The Kaatza Historical Society and Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation’s gathering space outside the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives will be funded by the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
Through its new THRIVE Small Capital Program, ICE-T has granted the two groups $50,000 to pay for the totem pole that will provide the centerpiece of the new outdoor display.
“This project perfectly aligns to the new THRIVE Small Capital Program goals of helping to drive innovation and energy back into our communities,” said ICE-T board chair Aaron Stone.
“The new gathering space will play an important role as a shared place for open exchange, across ages and cultures, and will help promote visitor interest and pull economic activity and growth back into Lake Cowichan’s downtown core.”
The new meeting place will feature Indigenous art, history and information displays, along with seating areas around the totem pole, to be carved by Ts’uubaa asatx artist Josh Watts.
According to the plans, information panels flanking the pole will interpret the pole’s meaning, highlight carving techniques as well as tell the story of the Ts’uubaa asatx First Nation.
The seats themselves will be designed and constructed as a collaboration between Watts and a local woodworker.
What’s more, the area will be accessible and inclusive “helping to ensure it appeals to various ages and abilities,” according to a press release.
A “fully wheelchair accessible pathway from the visitor carpark to the gathering area will be built, the information panels will include a Braille section (as well as abide to best design practices such as colour contrasting, headers and images) and an audio recording will be made available at the museum.”
Kaatza Historical Society president Pat Foster is excited to see the project moving ahead.
“We are excited to work with the Ts’uubaa asatx to execute this socially important partnership project as a ‘new way of doing things’,” she said.
In March, Kaatza Historical Society received $35,689 from Heritage BC’s 150 Time Immemorial Grant Program for displays within the museum for a project entitled ‘Indigenizing the Public History of Cowichan Lake: A Kaatza Historical Society and Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation Partnership’.