Jan 082013
 
Photo: Parks Canada

Photo: Parks Canada

The creation of a monumental new legacy pole destined to be raised in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve was described in The Beat December 2012. Now, after a powerful quake in October, and another in January 2013, Haida artist Jaalen Edenshaw and his assistant Tyler York have somewhat altered the design of the 42-foot pole to include a figure of Sacred-One-Standing-Alone-and-Moving, in Haida tradition a being responsible for the powerful tremors and shakes which happen relatively frequently in the Haida Gwaii.

The poster above is the original design: the figure at the bottom is a grizzly bear holding a sculpin, next above is Raven, above is Sea Grizzly in the original drawing, now to be replaced by Sacred-One-Standing-and-Moving, draped in the Wasgo (sea wolf) skin which enhanced his powers in his epic struggle to hold up the Haida Gwaii. The pole is topped by an eagle that stands above the Watchmen figures who protect the land. For more about the pole’s creation, see

http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/blog/the-gwaii-haanas-legacy-pole/

 

 

Dec 082012
 
Gwaii Edenshaw finds a cedar for the new Gwaii Hanaas Legacy Pole

Gwaii Edenshaw finds a cedar for the new Gwaii Hanaas Legacy Pole

Gwaii Edenshaw and Tyler York have begun the process of creating the first pole to be raised in Gwaii Haanas in over 130 years. The Legacy Pole has the theme of Land, Sea, People. It celebrates the connections between the Haida nation and those others who work with that nation to care for Gwaii Hanaas, the immense National Park in the southern Haida Gwaii co-managed by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada. The pole will mark the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Gwaii Haanas as a National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/gwaiihaanas/ne/ne5.aspx

Jan 092012
 
Boxley The Eagle and the Chief at NMAI  Photo: Katherine Fogden

Boxley The Eagle and the Chief at NMAI Photo: Katherine Fogden

The Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC has commissioned Tsimshian carver David Boxley and his son David Boxley Jr. to create a 22.5 ft totem pole for the museum’s Potomac Atrium. The Boxleys are currently completing and painting the pole in the museum atrium. The pole depicts the story of a young man who rescued an eagle entangled in a fishing net. The young man eventually became a chief. During a famine in the young man’s village, the grateful eagle brought food to his starving people. The young chief holding a fish stands at the base of the pole, the eagle stands above him.

Led by David Boxley the dance troup Git-Hoan, People of the Salmon, will perform on January 13 and 14 as part of the celebrations around the pole’s installation. David Boxley Sr. tells more about the pole at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lj3SuE9hr0

Also at the Museum of the American Indian until May 9 2012 is the exhibition Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves, which explores the contemporary culture and heritage of the Quileute people of Washington state as a counterpoint to the supernatural storyline of the popular Twilight series. This well-attended exhibition originated at the Seattle Art Museum; see The Beat September 2010. To celebrate the opening, Quileute elder Chris Morganroth will tell traditional stories of his tribe. Some background to the political situation among the Quileute, and to the fictional Twilight series is at

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/15/real-world-quileutes-lobby-for-their-land/

Dec 072011
 
Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. Photo: http://www.whistlertastingtours.com/whistler-cultural-centre

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. Photo: http://www.whistlertastingtours.com/whistler-cultural-centre

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler BC continues its Lil’wat Weaving Wisdom exhibition.

The Centre has recently been given a second Chief Joe Mathias pole by a private collector. The newly acquired pole is about six feet high and depicts a thunderbird, bear and man. It is about 54 years old. For more information about the Squamish Lil’wat Centre, see http://www.slcc.ca

Oct 092011
 
Totem Pole Ceremony in Chengdu, China in 2010

Totem Pole Ceremony in Chengdu, China in 2010

The pole that was carved by the Freda Diesing School to commemorate the victims of the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province will be raised in China in October 2011.

The pole was presented to the President of China and to the distressed community of Beichuan in July 2010. Instructors Stan Bevan and Ken McNeil and colleagues created the Grizzly and Eagle

More images of the pole can be seen in the context of an economic initiative by the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation at http://www.fns.bc.ca/pdf/FirstNationsandChina_TransformingRelationships.pdf

Oct 092011
 

The Sealaska Institute regularly presents lectures about First Nations issues, history and art from an Alaskan perspective, which are then made available to the public on the web as videos.

In a recent talk, Emily Moore, a visiting scholar at the Sealaska Institute, spoke about her research on the Totem Parks of Southeast Alaska. She discussed Southeast Alaska totem poles that were made or restored during the Great Depression and shows a 1949 newsreel about the project that was recently rediscovered. The 11-minute film is titled Timber and Totem Poles and was produced by the U.S. Forest Service. Moore is interested in contacting carvers or their relatives in Tlingit and Haida communities who remember someone who worked on the New Deal totem parks, or who has further information on the carving project.

Sep 062011
 
Bear Pole by Donny Varnell, 2011  Photo: Ann Cameron

Bear Pole by Donny Varnell, 2011 Photo: Ann Cameron

Two new poles were raised in August at the Saxman Totem Park outside Ketchikan Alaska. The poles are replacements for two deteriorating 1930’s poles on the Frog Wall at the entrance to the park. In size and shape they resemble house posts. The Bear poles, carved by Haida artist Donny Varnell and Tlingit Fred Trout, were raised with a traditional Tlingit ceremony supervised by senior Saxman artist Nathan Jackson.

Aug 052011
 
Many members of the Haida Nation travelled to Jasper  to celebrate the raising of the new pole.

Many members of the Haida Nation travelled to Jasper to celebrate the raising of the new pole.

A Haida pole was raised on July 16 at Jasper Park in Alberta.

Artists Jaalen and Gwaai Edenshaw, based the pole on the traditional Two Brothers story. The tale is that two Haida brothers travelled from Haida Gwaii to the Rocky Mountains, and one decided to settle in the mountains. When the other, who returned to the Haida Gwaii went back to visit his sibling, it was his brother’s daughter, speaking in Haida, who greeted him with the news that her father was dead.

Parks Canada commissioned the new pole to replace an 1870’s Haida Raven pole taken in 1915 from Old Massett, which was repatriated to Old Massett in 2010. (See The Beat June 2009.)

See the July edition of Haida Laas at http://www.haidanation.ca/

Nov 122010
 

KITSELAS men and others help raise the new totem pole at the Kitselas administration building Sept. 11. The 30-foot totem depicts Kitselas history. MARGARET SPEIRS PHOTO

KITSELAS men and others help raise the new totem pole at the Kitselas administration building Sept. 11. The 30-foot totem depicts Kitselas history. MARGARET SPEIRS PHOTO

Three poles have been raised at Kitselas, near Terrace British Columbia. The largest, about 30’, tells the story of the Gitaus an ancient village of the area. The two smaller, near the longhouses in the park, are carved on the themes of Wolf and Raven. Artists Stan Bevan, Dempsey Bob and Ken McNeil and others from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art carved the poles from May through the summer. They were raised on September 11 2010. For more on the event, see:

http://www.bclocalnews.com/bc_north/terracestandard/community/103310304.html

To learn more about the Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site, see:

http://www.kitselas.bc.ca