Statue to headline 30th anniversary of Meares Island Tribal Park

A coalition of Tofino-based organizations that lobbied for the Weeping Cedar Woman statue’s return to Tofino during a January council meeting expect to have her in place for the 30th anniversary of the Meares Island Tribal Park designation on Sunday, April 20.

The statue was expected to be trucked out of Victoria on Tuesday and brought to Tofino’s community hall where the April 20 anniversary celebrations will take place from 1:30-3:30 p.m. “We hope that Cedar Woman will be a part of that celebration,” said Friends of Clayoquot Sound campaigning manager Emery Hartley. Tofino’s municipal council was expected to deliberate on the statue’s temporary April 20 location during their Tuesday, April 15 regular meeting.

The total cost of the project will tally about $27,000 and fundraising efforts had brought in about $14,000 by presstime, according to Hartley. The $27,000 figure encompasses the statue’s acquisition, transport, and installation.

The Weeping Cedar Woman underwent a roughly $5,000 refurbishment in preparation for her West Coast stay and these funds were donated by a Victoria-based business, according to Hartley.

The Wickaninnish Inn donated $1,000 to the statue’s return and the Tofino Arts Council pitched in $500; Hartley said both have been rallying support from other businesses and organizations. Rhino Coffee House and Tony’s Pizza pitched in funding for the statue’s roughly $1,500 transportation cost and drummed up additional support from Tofino’s business community, Hartley said. “The Weeping Cedar Woman represents people coming together, she’s this cool cross-cultural art piece that was carved at a time when the Tofino community and the Tlao-qui-aht people worked together to stop the logging of Meares Island,” Hartley said.

“It’s awesome to see that really coming to a head now with everyone working together businesses, organizations, societies and individuals to bring her back to Tofino.”

Tofitian Michael Mullen spoke on behalf of the coalition during January’s meeting and was thrilled to see the statue en route.

He said the April 20 anniversary event at Tofino’s community hall will be a powerful experience. “30 years ago the Tla-o-qui-aht had a vision; they were national leaders the first people anywhere who actually stopped a logging crew and 30 years later arguably that’s the only reason we have a functioning economy and an actual viable ecology here,” he said.

Mullen believes the most likely permanent home for her will be the northwest corner of Tofino’s village green “as a protective spirit to ensure the conservation aesthetic will rule the day here,” he said. “This is really about the future as much as it’s about the past.”