New Storytelling Totem Poles at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

January 24, 2017 , ,

Over the weekend, two new totem poles were added to the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.  These new poles tell a story through the history and culture to the pavilion.

The new totem poles were carved by Tshishian artisan David Boxley.  Boxley also created another totem pole for the pavilion in the 1990’s.

Each of the new totem poles has a unique story to tell.  The first, the Eagle Totem Pole tells one of Boxley’s favorite cultural tales.  This tale of the Eagle Totem is about a boy while on the beach sees an eagle caught in a net and cannot free itself.  The boys frees the eagle and saves him.  The story continues that years later the boy’s tribe is struggling with lack of food.  The boys takes a walk on the same beach and this time finds the eagle waiting for him with food.  This is the eagles’ way of paying the boy back for helping him all those years before.  The bottom of the pole tells another story, a family of beaver taught a human family the importance of treating all creatures, both human and animal, with respect.

The other pole is known as the Whale Totem Pole.  This one tells the tale of the first potlatch.  A potlatch is a ceremonial feast celebrated by the Nagunaks and all the creatures of the undersea world.

On Monday, there was a dedication ceremony for the new additions to the Canada pavilion that included a performance by the Git Hoan Dances (People of the Salmon).  These dancers are based in Washington State and the members can trace their ancestral roots of the main tribes of Southeast Alaska.


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