Carver Charles Elliot speaks during the rededication of the S,YEWE Legend Pole at the University of Victoria Sept. 12. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

UVic rededicates S,YEWE legend pole

Elliot work underwent rot repairs before being replaced at the university quad

A revitalized legend pole watches over students at the University of Victoria quad after a rededication ceremony Sept. 12.

The S,YEWE legend pole (also known as the Elliott pole) was rededicated as part of UVic’s Indigenous Week of Welcome.

The pole, by carver Charles Elliott of the Tsartlip First Nation, was raised in 1990 to mark the Learned Societies conference at UVic.

“Thank you to each and every one here,” Elliot said. “In my mind this is a historical occasion.”

Four years ago staff noticed rot in the base of the pole, said Royal BC Museum conservator George Field and Legacy Art Galleries’ Director Mary Jo Hughes.

They discovered the work was sitting directly on a concrete pad where rainwater pooled and was pulled up into the wood.

Under the direction of the artist, Elliott, carver John Livingston trimmed and restored the lower section of the work.

“I met with John a number of times to discuss colours of paint,” Elliot said during the rededication. “I was very satisfied and happy with the way the university went about working on my work. I appreciate it when people involve the artist, whether it’s me or someone else.”

Read more about the S,YEWE legend of the couple who angered the Creator and wound up struck by a rock that turned them to stone here.

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