Locals, come visit the canyon: Kitselas

ONE TOURIST spot seems to go largely unvisited by locals.

WEBB BENNETT

RIVERBOAT DAYS serves as one main attraction for tourists and locals alike in the summer but another tourist spot seems to go largely unvisited by locals.

That’s the word from Webb Bennett, coordinator of Kitselas Canyon, and Angelica Powell of Skeena Diversity, who are joining forces to make the public aware of the canyon and cultural centre.

To that end, they are hosting a presentation in which Bennett will talk about the history and meaning behind the totems at the canyon and master carver Stan Bevan and other carvers will talk about the poles at Skeena Mall next month.

Every so often Terrace residents will visit the canyon and centre and say they had no idea it was there, says Bevan.

“We’re trying to bring culture into the community,” says Powell.

Nine totem poles have been raised at the canyon and possibly three more will be added sometime in the future, says Bennett.

The totems are a way for the Kitselas and other first nations to tell their stories as their history isn’t written down anywhere, and instead is depicted as art, such as on totems, he says.

The poles often depict the clan crests – wolf, eagle, raven and killer whale.

“It’s a living cultural centre and we’re still here and we’re still practising our culture,” said Bennett.

Bevan says they try to incorporate ideas from other cultural centres that relate to the Kitselas into their cultural centre.

Bevan travels to many places and is known worldwide for his carvings.

“That’s why it’s so important because sometimes you think you’re more known outside your home than right at home,” says Powell about why this presentation is important.

The presentation takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 11 at the community room at Skeena Mall. Everyone is welcome to this free event.