14 July 2011 and craftsmen are working tirelessly to put the finishing touches to a totem pole to be raised on Parks Day, July 16. A magnificent Haida totem pole stood next to Jasper railway station for nearly a century before it was removed in 2009 because of safety concerns. The loss of the Raven totem pole was felt widely and Haida artists Jaalen and Gwaai Edenshaw were commissioned to carve a new one. The 13.7 metre Two Brothers Totem Pole, painted in traditional red, black and blue, tells their grandmother’s story about two brothers who travelled from the west coast to the Rocky Mountains. Sadly we were not in Jasper long enough to see the pole being raised. The event brought together 15 regional Aboriginal communities – see this You Tube clip – but upset one local First Nations group who saw it as non-recognition of their land rights.
Photo & text © Christine Salins
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