Totem Tour Walk

Totems List

  • Cedar Woman and Man

    Cedar Woman and Man

    The woman and man are wearing woven Salish blankets; on the base are symbols that are important objects for the Quw’utsun’ people. The two figures represent a balance between the female and male aspects of life.

    Cedar woman is the originator of all of our woven materials… she had a dream, and in the dream she was taught how to weave, and she was taught not only how to weave but how to collect cedar roots, how to split the roots, how to weave reeds, how to weave basketry, how to weave clothing, how to weave red cedar and yellow cedar… her gift was to teach, and so she taught people how to weave, and brought weaving to the community and brought weaving to a finite skill (Tim Kuchylski, grandson, Interview, Feb 2012).©

    Hwunu'metse' (Simon Charlie)

    Simon Charlie, 1919-2005, was a visionary, a master carver, and a keeper of his cultural heritage. A recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, Simon was known for his passion for teaching carving and Salish traditions to younger generations. In typical Salish style, his totem poles were carved in the round and mostly left unpainted. Simon is Kwa’mutsun, part of the Quw’utsun’ Tribes. Titus Auckland helped Simon with this pole.©

  • Family Pole

    Family Pole

    Working with master carver Simon Charlie enabled Doug to enhance his carving skills. Doug’s ties to his family influenced this pole; his son Bear (Doug Jr.) is represented here.

    I grew up in Duncan and I loved working in Duncan. I raised and looked after my family all the time. With Native people, family is huge; everything in life is based on families. My wife, Kathy Horne, and I had a son, so I decided to carve a baby Bear being held by a mother Bear. Family ties and beliefs, that’s why I picked the Bear (Doug LaFortune, Sep 2012).

    The inspiration for the design of the pole came from Kwagu’ł carver Henry Hunt.©

    Doug LaFortune (a.k.a. William Horne)

    Doug was born in 1953 and grew up in Duncan. He is Coast Salish of Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) and Tsawout, WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) heritage. On his mother’s side, his grandfather Dick Harry was a chief. Doug started carving when he was nineteen years old. Doug’s brothers Perry, Howard, and Aubrey LaFortune all helped carve his poles for this collection. His other artistic passion is drawing.©

  • The Air and the Land

    The Air and the Land

    Harold shared his family’s story about traditional carving: This is what my grandfather told me before I started… everything is always about the balance…traditional, right from the start. It is well-known in First Nations culture that there is always a balance in life.

    Harold feels most comfortable using the raven and the beaver figures, which are his family clans. The symbolism is the air and the land, we have to learn to balance that. Both are Mother Earth’s cleaners…to keep Mother Earth clean. That’s why I chose to do that. It’s the symbolism, the green around the eyes. It’s what the animals see, mother Earth, on the trees and mountains, it’s green. The pole is also about motivation. The Raven draws people to it and the Beaver represents an educator for the young, the builders (Harold Joe, Interview, Oct 2012).©

    Yutxwam (Harold Joe)

    Harold was born in Duncan in 1942, and is Coast Salish. His family is of Penelakut, Samuna’, WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) Heritage. He is a well-respected educator in the community. He watched both of his grandfathers carve masks, canoes, and totem poles and he started carving at the age of twelve.©

  • Chief's Pole

    Chief's Pole

    On the top of the pole is a Human Child. The Killer Whale represents the Quw’utsun’ story of the Killer Whale that was in Cowichan Bay eating all the Salmon. The pole story shows how the Quw’utsun’ people were able to restore peace back to the people, and that the people and the Killer Whale can live together in peace. The Child is kneeling, waiting with anticipation for the Salmon. The Copper held by the Chief, is to show wealth in the Human Spirit, not material wealth. Simon Charlie taught us to let the wood guide the hands for what was to “come out of” the pole (Francis Horn Sr., Interview, Jan 2013).©

    Khut-Whee-Mul-Uhk (Francis Horne Sr.)

    Francis is of Coast Salish heritage and was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, Washington State. his mother was from Tsawout (Saanich) and his father from Lummi (Washington). Francis was raised on Vancouver Island. He started carving at the age of eighteen and is self-taught. Francis is the second oldest of six brothers (LaFortune), all accomplished artists.©

  • Owl Spirit

    Owl Spirit

    The design of this pole was inspired by Tom’s respect for his mother. My late grandfather, my late aunts and my mother always believed their suli (spirit) to be Spulqwitth’e’ (Owl). That’s why I did an Owl, to respect my mother. Rather than leave bare wood at the bottom, I wanted the Chief to have on his Killer Whale clan regalia. I cut my hand with a chisel, when I was carving the hand on the Chief figure, and when I was cone I carved five stitches on the bottom of the Chief’s hand. Wood is the perfect medium, you don’t make mistakes, you make modifications with wood (Tom LaFortune, Interview, Oct 2012).©

    KETÍWTEL (Tom LaFortune)

    Tom was born in Duncan in 1959 and is of Coast Salish heritage. He is from the Tsawout First Nation of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) peoples. Tom has worked with wood since the age of eleven. He honed his carving skills with master carver Simon Charlie, while working alongside his brothers Doug and Francis. Tom’s work is recognizable by his distinctive choice of colour.©

  • Wind Spirit

    Wind Spirit

    This is the first pole Doug carved for the City’s collection.

