Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott (top left) greeted people to a blessing cermony at Ladysmith Secondary School in preparation for carver John Marston’s creation of Welcome Figures for the lobby of the school. See video of the ceremony on the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle Facebook page.

Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott (top left) greeted people to a blessing cermony at Ladysmith Secondary School in preparation for carver John Marston’s creation of Welcome Figures for the lobby of the school. See video of the ceremony on the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle Facebook page.

Ceremony blesses cedar for LSS carving

“I think it’s really important for us to share our culture, share our history within our traditional territory.”

“I think it’s really important for us to share our culture, share our history within our traditional territory.”

With those words Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott welcomed guests to a ceremony, blessing the cedar that will be used to carve a Welcoming Figure for the foyer of Ladysmith Secondary School.

“I just want to thank everybody who has put all this hard work together,” he said. “All these things that we do are meaningful to our people and to our culture.”

Shortly after, the planks of cedar, which will be transformed by Stz’uminus carver John Marston, were blessed to the sound of drumming and singing, and the swishing of cedar bows.

Marston will be working on the welcome figures in a special built carving shed setting on site. Students, staff and visitors to the school will see the work take shape over the coming months.

“It’s always healing our lives,” Marston said of the cedar that supplied the slabs of wood for the carving.

“We have the opportunity to create something really great for our next generation, for ourselves and for all of us to learn from, from this one tree.”

Luke Marston (John’s brother) said the carving of welcome figures at LSS is the ‘beginning of a journey.’

“It’s just a beginning, the opening of the doors to this reconcilliation that everyone in Canada is talking about.”