North Island Secondary School (NISS) students worked diligently this week to paint the school’s new totem pole to ensure its ready for the May 17 unveiling ceremony.
Nicole Dawson, Devery Svanvik, Alexis Bartlett, John Bruce, and Ella Johnson were some of the NISS students who spend their time painting the pole on May 9 with ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik.
It was carved by Svanvik with the help of NISS students and Kwakiutl artist Mervyn Child. When completed the 20-foot totem pole will stand in the grassy area directly in front of NISS.
The new pole will be the first Kwakwaka’wakw carved totem pole raised in Port McNeill.
The ceremony to celebrate the pole will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m on the school’s lawn and parking lot and will feature a traditional First Nations welcome dance, speeches, and lunch.
NISS has also been granted a road closure from Port McNeill council during the ceremony to accommodate the number of people expected to attend.
NISS Principal Jay Dixon said he estimates 600 to 1,000 people will attend as all North Island communities have been invited, as well as hereditary chiefs, band councils, and all NISS students and their families.
Check back with the North Island Gazette for full coverage of the event.