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Kayachtn Pole Raising Ceremony: A Celebration of Culture and Community

| Categories: Indigenous
pole raising

On April 11, in partnership with Sḵwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), Britannia Services Community Centre and the Britannia school community gathered for the Kayachtn Pole Raising Ceremony. The Coast Salish Kayachtn Pole was carved by internationally renowned artist and Master Carver, Darren Yelton. The name “Kayachtn” is the Salishan word meaning, “welcome.”

Roots and connection

Darren’s roots run deep in these lands. His maternal lineage ties back to what we now know as Stanley Park, while his paternal heritage hails from Squamish Valley. The Kayachtn Pole embodies this rich cultural connection, bridging past, present and future generations.

A gathering of communities

 Attendees included students from Britannia Secondary and Elementary, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) community members, District trustees, and staff from the community centre and VSB. 

MC Suzette Amaya aptly reflected on the drizzling Thursday weather as “nourishing Mother Nature.” Despite the rain, spirits remained high as witnesses gathered to honor the Kayachtn Pole.

 The Eagle Song Dancers

The revered Eagle Song Dancers of Squamish Nation, performed for all those witnessing the ceremony. Their performance included the Chief’s Honour Song, which was first sang in the early 1990s. Their dancing, drumming and singing was an honour for students and staff to witness Sḵwxwú7mesh culture.

Bringing Kayachtn Pole to life

During the carving process, Britannia elementary students had the privilege of spending time with the Master Carver. Britannia Elementary students also actively participated in the brushing ceremony. Cedar bows and water from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh traditional territory, were used to bring the tree back to life. Afterward a Squamish Elder shared with the group, “the lands are yearning for ceremony like this.”

Visit the Pole

VSB and the Britannia school community are grateful to Darren for this beautiful Kayachtn Pole to welcome community members.  It is a testament to collaboration, culture and community. At Britannia, students will learn from its presence—a legacy that connects them to the land and the people.

The Kayachtn pole can be seen and enjoyed by all community members at the šxʷqʷeləwən ct – Carving Pavilion on 1661 Napier street behind the Britannia Secondary School and Britannia Community Centre.pole raising

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