The Strathcona Regional District will chip in to help the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre on Quadra Island restore a trio of First Nations treasures.
More than half a year ago, in July, Jodi Simkin, executive director of the cultural centre in Cape Mudge, stood before the regional district board and asked for some financial help to restore three traditional Cook Welcome Poles. But the request was left up in the air until November when Simkin wrote the regional district asking for $5,000 to support the $51,000 project.
The board didn’t receive the request until its Jan. 8 meeting but after regional district staff confirmed that the request was still current, the board decided to help out. At its meeting Feb. 12, directors voted to provide the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre with $1,000 from the Area B (Cortes Island) budget and $3,000 from the Area C (Quadra Island) budget to go towards resurrecting the welcome poles.
The three poles are currently being stored in the museum and will be re-carved and re-sculpted by Brad Assu. The Cook Welcome Poles were commissioned in the mid-1970s to commemorate the Walkus Poles, a set of three poles given to John Dick of the Wei Wai Kai by Chief Numus Walkus of River’s Inlet as part of a dowry for his niece. The Walkus Poles sat on the beach until the 1950s when they were taken down in order to be preserved and given to the Museum at Campbell River.
One of those three poles, however, was destroyed during the restoration process.
The Cook Poles, made in honour of the Walkus Poles, make up part of the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre’s collection and once they are re-commissioned, they will be resurrected outside the front doors of the cultural centre to welcome visitors.