    I was doing a lot of hunting in the mountains and waters around the Cowichan Valley and these are things I like: Eagles, Bears, and Halibut. Like most Native people a long time ago, they were things that were in your life at the time. I like the power of the Thunderbird and wanted to show the powerful beak and claws. The Bear has to do with my son, his name is Bear. The halibut is a creature that I really like and that I liked in other totem poles. At this time in my career, I was emulating work that other artists had done and chose to do these figures as I thought I could do it and express my own feelings. You put a lot of feeling into these things because it takes three, four months of your life (Doug LaFortune, Interview, Sep 2012).©

    Doug LaFortune (a.k.a. William Horne)

    Doug was born in 1953 and grew up in Duncan. He is Coast Salish of Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) and Tsawout, WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) heritage. On his mother’s side, his grandfather Dick Harry was a chief. Doug started carving when he was nineteen years old. Doug’s brothers Perry, Howard, and Aubrey LaFortune all helped carve his poles for this collection. His other artistic passion is drawing.©

  • Eagle Pole

    Eagle Pole

    This was the first pole commissioned for the City’s Totem Pole collection and was raised in 1986. As this was the first pole, Francis chose the beaver to symbolize the start of the City of Totem’s project. the Beaver is always recognizable by the large front teeth.

    The Eagle for the Horn family represents freedom of spirit. The face on the chest represents the spirit of the Eagle. The Beaver was chosen as it represents the builder. The Chief’s face on the Beaver tail represents the people of the community, the Quw’utsun’ people (Francis Horne Sr., Interview, Jan 2013).

    Francis carved totem poles for the other projects on Vancouver Island prior to his work in Duncan. Francis’s younger brother Perry LaFortune assisted him with this carving.©

    Khut-Whee-Mul-Uhk (Francis Horne Sr.)

    Francis is of Coast Salish heritage and was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, Washington State. his mother was from Tsawout (Saanich) and his father from Lummi (Washington). Francis was raised on Vancouver Island. He started carving at the age of eighteen and is self-taught. Francis is the second oldest of six brothers (LaFortune), all accomplished artists.©

  • Harvest Time

    Harvest Time

    Simon Charlie told Tom this story and this pole is Tom’s interpretation. The North Wind, when it really starts to howl, that’s when the Killer Whales would come in and feed in Cowichan Bay. When the North Wind got colder the Whales would head out to migrate, because the Salmon run was finished. The pole represents the harvesting time for the Salmon. With the North Wind, you notice the Killer Whales. you go down to the moutn of the river and jig (a fishing technique) for Salmon in the bay or wait for them to come up the river. That was the inspiration, a harvest time pole (Tom LaFortune, Interview, Oct 2012).

    Tom stopped carving for ten years but was inspired to return to his art and love of wood by his wife, who told him, “Don’t let it go, keep going.”©

    KETÍWTEL (Tom LaFortune)

    Tom was born in Duncan in 1959 and is of Coast Salish heritage. He is from the Tsawout First Nation of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) peoples. Tom has worked with wood since the age of eleven. He honed his carving skills with master carver Simon Charlie, while working alongside his brothers Doug and Francis. Tom’s work is recognizable by his distinctive choice of colour.©

  • The Guardians

    The Guardians

    This is the third pole Francis was commissioned to carve for the City in 1986. The pole is northwest Coast northern style. This pole was inspired by the Haida who carved three Watchmen figures on the top of their poles. The Watchmen were positioned to face the ocean, which was considered their highway, as this allowed them to watch for anyone arriving by canoe.

    The three Watchmen on the top of the pole are guardians against evil and watch over the Xwélmexw (First Nations people). The Eagle symbolizes freedom of spirit. Below the Eagle’s feet are its tail feathers (Francis Horne, Sr., Interview, Jan 2013).©

    Khut-Whee-Mul-Uhk (Francis Horne Sr.)

    Francis is of Coast Salish heritage and was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, Washington State. his mother was from Tsawout (Saanich) and his father from Lummi (Washington). Francis was raised on Vancouver Island. He started carving at the age of eighteen and is self-taught. Francis is the second oldest of six brothers (LaFortune), all accomplished artists.©

  • Abolishment Pole

    Abolishment Pole

    This is the first pole that Don carved for the City’s collection.

    The Bear represents strength. In this story, the Bear is a Clan member; the Frog represents luck, wealth, and the end of the winter season. A youth had been terrorizing the tribe for quite some time. He never listened to this parents or the elders. A council was held to discuss the matter. A final chance was granted to the youth to turn things around for the better. This chance was ignored and it was then determined the youth be abolished from the tribe (this usually happened for very serious acts). The youth walked aimlessly until his demise. He was later discovered in a pond, his entire body covered with Frogs. The Frogs express the feelings shared in this story: sorrow, being content, and the demise of the youth (Don Smith, Interview, Oct 2012).©

    Totem co-sponsored by : H.W. Dickie.

    Si-yaaxultun (Donald [Don] Smith)

    Don was born in 1964 in Duncan and is Coast Salish from Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken), Quw’utsun’ Tribes. He is from the Canute family. Don started to carve when he was twenty-one, and worked for four years in an informal apprenticeship with Simon Charlie. Don was an on-site artist at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre, and there he carved all three poles for the City’s collection.©

  • The Family

    The Family

    The pole represents family; it could be anyone’s but in this case it is the Painter’s. The Painter’s owned Duncan Electronics and were a family business. I wanted the pole to represent them as a family, not just business owners. The top figure is an Eagle, which represents the Eagle clan; the Eagle is holding a baby Eagle. The father is holding his son (Francis Horne, Sr., Interview, Jan 2013).©

    Totem co-sponsored by: The Painter and Gendemann families.

