Raising the Haisla Kitimat friendship pole

On  May 4, the Haisla Nation and the District of Kitimat raised a totem pole to mark the growing friendship between “township” and Kitamaat Village.   Planning for the pole began a couple of years ago when the Haisla Nation and the people of the Kitimat township held a reconciliation forum at Riverlodge.   The pole was carved over the past year under the supervision of  carver Gary Wilson  (‘Nagamo’o).   Funding for the project came from the Canada 150 fund, the District of Kitimat and the Haisla Nation.

Before the ceremony

Haisla Nation hereditary chiefs and elders gather for the pole raising ceremony. (Robin Rowland)

Skeena Bulkley NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks to Haisla Nation hereditary chiefs and elders before the pole raising ceremony. (Robin Rowland)

Eagle chief Cyril Grant Jr.(He’mas Sanaxaid) speaks to carver and master of ceremonies Gary Wilson  (‘Nagamo’o) and Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth before the ceremony. (Robin Rowland)

Aiden Robinson speaking to her Ma’ma’o  (grandmother) Rose Robinson, Sammy Robinson  (He’mas C’esi) amd Basil Grant (He’mas Legaix)  (Robin Rowland)

 

Unveiling and blessing the friendship pole


Carver Gary Wilson unveils the friendship pole. (Robin Rowland)

Sammy Robinson begins to bless the new pole, along with  Gary Wilson (‘Nagamo’o), Allan Williams (He’mas Wakas), Verlie Nelson (C’esi’s spokesperson) Cyril Grant Jr.(He’mas Sanaxaid)  as  Harvey Grant,  MP Nathan Cullen and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth watch. (Robin Rowland)

Cedar bows are used to cleanse the totem pole.  (Robin Rowland)

Sammy Robinson  He’mas C’esi and Verlie Nelson  prepare the eagle down to cleanse and bless the pole.  (Robin Rowland)

Cleansing and blessing the pole.  (Robin Rowland)

At the pole blessing,  Harvey Grant (He’mas Wiiseks), Sammy Robinson (He’mas C’esi), Nathan Cullen, Cyril Grant Jr. (He’mas Sanaxaid), Phil Germuth and Eugene Stewart (Dlaxwdlaxwaligisc Hai’mas).  (Robin Rowland)

 

Raising the pole

Hereditary  chiefs and construction workers prepare to raise the friendship pole. (Robin Rowland)

 

The construction workers prepare to secure the pole.  (Robin Rowland)

Simon Hall (Hai’mac Gax) helps put the totem pole in place. (Robin Rowland)

Carver Gary Wilson explains the meaning of the pole. At the bottom is the snowflake, the District of Kitimat’s official symbol.  The face in the middle  represents the people of Kitimat with four multi-ethnic  faces above it.  At the  top of the pole are representations of the clans of the Haisla Nation, with the eagle, the beaver in the middle, (Robin Rowland)

Dancing

 

 

Eugene Stewart (Dlaxwdlaxwaligisc Hai’mas)  speaks to Gary Wilson speaks as the dancing begins.  (Robin Rowland)

 

Cyril Grant Jr. (He’mas Sanaxaid) leads the Eagle Clan dance after the pole was secured.  (Robin Rowland)

 

People join in the dancing. (Robin Rowland)

Children from the Haisla Community School participate with drumming and dancing. (Robin Rowland)