The Diocese of New Westminster has entered into a relationship with the Native Education College with the goal of exploring connections and building relationships. The College building is inspired by Northwest Coast architecture, the Longhouse being located at 285 East 5th Avenue on Vancouver’s east side.
When you visit the College website the first images you see are the people who attend the College and those who share their knowledge and skills. As you explore the site you will also notice the beautiful building. The Longhouse was built in 1985 and you will see the striking crest or “totem” pole on the outside of the building. Few of us have been lucky enough to see a great sculpture being created, but a recently re-released book will enable you to explore such a creative journey.
The bottom section of the pole
The book is Totem Pole Carving; Norman Tait, Bringing a Log to Life, by Vickie Jensen.
Re-released in 2020 with a new preface and additional details on Nisga’a artist Norman Tait (1941-2016).
The Coastal Peoples Gallery describes the book as follows:
In 1985, photographer and writer Vickie Jensen spent 3 months with Norman Tait and his crew of young carvers documenting their combined artistic and technical processes in creating a monumental work of art. The book records the journey as they undertake the various stages of cutting, drawing and rough-cutting the figures, then finishing and raising the pole in ceremony for the BC Native Education Centre in Vancouver.
“This pole taught all of us, especially me, the value of perseverance. We experienced a tremendous spiritual growth and a tighter family bonding which helped up to complete the pole. This book brings that all back. It is a monument to those who worked on the pole and who helped us with the ceremonies.” – Norman Tait 1992
This is an opportunity to explore a journey of discovery and spiritual growth for those who worked on the pole and possibly for us as well.
You don’t have to buy the book, searches in the public libraries of Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey all found copies of the older version available.
Here is the information plate