From left to right: Chief Clifford Bolton, carvers Sandra Wesley, Myrtle Laidlaw, Dorothy Horner, Vernon Horner, master carver Freda Diesing, carver Lorraine McCarthy and Vera Henry.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of a pole raising

Kitsumkalum honours the carvers involved in creating the two poles

Kitsumkalum celebrates the 30th anniversary of Su-Sit-Aatk “A New Beginning” totem pole raising Aug 11, honouring carvers and having dinner and dance.

In 1987, the community of Kitsumkalum hosted more than 2,000 people for a Totem Pole Raising and Potlatch.

It was estimated that no poles had been raised in the Kitsumkalum Valley in over 150 years. Chief Clifford Bolton was the lead organizer of the original event; Vera Henry, an elder and Bolton’s aunt, helped with technical advice on the traditional manner of pole-raising; and Freda Diesing, instructor and master carver, supervised the carving of both poles and also taught numerous community members to carve around the same years.

The ceremony will honour the six carvers with a bronze plaque reveal outside done by the three surviving carvers: Sandra Wesley, Myrtle Laidlaw, and Vernon Horner. Host dance group Xbishuundt will lead everyone into the hall for dinner, and then the evening will be filled with dance groups.

The photo above was taken at the original pole raising with everyone involved in creating and raising the two poles.

The left pole (since fallen) is a reproduction of an ancient pole and a tribute to tribal elders and ancestors. The right pole (still standing) is for the growing generation and is carved with the crests of all the clans that make up the Kitsumkalum people.

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