Bill Reid Dogfish Pole

IMG_5727-IMG_5729_blended_fusedThis pole in Skidegate, just East of Queen Charlotte CIty, is special because it was the first pole carved and raised by the Haida people in more than a century. Imagine that – no one alive had raised a pole before and the traditional method, which they employed, is to raise it from the ground to standing with ropes and human muscles. It was carved by Bill Reid and raised in 1978 and is 25 meters tall.

The raising of this pole was a resurrection of what had been a tremendously important part of the Haida culture. To date, a number of other poles have been raised.

Most of the poles that we saw in the park were either partially or fully decomposed which was a conscious decision on the part of the Haida people – letting the old poles return to earth rather than attempting to preserve them. They do remove the moss from the standing poles at SGaang Gwaii (more on that World Heritage Site later).

I love this pole because the unpainted cedar is more striking to me. The natural wood allows the eyes to focus on the skill of the carver and the grain of the wood rather than the vivid colors often used as paints.

The dogfish looks like a wee shark by the way. We caught (and released) one.

Thanks to Behan of SV Totem for suggesting the program HugIn with which I stitched together this panorama from 3 separate pictures. It is freeware if anyone wants their own copy.

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