Hundreds attend totem pole rededication at Peninsula College’s Port Angeles campus
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Totem pole restorer Terry Johnson pulls the cover from a totem pole during Tuesday’s unveiling ceremony near the Maier Hall on the Port Angeles campus of Peninsula College. — Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Heather Johnson-Jock, grandniece of totem carver and Peninsula College Trustee Harris "Brick" Johnson, center, receives a ceremonial blanket from current college President Luke Robins, left, and former President Tom Keegan during Tuesday's totem ceremony in Port Angeles. In the background is Terry Johnson, who restored the totem.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — More than 300 tribal, city, county and educational dignitaries took part in a rededication of a totem pole at Peninsula College on Tuesday afternoon.

The totem pole created by the late Brick Johnson of the Jamestown S’Klallam and given to the college was erected and dedicated in 1971 in front of the old Maier Hall on the Port Angeles campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

When the hall was torn down in 2011 to permit construction of a new Maier Performance Hall, the pole was removed to prevent damage to it.

Terry Johnson, nephew of the artist, and other members of the Johnson family worked for three years to restore the pole before it once again took its place in front of Maier Hall.

On Tuesday, the accomplishment was celebrated with singing, dancing and a banquet.

“I’m glad for the college. I am glad for teaching. I am glad for technology. I see our youth, our children, grasp onto that and sprout forth with their lives,” said Ben Charles, who spoke as the spiritual leader of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

Guests included former Peninsula College President Tom Keegan, current President Luke Robins and representatives of six Peninsula tribes — the Hoh, Quileute, Makah, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam.

Greig Arnold of the Makah tribe led the hourlong ceremony for the unveiling of the pole in front of the Maier Performance Hall.

The covering of the pole initially resisted the efforts of Terry Johnson, who attended the 1971 dedication when he was 10.

Johnson had to cut the ropes holding a cloth that covered the pole, revealing the vibrantly painted totem pole.

The pole features an eagle, a whale, a medicine man, a wolf and representatives of the soul and spirit.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 29. 2014 7:32PM
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