    Khut-Whee-Mul-Uhk (Francis Horne Sr.)

    Francis is of Coast Salish heritage and was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, Washington State. his mother was from Tsawout (Saanich) and his father from Lummi (Washington). Francis was raised on Vancouver Island. He started carving at the age of eighteen and is self-taught. Francis is the second oldest of six brothers (LaFortune), all accomplished artists.©

  • Dzunuk'wa

    Dzunuk'wa

    Those who are fortunate enough to have Dzunuk’wa (Wild Woman) in their possession are watched over and protected. Black in colour, with bushy, unkempt hair, she is usually shown with a pursed mouth. In the absence of the owner, Dzunuk’wa acts as an official greeter to any caller, ensuring that no visitor will go away offended by not being properly welcomed. Should a visitor remove, harm or damage any property in the absence of the owner, Dzunuk’wa sees to it that the perpetrator is punished by various means. She may cause strong winds to blow from her pursed lips, which would result in their canoe sinking on their way home with their ill-gotten goods (Oscar Matilpi, Submission, 1989).

    The copper shield depicted on this pole is a visual and philosophical gesture that shows the person that lives there is powerful and actively holds pe’sa (potlatches)* (Ned Matilpi, Interview, Jan 2013).©

    *Pe’sa (potlatch) is a family driven activity to give away most, if not all, of their wealth and material goods to show goodwill to the rest of the tribal members and to maintain their social status.

    Hokwawadi (Oscar Matilpi)

    Oscar was born in Kwakwaka’wakw territory in 1933 and he was from the Ma’amtagila Band (Matilpi Village/Adams River, near Sayward). He spent many years in the logging industry and only started carving at the age of thirty-seven. Oscar passed away in 1999. Ned Matilpi believes his father’s style is reflective of carving from the 1940s and 1950s.©

  • The Fisherman's Pole

    The Fisherman's Pole

    Don’s style of carving is based on Coast Salish form, but he has developed his own distinct, contemporary style. The Coast Salish is not as intricately designed as other groups (Don Smith, Interview, Oct 2012). Master carver Simon Charlie gave Don permission to use his original design for this pole. This is quite an honour to get permission to use someone else’s design, especially when the artist is not directly related. It’s a Fisherman’s pole, the Coast Salish Fisherman…with a fishing spear…the Orca or Killer Whale represents the natural water fisher. It is two forms of Fishermen (Don Smith, Interview, Oct 2012).

    Dignitaries attended a formal dedication ceremony for this pole in 1990. The Little Raven Dancers, a local First Nations dance group, joined in the celebrations.©

    Totem co-sponsored by: The Wince family and Phoenix Hotel.

    Si-yaaxultun (Donald [Don] Smith)

    Don was born in 1964 in Duncan and is Coast Salish from Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken), Quw’utsun’ Tribes. He is from the Canute family. Don started to carve when he was twenty-one, and worked for four years in an informal apprenticeship with Simon Charlie. Don was an on-site artist at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre, and there he carved all three poles for the City’s collection.©

  • Pole of Wealth

    Pole of Wealth

    The top two figures on the pole represent the Quw’utsun’ legend of the Thunderbird and Killer Whale. Tzinquaw (Thunderbird) is one of the more rare and powerful beings in our (Quw’utsun’) history. A Killer Whale is an extremely important part of our culture and history… The figure of Spe’uth (black bear) adds to the power of the story, as he is like the eldest of a generation; strong and protective (Tim Kuchylski, grandson, Interview, Feb 2013).©

    The wealth of the pole’s owner is indicated by the copper shield that spe’uth (black bear) is holding in his paws. Simon’s work is textured, which was his trademark; some of the animals would look like they had fur, feathers or scales. Another one of Simon’s trademarks was to put faces on the feet of the bear; a sad and a happy face. Simon would say that in life there are sad times and happy times.

    Hwunu’metse’ (Simon Charlie)

    Simon Charlie, 1919-2005, was a visionary, a master carver, and a keeper of his cultural heritage. A recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, Simon was known for his passion for teaching carving and Salish traditions to younger generations. In typical Salish style, his totem poles were carved in the round and mostly left unpainted. Simon is Kwa’mutsun, part of the Quw’utsun’ Tribes. Titus Auckland helped Simon with this pole.©

  • Transformation of Man

    Transformation of Man

    The Seal (bottom figure) has the Thunderbird spirit in its tail. Man coming out of the Eagle’s chest is Transformation. He has recognized in his life that hos he lives and associates with fellow men, is how he is respected. Eagle is freedom, Salmon is survival, Whale is long life. In the philosophy of Man, these traits are necessary to gain spirituality (Glen Edwards, Submission, 1988).

    The Whale’s head in the wings signifies the spirit of the Whale, and the Salmon spirits are seen in its legs. The Seal is representative of the sea, the Thunderbird is spiritual. When figures have their tongues out they are sharing a spirit…red is respect for life and black holds it together, gives it solidity. The Eagle has its wings up, like your arms up high’ the Eagle can fly high and would carry your prayers (Herb Rice, Interview, Oct 2012).©

    Glen Edwards, Andrew Edwards, Herb Rice

    Glen Edwards and Andrew Edwards are brothers from the Penelakut Nation (Penelakut Island). They taught Herb Rice, Sqhwull-ahte-siem, who is from the Snuneymuxw Nation, to carve. All three are Coast Salish artists, they were self-taught and together they wored on this pole. The design was by Glen Edwards.

