From left to right: Chief Clifford Bolton, Sandra Wesley, Myrtle Laidlaw, Dorothy Horner, Vernon Horner, Freda Diesing, Lorraine McCarthy and Vera Henry. The pole on the left (since fallen) is a reproduction of an ancient pole and a tribute to tribal elders and ancestors. The pole on the right (still standing) is for the growing generation and is carved with the crests of all the clans that make up the Kitsumkalum people.

Kitsumkalum 30th anniversary celebration of totem pole raising postponed

The event has been rescheduled to September due to a death in the community.

Kitsumkalum’s 30th Anniversary Su-Sit-Aatk celebration set for this Friday, Aug. 11 has been postponed due to a death in the community.

The rescheduled date is Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. at Kitsumkalum Hall.

“With deepest condolences to the Wesley, Webb, Hansen family we would like to announce an official date change of this event. Two of the three carvers [who will be honoured for their work on the poles back in 1987] are closely affected by a loss in the community of Kitsumkalum,” said Christina Stanley, Kitsumkalum Events Committee Chairperson on the event’s Facebook page.

The original schedule is the same and will start with a plaque reveal by the totem poles, followed by dinner and cultural dancing.

This event lets the next generation show their appreciation for everyone involved with the original pole raising.

In 1987, the community of Kitsumkalum hosted more than 2,000 people for aTotem 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 during 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.

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