Web Bennett More totem poles to be raised in Kitselas Canyon

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THE TWO totem poles in the Kitselas Canyon will soon be getting some company.

Four clan poles will be raised by the waters edge at an ancient village site in the Kitselas Canyon Aug. 4.

“We wanted to erect some poles that would honour our people,” said Kitselas Canyon tourism director Web Bennett.

Lead carvers Stan Bevan and Ken McNeil, trained by their uncle and well-known local carver Dempesy Bob, carved the poles depicting the story of the Raven, Eagle, Wolf and Killer Whale.

Bevan and McNeil were joined by six other apprentices over the course of last year to make the eight-foot poles possible.

Bennett says the pole additions are also part of the canyon’s development.

The Kitselas have been working since 2001 to make the canyon’s national historic site a cultural tourism destination.

The group was honoured this spring with a cultural authenticity award from the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C.

Three longhouses, an interpretive trail to a viewpoint of the canyon, and now the totem poles offer visitors the chance to learn more about the local First Nations culture.

The pole-raising festivities start on B.C. Day at 11 a.m. with a welcoming, prayer, dancing by the Gitselasu Dancers, and speeches from the elders.

The event will end with a salmon barbeque. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The historic site is located 15km east of Terrace adjacent to the Kitselas First Nation’s Gitaus residential area.

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