  • Cedar Man Walking out of the Log

    Cedar Man Walking out of the Log

    Cedar Man is the world’s widest totem pole (diameter 1.8m [5’11”]). The original tree was over 750 years old when forestry company MacMillan Bloedel donated it to the City. The indent on the back indicates that planks were removed to make First Nations houses.

    The design came from a Hunt family pole that honoured Mungo martin, a Kwagu’ł master carver. The top of log was left natural so people could see the size of the log and it forms the hairline for the Cedar Man. On the chest there is a Copper (shield), which represents wealth in Kwagu’ł families. The skirt represents the traditionally worn cedar-bark skirt. On the talking stick*, the representations are all family crests: the top is the Kulus (Baby Thunderbird) which represents Richard dancing the tamed Hamatsa**; the Killer Whale in the middle represents spirits of our Great Chiefs; and the Man on the bottom represents a Kwagu’ł family member (Richard Hunt, Interview, Sep 2012).©

    *The talking stick is held by a chief who has the right to speak at ceremonies and contains his family crests.

    **Hamatsa is a high-ranking dance in Kwagu’ł culture.

    Gwe-la-y-gwe-la-gya-les (Richard Hunt)

    Richard is Kwagu’ł and was born in 1951 in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, off Vancouver Island), BC. His parents were Henry Hunt from Tsakis (Fort Rupert) and his mother, Helen, is from Dzawada’enuxw (Kingcome Inlet). Richard learned to carve from his father. Richard has been honoured many times for his cultural work including the Order of BC and the Order of Canada.©

  • The Gwa'yasdams Flood Story

    The Gwa'yasdams Flood Story

    The following is part of a recorded conversation between Basil and his father Jack James. It describes a flood story told in a community close to Mount Stephens, near Gilford Island, off Vancouver Island.

    Kwankwanxwalige’ (Thunderbird) is on top of the pole… He came down from Mount Stephens, right after the flood. There was a little village there, we call it K’we. He took his Thunderbird dress off and he acted like a man. On the chest of this Thunderbird is a Giant, a Dzunuk’wa (Wild Woman). On the bottom of the pole is the Max’inuxw (Killer Whale) and on his fin is the Luwagila (Raven). The Killer Whales…they save a lot of men, they take them ashore (Jack James, Recording, Jul 1988).

    Jack said of the symbols on this pole…they are all ours, our own (James family). We didn’t copy anybody’s. Basil honoured his father by using the family crests in the carving.©

    Haeklas (Basil James)

    Basil was born in 1938 and is now deceased. His family is from Gwa’yasdams (Gilford Island) and their ancestors are from Dzawada’enuxw (Kingcome Inlet) of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. Basil learned to carve from his father, Jack James, who was a contemporary of Hilamas (Willie Seaweed), a famous Kwakwaka’wakw carver.©

  • Eagle, Raven, Bear

    Eagle, Raven, Bear

    Len began his career carving 2-dimensional plaques. He had just begun 3-dimensional carving when he carved this pole. Francis Horne Sr. assisted Len “to shape out” the pole. The Eagle symbolizes knowledge, eyesight, and carries messages to the creator. The Eagle is a prominent figure. The Human below the Eagle’s feet, in between the Raven’s ears, is to show that without the Human, art would not be accomplished. The Raven brought light to the world; he is also a shape shifter (similar to the prairie coyote stories). The Bear is the King of the Forest, a very important “person” in the forest. Humans need to watch out for the Bear. The Human in between the  Bear’s ears is to make the Bear aware when Humans are around; the Human is also to watch out for the safety of the animals (Lenard Paquette, Interview, Feb 2013).©

    Lenard Paquette Jackson

    Len was born in 1952 and is Cree from Slave Lake, Alberta. He began to carve in 1978, in the Northwest Coast northern style under the guidance of Gene Brabant (Cree) and Francis Horne Sr. (Coast Salish), both well-known artists. Len lived in Duncan for 27 years. Len is adding the name Jackson to his name to honour his father.©

  • Thunderbird with Dzunuk'wa

    Thunderbird with Dzunuk'wa

    The myth of Dzunuk’wa (Wild Woman) is known all along the Northwest Coast. This is a replica of a memorial pole for Billie Moon made by Kwakwaka’wakw master carver Hilamas (Willie Seaweed) and stands in the ‘Yalis cemetery (Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, off Vancouver Island). Ned wanted to honour Hilamas’ memory and his art form.

    On top is a Kwankwanxwalige’ (Thunderbird). Thunderbird first helped lift our first bighouse beams into place and is a source of mythological and supernatural powers. The fearsome legend of  Dzunuk’wa, with her boney face and hanging breasts, is an object of terror and at the same time of power and wealth. Her arms are outstretched in a sign of mourning, or at times poised to grab a strayed child from outside a village. Dzunuk’wa is usually painted black and red; colours that represents the underworld (Ned Matilpi, Interview, Jan 2013).©

    Moopin'kim (Ned Matilpi)

    Ned was born in 1957 and is from the Ma’amtagila Band (Matilpi Vilalge/Adams River, near Sayward) of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. His father, Oscar Matilpi, influenced his carving. Ned started carving at the age of sixteen, and this was his first, major, solo pole as a carver. He now carves ceremonial masks and works within the community to bring back the old ways of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.©

  • Sea and Sky

    Sea and Sky

    The pole was done more as a symbol of British Columbia, as the figures represent sky and sea, and were done in a balanced relation to one another. The powerful Thunderbird being a symbol of the supernatural and of strength, with lightning and thunder as signs of his flight. The Killer Whale is shown in its awesome form reflecting its natural presence (Harold Alfred, Submission, 1990).

    The Thunderbird is a mythical creature that is common in First Nations stories on the Northwest Coast, and the Killer Whale is often shown on poles with the Thunderbird. The colours that Harold used to paint this pole were inspired by commercial products: an Export “A”® cigarette package for the green and a Coca Cola® pop can for the red. John Ingraham, who taught the art of carving in the Kwakwaka’wakw territory, assisted Harold with carving this pole.©

    Harold Alfred

    Harold is from the ‘Namgis (Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, off Vancouver Island) of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. SInce 1990, he has become an accomplished jewellery maker working in both silver and gold.©

  • Raven's Gift

    Raven's Gift

    This one was a story about a young fellow… the Man in the middle with the adze in his hand was a carver. He’s holding the adze, he is saying “Here is my gift to you”. The Chief commissioned this pole and the Raven brought the carved pole to another village that was near the river… the Beaver helped provide the log. I enjoyed working on the poles and I liked the people in Duncan. I love carving; it’s been my life’s work. I’ve been doing it almost forty years. I just love to carve. I strive to get better every time I do something (Doug LaFortune, Interview, Sept 2012).©

    Doug LaFortune (a.k.a. William Horne)

    Doug was born in 1953 and grew up in Duncan. He is Coast Salish of Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) and Tsawout, WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) heritage. On his mother’s side, his grandfather Dick Harry was a chief. Doug started carving when he was nineteen years old. Doug’s brothers Perry, Howard, and Aubrey LaFortune all helped carve his poles for this collection. His other artistic passion is drawing.©

  • Kwagu’ł Bear holding a Seal

    Kwagu’ł Bear holding a Seal

    Richard’s father, Henry Hunt, was commissioned by the Royal BC Museum in Victoria to carve a traditional house post for their display of a Kwagu’ł big house. This pole is Richard’s interpretation of the work that Henry did for the museum. The frog on top of the pole represents the Frog Dance that belonged to my mum. The Kwagu’ł Bear represents the dance of the Animal kingdom from the forest and also the Hamatsa*. The Seal is also part of the same dance (Richard Hunt, Interview, Sept 2012). Richard is strong in his traditions of the Kwagu’ł people. The dances that are represented on this pole are only allowed to be danced by Richard’s family. When asked why he chose these figures, Richard responded, It’s the way my dad did it.©

    *Hamatsa is a high-ranking dance in Kwagu’ł culture.

    Gwe-la-y-gwe-la-gya-les (Richard Hunt)

    Richard is Kwagu’ł and was born in 1951 in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, off Vancouver Island), BC. His parents were Henry Hunt from Tsakis (Fort Rupert) and his mother, Helen, is from Dzawada’enuxw (Kingcome Inlet). Richard learned to carve from his father. Richard has been honoured many times for his cultural work including the Order of BC and the Order of Canada.©

  • Owl Pole

    Owl Pole

    The Owl represents wisdom and is the Horne family crest. The Bear mother holds her Child and the Bear is a symbol of strength. Simon Charlie taught us to be humble. Whenever we carved, Simon told us to let our hands to do the work of what was already in the wood. He taught us to be proud but not to brag about our abilities. Let the pole tell the story (Francis Horne Sr., Interview, Jan 2013).©

    Khut-Whee-Mul-Uhk (Francis Horne Sr.)

    Francis is of Coast Salish heritage and was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, Washington State. his mother was from Tsawout (Saanich) and his father from Lummi (Washington). Francis was raised on Vancouver Island. He started carving at the age of eighteen and is self-taught. Francis is the second oldest of six brothers (LaFortune), all accomplished artists.©

  • The Friendship Pole

    The Friendship Pole

    Keeping with First Nations tradition, Cicero worked with his sons Darrell and Doug August on this pole. The sons assisted in all aspects of the carving, from roughing it out to the finishing work. Cicero’s poles are tool-finished, not sanded, a feature that distinguishes his work.

    The Eagle is the protector, he watches over us from the sky. The Bear symbolizes strength of the tribe. The people live with the Salmon all year round. It nourishes the people. The Salmon is smoked and salted to put up for our sustenance (Cicero August, Interview, Dec 2012).

    In 1986, Cicero carved a five-foot pole of an eagle as a gift to Duncan’s sister city of Kaikohe, New Zealand. Tupari TeWhata refurbished the Kaikohe eagle pole in 2002, where it still stands in Coucil Chambers.©

    Cicero August

    Cicero was born in 1940 and is Coast Salish from Samuna’, one of the Quw’utsun’ Tribes. He is an accomplished carver in the Coast Salish style and has carved since the age of eight. He studied with his grandfather, uncle, and also with master carver Simon Charlie.©

  • Transformation in Life

    Transformation in Life

    This pole depicts the story of a transformation in life. The bottom figure signifies a Man on a vision quest. During this rite, an eagle carries him away. When he returns as a young person, the eagle with the wings wrapped around him represents his Guardian Spirit. His life starts, like a rebirth, or as some people state, a second chance to change his ways. The Eagle represents wisdom, great vision, and healing (Harvey Alphose, Interview, Nov 2012).

