Residents eagerly waiting to see the completed totem pole commissioned by the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation will have to wait a little longer, as the band’s operations manager Aaron Hamilton recently announced that the pole raising ceremony, originally scheduled for this Saturday (September 5) has been postponed. Though Hamilton could not provide a firm date for the ceremony and unveiling, he said he hopes to be ready by the first week of October.
The reason for the delay, Hamilton explained, was that the cement being used to keep the totem pole in place, in the centre of the roundabout at Ts’uubaa-asatx Square, would need more time to set before the security of the large pole could be guaranteed.
“It’s a matter of public safety, without the core cement being set,” he said. “If we poured it now and raised it on Saturday it would still be liquid, nothing would be there to keep it in the ground.”
Being the first pole that the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation has raised, Hamilton admitted that the time needed for the foundation to set was overlooked — coupled with the fact that both he and Nagi Rizk, the town’s superintendent of Public Works and Engineering, were both recently on holidays.
“It’s not the ideal situation, we want to get the pole up as soon as possible, but we’ll roll with it, that’s how it goes,” Hamilton said. “It’s the town’s land, not ours.”
On the bright side, the postponement of the pole raising ceremony may allow for more people to attend, as the original date coincided with the Labour Day weekend.
Hamilton said that he wanted to assure residents that the delay has nothing to do with the condition of the pole itself. Artist Ron Hamilton completed the pole last month, and it has since been moved to a secret location in the town, where it will be safely kept until the pole raising ceremony.
The events planned for the ceremony will also not be effected.
The band has a number of things planned for the occasion, including a traditional song and dance, which band members have been practicing in the square for the past few weeks and speeches by dignitaries involved in the project, such as artist Ron Hamilton, Mayor Ross Forrest and Chief Cyril Livingstone.
The raising of the pole will be done in quadrants, with members of the forest industry, RCMP officers, firefighters and first responders, band members and local youth all taking part in the raising of the pole.