Ceremonial carvings like these are used by First Nations peoples during gatherings and meetings to structure speaking order. The person holding the Acsenda Reconciliation Pole is identified as the speaker, others should remain silent and listen to the speaker. When the speaker finishes speaking, the next person receives the carving. It helps people work together and ensures everyone has the opportunity to express their opinions in a fair and open way.
The images carved on the stick are indicative of the group it represents. Carved by Squamish First Nations artist, Darren Yelton, the Acsenda Reconciliation Pole consists of 7 images that convey our story and values as a place of learning that brings people from around the world together to promote growth and development, peace and understanding.
The Acsenda Reconciliation Pole is carved on Western Red Cedar which holds spiritual meaning for the Northwest Coast first nations peoples. The wood is soft, light and flexible, but is also very strong and long-lasting.
What is the meaning of the seven images that the Acsenda Reconciliation Pole conveys?
The eagle is a symbol of great strength, leadership, prestige, healing, and creation. People believe that is a creature with the closest relationship with the creator and with its ability to fly to great heights and can travel between the physical and spiritual world. The eagle has the ability to provide oversight and a strong connection to peace and therefore connects to the global perspective and our promotion of cross-cultural understanding that Acsenda promotes.
The bear symbolizes strength, health, vitality, courage, and nurturing. The bear endures long periods alone and helps remind us to draw courage and strength from our experiences. It also connects with our wish for good health for all and protects the animal kingdom.
The Hummingbird represents joy, love, and appreciation for the miracle of living and helps us focus on the positivity in our lives live. People see hummingbirds as joyful messengers and healers. Hummingbirds are agile and have great energy to help us navigate and adapt to changes in our lives. They also have the ability to hover in one place, and fly sideways, backwards, and forwards, which reminds us to look back to our past but not to dwell, instead to move forward. Hummingbirds also reminds us to savour every sweet moment and enjoy the nectar of life as they do when hovering over each flower.
The Raven symbolizes creation, transformation, and knowledge. Legends describe the raven as a trickster, or perhaps more appropriately one with the ability to persuade people and encourage them to look at things in a different way. The creator credits the raven with bringing messages and sharing knowledge and truth to help people learn. To us, the raven instills a passion for knowledge, creation, and promotion of global understanding.
The Killer Whale
The Killer Whale is the protector and guardian of the seas and travel; it symbolizes kindness, intelligence, and compassion. It lives and travels in the oceans which connect our world and therefore represent Acsenda’s emphasis on international thinking. People believe it protects those who travel away from home and help lead them back when the time comes. Killer whales will usually live their whole lives with the same pod and take special care of their family, which is symbolic of the care that members of the Acsenda family extend to each other.
The Welcome Man
The Squamish First Nations people depict the Welcome Man with hands pointing out to welcome all people to their community. And also to express their hospitality and promote peace and understanding. We are appreciative that our local first nations have welcomed us to live, learn, work, and enjoy this beautiful environment; this symbol exemplifies how Acsenda welcomes people from around the world.
The Sun Symbol represents life-giving abundance with its warmth radiating healing and peace. This symbol is a part of the Welcome Man figure. It shows our ability to give life, and that through our actions we too can radiate warmth to others, help with healing and promote peace.
Location and Acknowledgements
The Acsenda School of Management campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of people of the Tsleil-Waututh (səlil̓ w̓ətaʔɬ), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations.