Haida Legacy Pole

A monumental pole in Haida Gwaii marks a turning point for a culture that was nearly lost in the nineteenth century.

Text by Nelle Oosterom

January 21, 2014

The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole erected on Lyell Island in Haida Gwaii marks a significant turning point in Haida culture.

The thirteen-metre tall pole was the first such monument to be raised in the region in 130 years.

Crafted by a team of young Haida artists and erected in the summer of 2013, the pole’s carved figures represent rich traditions passed through generations. Lead carver Jaalen Edenshaw says monumental poles stand as visual reminders of Haida history.

“These stories go back thousands of years, from the first tree to glacial times, and back further to the time of the supernaturals,” Edenshaw said.

A story about the legacy pole appeared the February-March 2014 issue of Canada’s History magazine. 

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