Visitors to Sunset Beach chipped away at a massive communal wood carving yesterday that will serve as the showpiece for this summer’s indigenous games on Vancouver Island.

The Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole, a six-metre red cedar totem pole, visited Sunset Beach yesterday and Granville Island the day before.

The stops were part of a 13-week, 50-community tour in the lead up to the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games.


“It’s not just a sporting event, it’s a celebration and a cultural event,” said artist Carey Newman, who designed the pole with a mix of traditional and contemporary art.

“This is kind of like the torch relay — it’s the totem tour.”

Newman’s design features a frog, swimming salmon, a wolf and an eagle with its wings folded. Organizers think as many as 10,000 people will help in the carving.

The totem is also part of the celebrations surrounding B.C.’s 150th anniversary.

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