    Harvey was influenced by local carvers, including Nelson Canute who worked with Harvey on this pole. Nelson carved the top figure of Eagle holding the young person.©

    Chief Swaletthul't'hw (Harvey Alphose) and Nelson Canute

    Harvey was born in 1949 and is a hereditary chief with the Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken) of Quw’utsun’ Tribes through his grandmother Tstaaslewut (Catherine Lohe’), and her father Lohe’ a hereditary chief. He carves masks for his family’s sacred sxwayxwuy (mask dance) ceremonies. Nelson Canute was born in 1932 and is Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken). Nelson carved miniature totem poles and this was his first large pole. Both artists are Coast Salish.

  • Transformation

    Transformation

    In keeping with Coast Salish protocol, Corky’s family told the stories of his poles.

    The Eagle was very symbolic for Corky in transformation and in life; as Corky had gone from full-time fishing into carving. The man represents that human part of the Killer Whale. Our people believe that there was an undersea world; you put on your Killer Whale and then you went into the ocean. You lived in the undersea world as part Human but also as the Whale; when you came up you took it off. You can see the Wolf carved on the Whale’s fluke. When he would get one of the old ones (trees) like this pole that Corky worked on, he wouldn’t paint it, because he could feel the essence of the tree… He loved the wood of the tree… he wanted to leave it the way it was and let it speak for itself (Jane Baines Marston, sister, Interview, Nov 2012).©

    Laverne Roy "Corky" Baines

    Corky was born in Chemainus in 1949 and is of Coast Salish heritage, from Peggy Island (near Chemainus). He started carving at the age of thirty-four but passed away five years later. Corky’s wife and family believed he was a natural, self-taught artist who benefitted from the influence of master carver Simon Charlie. Phillip, his son, worked side-by-side with his dad to carve the two poles for the City.©

  • Pole of Wealth

    Pole of Wealth

    All these artists used to “hang out’ together in Duncan during this time and shared ideas, usually at Simon Charlie’s carving shed. This pole was a style that Simon started; it is a pole of wealth. The Thunderbird and Killer Whale are strong symbols with many First nations on the Northwest Coast. The Bear is a Black Bear as they are from Vancouver Island. Norman had his own style of carving that two of his nephews were starting to emulate (in the 1990s). No one else is using this unique style, it is not considered Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth or Kwagu’ł; it was uniquely his own (Jane Marston, Interview, Jan 2013, sister of Rose Baines-Read who assisted Norman with this pole).©

    Norman John

    Norman was born in 1929 in Mowachaht, Nuu-chah-nulth Territory, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Norman learned to carve at the age of nine from his father, Jimmy John, who was a gifted carver. Rose Baines-Read (sister of Corky Baines and Jane Marston) was Coast Salish, born in 1948 on Peggy island. She was an assistant carver to Norman for this pole. Both artists are now deceased.©

  • The Feast

    The Feast

    This pole is based on a local Quw’utsun’ legend.

    The Quw’utsun’ people called upon Tzinquaw (Thunderbird) to help them. The Killer Whale was eating all the Salmon in Cowichan Bay and the Salmon were not getting up the river. Tzinquaw helped them by taking the Killer Whale out of the bay and putting it on top of Mount Tzouhalem, the mountain beside the bay, where Tzinquaw ate him. The Spirit-Helper face in the Killer Whale represents the blowhole of the Whale. The face in the fluke (tail) of the Whale represents a (second) Spirit Helper. Doug explained the presence of the eagle: The story was the Thunderbird but I made the figure into an Eagle, I wanted to show the power of it, so I did the legs muscular and strong (Doug LaFortune, Interview, Sept 2012).©

    Doug LaFortune (a.k.a. William Horne)

    Doug was born in 1953 and grew up in Duncan. He is Coast Salish of Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) and Tsawout, WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) heritage. On his mother’s side, his grandfather Dick Harry was a chief. Doug started carving when he was nineteen years old. Doug’s brothers Perry, Howard, and Aubrey LaFortune all helped carve his poles for this collection. His other artistic passion is drawing.©

  • Transition

    Transition

    David explained that the pole represents personal growth and transition. The pole represents the family: the mother, the father, and the child. The Seal represents the family’s food supply. We share the earth with the Killer Whale and Seal, and they share it with us; we affect each other. The Seal, Killer Whale, and Man share the wealth of the sea, namely Salmon (David Marston, Interview, Oct 2012). David’s nephew Peter Francis worked with him during the three months it took to carve the pole. In cutting between the top and middle whale they used great care to not overcut and lose the integrity of the shape of the pole.

    In describing the whales on the pole, David said: the Killer Whale is the helper spirit of fisherman. His inspiration for the pole was from his friends and his wife, Jane Marston.©

    David Marston

    David was born in 1944, and is of Algonquin and English heritage. He comes from a family of woodworkers and carvers. his inspiration continues today through his sons Luke and John Marston. David started with a pocketknife at age seven. He is mainly self-taught, but was influenced by Lloyd Haarala (Anishinaabe) and master carver Simon Charlie.©

  • Raven Stealing the Sun

    Raven Stealing the Sun

    The condensed version of this story is the Raven stealing the Sun. The Raven on the top, the face in the middle represents the Sun, and the bottom figure is the Eagle, he is in a sitting position. His wings come out the side and he’s holding the Sun, grasping it, taking it back from the Sun. The Eagle represents the hero and he brings it back. In this particular version, they are locked in… fighting over it… the Raven stealing the Sun and the Eagle returning it… The face in the middle of the chest on the Eagle… represents the Spirit, like an inner Spirit of the Eagle (Don Smith, Interview, Sep 2012).

