Carihi’s legacy canoe began its journey when a search for the right log began in November of last year, but the idea was formed over two years earlier.
The project passed another milestone during the blessing ceremony at Carihi on April 30 and carving can now begin.
“Today is an amazing moment,” Carihi Principal Fred Schaub said to the crowd at the ceremony, which was held to acknowledge the hard work put in by many different people who have brought the project to this point and those who will take it the rest of the way to fruition.
Several Carihi classes watched from the side along with School District 72 Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Morrow and other school board officials.
Many community members and representatives from BC Timber Sales (BCTS) were in attendance as well.
The school district, BCTS, and both the We Wai Kai and the Wei Wai Kum First Nations have come together for this project.
“There are so many words that I think I can share but just behold this log,” Wei Wai Kum First Nation Chief Councillor Chris Roberts said while gesturing to the 800 year old western red cedar log.
Each group has members of people who have worked towards getting the log chosen, cut down, and delivered to the works yard site at Carihi.
The log was blessed in a traditional way including with First Nations dancers and drummers performing during the blessing.
“This [log is] part of a gift to the greater community and to Carihi,” Roberts said.
All parts of the log will be put to use, including the bark, as will a second smaller log that could be used for making paddles and other necessities for the canoe project.
While carving will begin soon, there is no targeted completion date, as this cultural piece has no time limit and allows for plenty of time for mental preparation, reflection and learning from all members involved.
A name will be given to the canoe after it is completed and before it hits the water.
“The goal is to bring it into a new life,” Roberts said.