Three majestic totem poles grace the entrance to Shq’aphut, the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Vancouver Island University (VIU). The $50,000 project of the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU) originally envisioned by VIUSU chairperson Sherry McCarthy began in spring of 2014 with the selection of three carvers to represent First Nations with close ties and proximity to VIU.

As VIU operates in the tribal territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Coast Salish and the Nuu-chah-nulth, the work of artists from these territories created the poles. 

The idea for a student-led totem pole initiative gained support from a broad base of student supporters and faculty to VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Ralph Nilson.

VIU Totem Pole project

Totem Celebration at Vancouver Island University - Oct. 12, 2016

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