhesive was ‘glorped’ onto the final pedestal (lower right in photo), the totem started its final ascent; gradually being pulled upright and aligned with the mounting bolts.

totem-final-positioning

 

Once secured to the mounting pad, several members of the Cowichan Tribes first nation community blessed us with traditional song and dance, welcoming the new totem into the community and acknowledging the work Galaxy Motors is doing to build bridges with the Cowichan Tribes.

The Galaxy Foundation of Scholarships

In conjunction with this memorable event, Galaxy delivered a spectacular announcement in partnership with VIU, Camosun College and the North Island College. 

Galaxy Motors Duncan Sales Manager had the esteemed pleasure of announcing that 16 scholarships will be awarded each year to second year students up and down the island at each of the 3 partner institutions.

* footage courtesy, CHEK News.

Thank you to everyone who attended in person and in spirit. If you’ve never been by our Cowichan space here’s a map:

Thank you to the following:

Please feel free to share our post or leave us some feedback. We’d love to hear from anyone who was at the event.

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