Johnson family, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to rededicate totem

Top, Harris “Brick” Johnson and Terry Johnson, nephew and protégé of Brick Johnson. - Submitted photo
Top, Harris “Brick” Johnson and Terry Johnson, nephew and protégé of Brick Johnson.
— image credit: Submitted photo

The Johnson family of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, in partnership with Peninsula College, invites the community to a rededication ceremony of the Brick Johnson Totem Pole on Tuesday, April 29.

During the ceremony, the newly refurbished totem pole will be unveiled.

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. by Maier Hall on Peninsula College’s main campus, 1502 East Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Greig Arnold of the Makah Tribe is Master of Ceremonies. The Opening Blessing will be offered by Ben Charles, Spiritual Leader, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Welcomes will be given by Heather Johnson-Jock of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Peninsula College President Dr. Luke Robins and Dr. Thomas Keegan, Skagit Valley College president and former Peninsula College president.

The welcomes are followed by a Call for Witnesses by members of the Hoh, Quileute, Makah, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes.

Following the Unveiling of the Totem Pole, a celebration and reception will be held in the Pirate Union Building, and all are invited.

A traditional Blessing of the Food will be made by Pat Adams, spiritual leader of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Singing and drumming follow.

“Peninsula College is honored to be hosting the unveiling of the newly refurbished Brick Johnson Totem Pole,” Robins said. “The ceremony marks its return to the Peninsula College campus and the continuing collaboration between the college and the Johnson Family. Their work in restoring the totem pole has been a true labor of love, and we’re grateful to them for all they have done to help ensure that the spirit of Brick Johnson will continue to resonate on our campus as a symbol of dedication to excellence and opportunity for present and future generations who seek a higher education.”

Peninsula College’s connection to the Johnson Family runs deep, reaching back to the time when Harris “Brick” Johnson served as a College Board of Trustee member. His tenure spanned some of the earliest years of the College, from 1968 to 1978. It was during the time he served on the Board that Johnson gifted the College with a very special symbol marking the relationship between the College and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe―atotem pole that he carved.

For years, the totem stood in front of the original Maier Hall building on the main campus. When construction began on the new Maier Hall, the cedar totem pole was removed and returned to the Johnson family for restoration. The process was supervised and coordinated by Heather Johnson-Jock, while Terry Johnson, nephew and protégé of Brick Johnson, took the lead on the restorative carving.

Today, both Maier Hall and the Totem Pole restoration are complete, and the Brick Johnson Totem Pole Rededication Ceremony will close the circle.


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