The Welcome Pole is a 49 foot tall carving by Snuneymuxw Master Carver Noel Brown, located in Spirit Square at Maffeo Sutton Park / Sway'a'Lana.
In discussing the meaning of a Welcome Pole, Snuneymuxw leaders have shared:
...in its most holistic sense, Snuneymuxw art honours the natural world as the ultimate source of knowledge, wellness, and renewal and as well as a gentle reminder that these great lands touch every aspect of life. In a modern context, the installation of the Welcome Pole is an invitation to the broader community to think more deeply about a way of being that is built on a foundation of humility, connectivity and reciprocity.
The pole is made for this place. It acknowledges Sway’a’Lana as an historic village site that continues to have living resonance and raises awareness about the Snuneymuxw peoples’ ongoing sacred connection to the land.
Project partners include Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, and City of Nanaimo. It is funded by the City of Nanaimo, the Government of Canada, and Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, and supported by the in-kind donation of a cedar log from Mosaic Forest Management.
About the Artist
Noel Brown is a renowned artist and a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Brown began carving professionally in 1995 and received inspiration from James Lewis, a prominent Northwest Coast carver. His style has also been guided by the teachings of Richard Baker and Matthew Baker. His carvings are on display at the Nanaimo Museum, Vancouver Island University, BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal, and the Nanaimo Cruise Ship terminal.
At Maffeo Sutton Park, you can also see designs by Noel Brown on utility boxes, and as part of the new Inclusive Playground.