    Like anyone, Don enjoys a good laugh. When asked how he chose the figures for this pole he replied, It fits on the wood! Local dignitaries and Simon Charlie attended a formal dedication for this pole.©

    Totem co-sponsored by: The Gendemann and Painter families.

    Si-yaaxultun (Donald [Don] Smith)

    Don was born in 1964 in Duncan and is Coast Salish from Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken), Quw’utsun’ Tribes. He is from the Canute family. Don started to carve when he was twenty-one, and worked for four years in an informal apprenticeship with Simon Charlie. Don was an on-site artist at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre, and there he carved all three poles for the City’s collection.©

  • The Tzinquaw Story

    The Tzinquaw Story

    The story goes that the Quw’utsun’ people were starving because the Killer Whale prevented the Salmon from coming up the Cowichan River. So the people prayed day after day, until finally their prayers were answered. The Tzinquaw (Thunderbird) came and picked up the Killer Whale, deposited it on Mount Tzouhalem; the Salmon started coming up the river again. In this case, the pole depicts the Thunderbird (mythical eagle figure) as a saviour and protector of our people; and the Killer Whale as a monster (Cowichan Tribes, Submission, 1986).

    As a first process to carve a traditional pole you would burn the log, burn the outer layer with pitch. The result is a different colour on red cedar; it is sort of a grey-black. The black sea-going canoes were also prepared in this same manner. Today we would use the natural colours and not paint on the poles (Harvey Alphonse, Interview, Nov 2012).©

    Chief Swaletthul't'hw (Harvey Alphonse) and Kelly Antoine

    Harvey was born in 1949 and is a hereditary chief with the Qw’umiyiqun (Comiaken) of Quw’tusun’ Tribes through his grandmother Tstaaslewut (Catherine Lohe’), and her father Lohe’ a hereditary chief. He carves masks for his family’s sacred sxwayxwuy (mask dance) ceremonies. Kelly Antoine carved the upper figure of this pole; he is a carver from Samuna’, (Somenos), of Quw’utsun’ Tribes. Both artists are Coast Salish.

  • Rick Hansen Man in Motion Totem

    Rick Hansen Man in Motion Totem

    This pole tells the story of Canada’s hero Rick Hansen. Corky wanted to honour the work that Rick was doing. Corky had an accident and could relate to the difficulties people had with mobility. The idea of the pole was to tell the story of Rick’s journey around the world (Marilyn Baines, wife, Interview, Sep 2012).

    The Eagle is a representation of the Great Spirit. The Eagle soars really high and it can see a huge distance… Corky was thinking of how Rick Hansen looks out and sees beyond. The Killer Whale is a symbol of transformation; on the whale fluke is a carved face, and that represents the Wolf. The Killer Whale will come up onto the land and it will change into the Wolf and hunt on the land as a Wolf. Rick transformed himself and made a huge difference in the world (Jane Baines Marston, sister, Interview, Nov 2012).©

    Rick Hansen and the Baines family attended a rededication ceremony for the pole in 2010.

    Laverne Roy “Corky” Baines

    Corky was born in Chemainus in 1949 and is of Coast Salish heritage, from Peggy Island (near Chemainus). He started carving at the age of thirty-four but passed away five years later. Corky’s wife and family believed he was a natural, self-taught artist who benefitted from the influence of master carver Simon Charlie. Phillip, his son, worked side-by-side with his dad to carve the two poles for the City.©

  • Peaceful Boundaries

    Peaceful Boundaries

    At one time on the West Coast of Vancouver Island the Nuu-chah-nulth and all the tribes were fighting and killing one another over fishing and hunting grounds. The elders became deeply concerned over the loss of our people and got together with their Chief to stop this needless killing. The Chief got all of his carvers together to carve Sea Serpent, Wolf, and Maquinna-mask feast bowls. Then he sent a messenger to all the tribes to gather together. He spoke to all tribes to stop the fighting and killing… and started negotiations governing boundaries. So it came to pass that all boundaries were marked and honoured by all tribes. My Dad enjoyed carving the Raven… (that is why) I felt inspired to carve the Raven for the top of this Totem (Norman John, Submission, 1988).©

    Norman John

    Norman was born in 1929 in Mowachaht, Nuu-chah-nulth Territory, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Norman learned to carve at the age of nine from his father, Jimmy John, who was a gifted carver. Rose Baines-Read (sister of Corky Baines and Jane Marston) was Coast Salish, born in 1948 on Peggy island. She was an assistant carver to Norman for this pole. Both artists are now deceased.©

  • Bringing Light to the World

    Bringing Light to the World

    Richard always consults with clients to determine which figures would best represent the person. When Judy hill, owner of a gallery in Duncan, commissioned this pole Richard sat down with her to discover which figures would express her thoughts; he then incorporated them into the design of the pole.

    The Raven in our culture is seen as someone that brought light to the world. The Killer Whale means those who travel together. The Bear is seen as the supplier of our physical needs; it is always at the bottom of the poles, it hold everything up. It is like our body is the strength and it comes from the Bear. And all these legends are particular to a family. What did my people interpret the Bear as? What did they interpret the Killer Whale as? What did they interpret the Raven as? I use eleven legends and eleven different characters…our own family legends (Richard Krentz, Interview, Nov 2012).©

    Kwátám-us (Richard Krentz)

    Richard was born in 1945 and is Coast Salish from Shíshálh (Sechelt Nation, north of Vancouver). He started carving at the age of five and learned art from his mother, whose father was a canoe carver. Richard developed his own style and has focused on commercial work for the past fifteen years; including many carvings for the 2010 Winter Olympics.©

  • Provincial Route of the Totems Salish Bear Pole

    Provincial Route of the Totems Salish Bear Pole

    Sacred legends of the Quw’utsun’ people are represented in this pole. Chief Tzouhalem is dressed in the regalia of a Salish Spirit Dancer: a hair hat, a paddle jacket and a kwutsmin staff decorated with deer hooves. These regalia are still used in Salish winter dance ceremonies. The flood story is represented by the figure of the Frog and is a central legend of the Quw’utsun’ people.

