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The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole July 2013 Update

Submitted by Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve,  and Haida Heritage Site http://www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gwaiihaanas

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Archipelago  Management Board members with the pole they commissioned to celebrate 20 years of cooperative management: From left:, Ernie Gladstone (Gwaii Haanas superintendent),  Cindy Boyko (CHN),  Jason Alsop (CHN), Robert Bennett (CHN). Missing: David Argument (Parks Canada), Mel Koytk (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole is a 42-foot monumental pole commissioned by a unique cooperative management board made up of equal members of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada. Known as the Archipelago Management Board (AMB), the body is renowned throughout the world as a model for cultural and natural resource governance. The pole is being carved to honour the 20th anniversary of the Gwaii Haanas Agreement, the cornerstone of the  groundbreaking relationship that protects the natural and marine resources.

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Gwaii Haanas cultural resource management advisor Camille Collinson (right) talks about the Legacy Pole with school children

The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole will be raised at Hlk’yah GawGa (Windy Bay) on Lyell Island on Aug. 15, 2013. For those who are not able to travel to Windy Bay, join us at the Haida Heritage Centre for a live broadcast and other festivities.   This will be the first pole raised in the Gwaii Haanas region in over 130 years, building a connection with the historic poles still standing in the villages of SGang Gwaay (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Skedans (K’uuna Llnagaay). Working together to sustain the continuity of Haida culture is a key commitment in the Gwaii Haanas Agreement. 

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Pencil marks guide the carvers

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Jaalen rests against a half-built canoe in the forest where monumental pole trees can also be found

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Jaalen measures a tree with an old test hole cut into the trunk to determine the soundness of the tree

The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole features the interconnections between the land, sea and people and was inspired by all of those who take care of Gwaii Haanas: Haida Gwaii Watchmen, Gwaii Haanas staff, Archipelago Management Board members, visitors, researchers and more. Along with Raven, Eagle, Sculpin, Grizzly Bear and more, Jaalen also included Sacred-One-Standing-and-Moving, the  supernatural being responsible for earthquakes. This figure honours the impact the 7.7 magnitude Oct. 2012 earthquake had on Hotspring Island, a place of great cultural importance to the Haida Nation. 

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

The figures are starting to take shape

Jaalen was picked by a Haida Nation-led  jury as the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole carver and he chose Tyler York and Gwaai Edenshaw as his assistants. Jaalen was born in 1980 and is a member of the Ts’aahl – Eagle clan.  In 2009, Jaalen was the head carver of the 36-foot ‘Cormorant’ pole for the village of Old Massett.  In 2010 he and his older brother Gwaai collaborated on the 43-foot ‘Two Brothers’ pole raised in Jasper National Park, Alberta. Jaalen draws his inspiration from the language, the stories, and the natural world of Haida Gwaii.   Gwaai is best known for his unique designs in gold and silver jewellery. He learned to carve alongside his father Guujaaw, Bill Reid, and others. Tyler is 23 years old and is a member of the Skedans Raven clan. He has been working with other carvers since he was 16 and has assisted Jaalen on several other projects.

Parks Canada / JasonShafto

Tyler (left ) and, Gwaai (middle) are assisting Jaalen (right) on the Legacy Pole


For more information:  1-877- 559-8818 



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