CVRD Chair Jon Lefebure, Malahat Councillors Matt Harry, George Harry and Vince Harry, master carver Moy Sutherland Jr., student Troy Harry, cultural drummers Wes Edwards and Jeff Edwards, Malahat Lands Director Shannon Ralfs and master carver John Marston celebrate the unveiling of the Yos pole. (Submitted)

Stz’uminus artist John Marston helps carve Yos totem pole for Malahat Nation lands

Project involving collaboration between Marston, Moy Sutherland Jr. and Malahat Nation youth

A new totem pole has been unveiled along the Malahat Connector, the recently completed section of the Trans Canada trail running through Malahat First Nation territory linking Cowichan and Greater Victoria.

A thunderbird is the central figure on the totem commemorating the completion of that particular section of trail.

The bird stands aloft with a salmon under each wing. On the far side of the pole the Sasquatch is featured prominently, gazing out into the forest.

The Yos pole has been a collaboration project involving master carvers Moy Sutherland Jr. from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (Tofino) and John Marston from Stz’uminus First Nation (Chemainus) and various Malahat Nation youth. Both master carvers are renowned worldwide for their work.

The pole was unveiled and dedicated in October at a special event featuring representatives from the Malahat band, Cowichan Valley Regional District and School District 79, along with the master carvers and youth.

The Malahat section of the trail is now complete. It’s an all-weather gravel trail accessible year-round for hikers, cyclists and equestrians, providing a 20-kilometre connection between the south end of Shawnigan Lake at Sooke Lake Road to the Humpback Reservoir in Langford. The Malahat Nation’s leadership signed an agreement for use of their land for the section of trail back in 2013.

Those wishing to experience the beauty of the new totem can find it on the section of trail in Malahat Nation’s forested lands on the west side of Malahat Mountain at the south end of Shawnigan Lake.

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