Saik’uz First Nation artists design Vanderhoof school sign supports

Two cedar poles carved by local First Nation artists will soon be the new supports of W. L. McLeod Elementary’s entry sign.

Grade 5 student Iris Vuohijoki chisels a design with the guidance of carver Jeremiah Prince.

Grade 5 student Iris Vuohijoki chisels a design with the guidance of carver Jeremiah Prince.

Two six-foot cedar poles designed and carved by local First Nation artists will soon be the new supports of W. L. McLeod Elementary’s entry sign.

From Nov. 1 to 4, the elementary school hosted carvers Michael Antoine and Jeremiah Prince from Saik’uz First Nation for their Collaborative Carving Project.

To signify their clans, also the two main clans of Saik’uz, Antoine and Prince are carving a grouse and a frog on their respective poles. So far, Antoine’s pole includes a bear paw, representing physical strength, and a feather.

“Feathers are held in high regard spiritually and gifted often as a sign of respect,” he said. “Frogs symbolize spirit helpers.”

In his career, Antoine has carved masks, paddles, and totems, and he was also involved in 30-foot tall projects.

Originally restricting his art to painting, Antoine first learned carving from Rob Sebastian of Gitxsan Nation in Hazelton. The journalist-artist’s work has appeared in world collections such as the British Royal Family’s.

For Prince, the six-foot cedar pole will be his largest project of his carving career so far.

“It’s quite an experience, and I’ve done masks,” he said. “But once you start carving, it’s the same aspects.”

Prince will also be adding the community-minded wolf to his pole, representing family bonds and community to reflect the pole’s addition to the elementary school.

As the sounds of chiselling, the smell of cedar, and wood chips filled the library and halls of McLeod, students saw the beginning of the crafting work; some also tried their hand at chiselling as well.

“Our school is going to be a sensory dream with the smell of cedar, the sound of chiselling and a unique experience that I’m sure we won’t soon forget,” stated principal Libby Hart. “Once the ground thaws in the spring the posts will be erected to hold our W. L. McLeod sign at the front of our school.

“We thank Melanie LaBatch so much for all her work to coordinate this project and to our PAC for being a partner to make it happen.”

Grade 5 student Iris Vuohijoki was one of the students that helped chisel part of the poles’ designs, with the guidance of Prince.

“It’s fun, “ Vuohijoki said. “I’ve carve with a knife at home before, but I haven’t done this.

“I think the design is cool.”

Work on the cedar poles are continuing at Saik’uz First Nation’s elder house, and all who are interested in learning about carving are invited to visit the artists as they complete the project.


Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read