An 800-year-old, 73,000-pound red cedar tree log sits on Port Alberni’s waterfront, where it will remain for the rest of the summer.
The cedar log, which is more than 60 feet in length, was selected for carving the First Nations Education Foundation’s (FNEF) Language Revitalization Pole in recognition of the UN 2019 Internal Year of Indigenous Languages. The log, which has been lying in the woods near Bamfield for more than 50 years, was donated to the FNEF by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. It was transported from the woods near Bamfield to its carving location at the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society’s Discovery Centre on Wednesday, March 13.
The Language Revitalization Pole will be carved by Nuu-chah-nulth carver Tim Paul over the next seven months. Once finished, it will be transported to its final resting place at the University of Victoria.
Port Alberni residents and tourists alike will have a chance to catch Paul in action at the waterfront throughout the summer. The central location was chosen partly for foot traffic, said Scott Jeary, FNEF volunteer executive director. The log is currently sitting between the Maritime Discovery Centre and Port Alberni Port Authority, and is only a short walk from where cruise ships will be docked this summer.
“It benefits everybody,” Jeary said on Wednesday.
Volunteers will be building a carving shed around the log before work starts at the new location.