Monday, June 21, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, June 21, 2010)

Haida Gwai welcomes its past back home, North Pacific Cannery hopes for a tourism rebound and an Alaskan couple is killed in a car crash Saturday on highway 16 east of Terrace, some of the items of the news review for Monday.

Daily News, front page headline story
A LONG TIME COMING HOME - ANCIENT TOTEM RETURNS TO HAIDA -- Details of last weeks journey of a haida totem pole as it made its final journey from Jasper Alberta, to Haida Gwaii.

A reply to a Conservative MP's concerns over the make up of the panel overseeing the Cohen Inquiry into the Fraser River fishery crisis. Brian Wallace outlines his belief that a scientific advisory panel is not in conflict of interest as suggested by John Cummins who represents South Delta - Richmond East in parliament for the Conservative party.

With another tourist season about to get into full swing, the North Pacific Cannery Historical site is hoping for better attendance than last year offered. Last years numbers suffered a reduction as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines eliminated Prince Rupert from their Alaska tour itinerary. It's hopeful that a rebound on attendance will help the Historical Society meet the obligations of its outstanding loans with Regional District, by the end of last year there was still 14,903 dollars to pay back on the loan which dates back to before the year 2000.

The Sports section features results of weekend activities on the golf course and in the Acklands-Grainger Fishing Derby.

(Daily News Archives for Monday, June 21, 2010)

A long time coming home - ancient totem returns to haida
Wallace responds to Cummins concerns
Greater wheelchair access to businesses in town
Cannery hoping for a rebound
Gitxsan artist pays a visit

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website for Monday

Alaskan Couple Killed In Weekend Crash Near Terrace -- Details on a two vehicle crash east of Terrace on Saturday, which resulted in the death of an Alaskan couple on the final stage of their journey back home (see story here)

10,000 Salmon on the Banks of the Skeena -- The Skeena Watershed Conservation coalition announces its latest awareness campaign for the Northwest (see article here) (TV 7 featured this video report on their efforts)

CBC News Northern BC, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
A long time coming home - ancient totem returns to haida 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski  
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, June 21, 2010

 She never saw the pole before in her life or met the great grandfather that made it.

 Looking like a child on a happy Christmas morning 88-year-old Nancy Dudoward was smiling as she sat on the Raven totem pole her great grandfather Simeon Sdiihldaa carved around 140 years ago. 

Dudoward wanted to touch the pole, but because it was fairly high up on the flatbed display unit, a friend helped carry her up so she could see it more closely.

 “I think mom wanted to cry,” said Dudoward’s daughter Joan, who climbed up with her daughter Natasha for a photograph.

 The pole originally stood in an ancient village on Haida Gwaii, but was acquired in 1919 by the Canadian Steamship Company and brought to Jasper, where it was installed the following year.

After 93 years in Jasper, it was deemed in April 2009 the pole needed to be taken down because of rot. Parks Canada worked with the Haida Nation to have the pole repatriated.

 “I have to take my hat off to Parks Canada for such a leading and diplomatic approach,” said Vince Collison who helped coordinate the project for the Haida.

Between Parks Canada and the Haida there has been a concentrated effort to piece together the history of the pole.

“It opens up the door to educate people about who we are and that our culture is thriving,” Collison said.

And that was all part of the experience for people in Prince Rupert when the totem arrived. Under sunny skies, members of Prince Rupert’s Haida community, tourists off the cruise ship and other interested spectators gathered to see the display in the upper parking lot of Rupert Square Mall.

The pole is travelling with interpretive historical photographs and information, easily accessible to readers of all ages.

Lori Dowling of Parks Canada, who has been in charge of the project, said the response to the tour has been 

 “In Prince George we had 450 
people come out,” she said.

One of the things that surprised her the most was the display of emotion around the departure of the pole from Jasper.

 “Many people in Jasper came out to say goodbye to the pole. It was apparent that lots of people have an attachment to it,” Dowling added.

Rodney Brown of Old Massett travelled with VIA Rail for two days as the Haida Ambassador for the repatriation journey. According to Brown, most of the passengers on the train were from the U.K.

 “They were very intrigued and asked lots of questions about what will happen to the pole when it arrives home. I told them we will not be reinstalling it,” Brown said.

Many tourists gave Brown their emails, asking that he keep them informed about the pole.

 “Tuesday was my first time seeing the pole and I immediately sensed its connection and history with the Haida people. There were a lot of emotions in Jasper about it leaving, but we reassured them it’s coming to a good place and they were happy for us that it’s coming home.

 “It was an honour to be chosen to be the ambassador,” he explained.

 Margaret Adkins led the Kwe Unglis Dancers who were there to honour the pole’s arrival in Prince Rupert.

 Before they began performing Adkins said, “This pole is important to our history. We are all from Prince Rupert but are proud of our Haida roots.”

After the group finished, she spent time examining the pole more closely.

 “I went to Jasper once when I was seven years old before my dad was going overseas during the World War Two. We were there in the wee hours of the morning so I never saw the pole,” Adkins recalled. 

Adkins said she was excited to read an article in the Daily News about the pole being repatriated because it mentioned her paternal grandfather, Alfred Adams. Adams had provided researcher Marius Barbeau with information about the origin of the pole.

 “I am very impressed with the carving and think about the crude tools they had to work with in the past. It’s how I felt when I went to Italy with my husband and saw all the great statues there. These artists could create such beautiful work with very little,” Adkins said.

 Nearby Tahltan carver Dale Campbell and her mother were also viewing the pole.

 “It’s amazing how deep the carving is,” Campbell said. “Can you see that frog on the top? It’s flat and has big lips. I’m carving a frog for a piece I’m working on at home right now.”

 Lucille Ferreira of Prince Rupert was born in Jasper and remembered seeing the pole as a child. “I used to climb on the pole as a kid. It was always there,” she recalled.

 Tsimshian carver Gerald Stewart commented he was glad the pole is returning home.

 “It’s time to let it go. It’s life has ended and it can drop where it should,” he said.

On Friday the pole travelled by ferry to Skidegate for a celebration at the Kaay ‘llnagaay Heritage Centre. Today there is a feast in Old Massett for 700 people and six new ten-foot poles are being raised around the greater Massett area.

Meanwhile, brothers Gwaii and Jaalen Edenshaw of Old Massett are carving a new pole for Jasper that will be completed and installed in the park in 2011.

 “I’ve seen the pole and it’s coming along,” said Brown. “We had hoped for fall 2010 for its completion, but you can’t rush beauty.”

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