PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERLEY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY Tyson’s Thoughts is a weekly column posted online every Thursday at northislandgazette.com and in print the following Wednesday. Have some thoughts of your own about my thoughts? email editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish them online and in print.

Tyson’s Thoughts: History in the making at Port McNeill totem pole ceremony

The crowd of 1,200-1,500 people, young and old, were clearly thrilled to be there to witness history

I’m ready to talk about the Port McNeill totem pole ceremony.

Gathering my thoughts together on the subject into a clear and concise format has been a fairly tough task, but after thinking about it on the golf course over the long weekend, I’ve managed to come up with a conclusion that’s been burning inside of me, begging to be written down.

What’s the conclusion, you might be wondering?

Well, first off, the event was such an eye-opening experience with all the beautiful culture being celebrated in the heart of Port McNeill in such a proud and inviting way, that it really made me think about how far things have come since I was a child growing up in Port Hardy in the 1980s-1990s.

Don’t get me wrong, I went to plenty of First Nation’s cultural festivities as a youth, the majority of which were held at the Big House in Fort Rupert, but my memory sadly seems to recall a lot of my non-First Nation friends being vocally unhappy about being forced to go and celebrate a culture that wasn’t theirs.

That wasn’t the case at Port McNeill’s totem pole ceremony on May 17 at North Island Secondary School.

The crowd of 1,200-1,500 people, young and old, were clearly thrilled to be there to witness history, and it was painfully obvious they enjoyed every second of seeing the first Kwakwaka’wakw carved totem pole in Port McNeill’s 50+ year history be unveiled.

After Chief Robert Joseph’s speech, I kept thinking to myself about how our society will become so much more rich and full of substance, vibrance and texture once we fully accept other cultures and their way of life, thus becoming a true melting pot of inclusion where no one is left out in the cold.

Chief Robert Joseph’s speech about “being one” really nailed that point home, and it was seriously a challenge to hold back tears as he spoke, but I managed to get through it and not shed any.

The event was an amazing step towards reconciliation, one which North Island Secondary School Principal Jay Dixon, ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik, Kwakiutl artist Mervyn Child, and everyone else who participated in the totem pole project in any capacity, can hold their heads up and be proud of what they accomplished, not just for the school or the town, but Canadian society in general.

Positive experiences like this are what the youth on the North Island need, because I truly believe racism and discriminatory behaviour is something that is a learned trait, with some reports I’ve read stating it can be learned as early as the age of three.

With that said, I unfortunately have heard some grumblings around town recently about there being “too much” First Nation’s coverage in the Gazette lately, to which I will respond this one time only.

If there’s anyone out there who’s reading this that still holds prejudice inside of their heart, I’m asking you to please, let it go.

Hate is baggage — don’t carry it around when you don’t need to.

Just Posted

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s open house a blazing hit

PHFR Lt. Harding explained that the organization is always looking for more recruits.

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

The housing project will have 96 residential units for low-income families.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation requests land from Port Hardy Council

“The foundation members will be coming to council with more information at a future date.”

Mayoral candidate David Stewart steps away from Port Alice election

Port Alice has unlikely chance of holding a by-election early next year.

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

“I’m very confident that he’s going to make it. He’s done very well.”

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Most Read