    Simon was asked to put a Grizzly Bear on the pole, but he said they do not inhabit this area; the Province insisted. So not to offend the spirit of the Grizzly Bear, and show that it would be an honoured guest he put a pile of blankets underneath; a traditional way for the Coast Salish to honour an invited guest (Simon Charlie, Macnair Report, 1999).

    The quality of this pole is exceptional as it represents a period of time in which Simon Charlie produced his best work (Judy Hill, Letter, Nov 2002).©

    Totem commissioned by: the Province of British Columbia for the Route of the Totems project.

    Hwunu’metse’ (Simon Charlie)

    Simon Charlie, 1919-2005, was a visionary, a master carver, and a keeper of his cultural heritage. A recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia, Simon was known for his passion for teaching carving and Salish traditions to younger generations. In typical Salish style, his totem poles were carved in the round and mostly left unpainted. Simon is Kwa’mutsun, part of the Quw’utsun’ Tribes. Titus Auckland helped Simon with this pole.©

  • PouPou Tane Hiira, Pou Karanga

    PouPou Tane Hiira, Pou Karanga

    Te Anhio Whio is calling out over the forest with the flute…he was bringing them all in tune to the sound of the forest, the deforestation… he was saying to Tane Hiira that we need to do something about it… in a quite protest way. Tane Hiira’s tongue tells us he is a great orator of wit, comedy, and knowledge. The tongue… tells us of a man’s status, character, and talents. The pendant in the shape of a fish hook, is a good luck charm. The meremere (club) was a close combat weapon; it is now used in our dances to welcome other tribes, people, and dignitaries. Three fingers signifies three baskets of knowledge: etiquette and protocol; creating of Heaven and Earth; spiritual knowledge. The size of his hand and fingers signifies strength (Tupari TeWhata, Interview, Oct 2012).

    The panel behind Te Anhio Whio symbolizes the forest and sea creatures in abstract form. The translation of the pole name from Māori is: The Welcoming Pole of the King of the Cedar Forest.©

    Tupari TeWhata

    Tupari was born in 1939 and is Māori from Tautoro, Bay of Islands (North Island), New Zealand. When Tupari was interviewed he stated: I always had a dream… that I would end up in Canada one day. Tupari’s dream came true as part of the Islands’ 86 International Carvers Exchange in 1986. When he was here, Cicero August loaned him his tools.©

  • Centennial Pole

    Centennial Pole

    The front of the pole is carved in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw style and the back is more Coast Salish. The snub-nosed canoe is representative of the Coast Salish style of canoe. The Quw’utsun’ people are represented by the story of the Tzinquaw (Thunderbird) and the Q’ul-lhanumutsun (Killer Whale). The Chief Maker on the bottom of the pole is to honour the women in the community. The Salmon on the back are surrounded by painted lines representing the fish weir that is used to trap the Salmon. We wanted to honour the five original tribes in the ceremony (represented by the five salmon); each tribe had a representative at the dedication. Everything was about blessing the day with the chosen dances and songs. Mervyn Child, my nephew, and family members assisted in carving this pole (Calvin Hunt, Interview, Mar 2013).©

    Totem co-spnosored by: Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Program, Department of Canadian Heritage, to commemorate the Centennial of the Incorporation of the City of Duncan in 1912.

    Kwagu’ł Chief Tlasutiwalis (Calvin Hunt)

    Calvin was born in 1956 and is the youngest son of Kwagu’ł hereditary Chief Thomas Hunt and Emma Hunt, the daughter of Mowachaht Chief Dr. Billy. Calvin’s career as an artist started at age twelve and his passion for the arts is evident in the pieces he creates. He has received many awards for his work including induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.©

  • Human Between Bear's Ears

    Human Between Bear's Ears

    Lenard Paquette Jackson carved this pole, which depicts four figures: Thunderbird, Killer Whale, Human, and Bear. Explaining the relationship between the Bear figure and the Human figure, Lenard said:

    The Human in between the Bear’s ears is to make the Bear aware when Humans are around; the Human is also to watch out for the safety of the animals (Lenard Paquette, Interview, February 2013).©

    Ken Evans owned the Ford dealership in Duncan. In 1991, he agreed to trade a truck for Lenard’s totem pole. In 2015, Vic Scudder, who later owned the dealership, donated this pole to the City of Duncan’s totem pole collection.

    Lenard Paquette Jackson

    Len was born in 1952 and is Cree from Slave Lake, Alberta. He began to carve in 1978, in the Northwest Coast northern style under the guidance of Gene Brabant (Cree) and Francis Horne Sr. (Coast Salish), with whom he worked during Expo ’86 in Vancouver, BC. Lenard, who added “Jackson” to his name to honour his father, lived in Duncan for 27 years. Lenard was the “caretaker” of the City’s poles for around six years, carrying out minor conservation touch-ups to improve the appearance of the poles.©