Kitsumkalum carver, politician passes away
FUNERAL SERVICES were held over the weekend for carver and former Kitsumkalum chief councillor Clifford Bolton who died April 12.
“This is a very sad day, not just for immediate family but I think it’s fair to say for the entire community of Kitsumkalum and indeed the Tsimshian Nation because Clifford was not only a very respected elder and a leader, but also of course a great artist in his own right, so we’ve lost somebody who gave a great deal to British Columbia and to his community and who will live on in these wonderful works of art he left behind,” said Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.
Bolton, who had been ill, produced works of art collected the world over, he said.
Bolton’s wife, Rena Point Bolton, is the mother of BC Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point. He flew to Terrace late last week to be with the family.
One of Bolton’s last projects was to carve a decoration out of jade for the Lieutenant Governor’s new Black Rod. It serves as his symbol of office.
Bolton began carving as a child in Port Essington on the north coast, producing model canoes and small model totem poles.
In 1976, Clifford began to produce full size canoes with Mark Point of the Sto:lo First Nation. Beginning in 1981, Clifford collaborated with master carvers Dempsey Bob, Stan Bevan and Freda Diesing, learning different styles.
Bolton also entered politics, serving as a chief councillor and as a band councillor at Kitsumkalum from the early 1980s until 1994.
During his time in office, Kitsumkalum provided the totem pole that now stands in front of the Terrace RCMP detachment to mark the occasion of the opening of the detachment in July 1987.
On the August long weekend in 1987, two totem poles were raised at Kitsumkalum, the first such occurrence at the village in 150 years.
One pole was a reproduction of an ancient pole and a tribute to tribal elders and ancestors and the second pole was for the growing generation and carved with the clan crests of Kitsumkalum First Nation.