By Maria Rantanen, The Times

After two and a half years of carving, a First Nations house pole was blessed on Tuesday by the Katzie and Kwantlen at Garibaldi Secondary.

Garibaldi principal Grant Frend estimated that between 500 and 700 students at the school worked on the carving over the past two and a half years.

“I think it is a focal point... a reminder that we are on the traditional ground of the Katzie and Kwantlen,” Frend said. Students were able to use carving tools under the direction of aboriginal education cultural worker Quentin Harris and First Nations 12 teacher Art Hagen. Instead of learning from a textbook, students were “living and learning by doing,” Frend said.

The pole that was unveiled depicts scenes from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. At the top, there is a north star, the mythical thunderbird, and the Golden Ears Mountains – traditionally known by the First Nations as “Samaneth” where First Nations go to gather strength.