Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole / Totem: Return & Renewal
Friday, March 23rd 7:30 screening 70 min & 24 min
Doors open at 7:15pm/Screening starts at 7:30pm. Stay after for discussion period if you want.
Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole – In 1929, the Haisla people of northwestern British Columbia returned from a fishing trip to find a 9-metre-high totem pole, known as the G’psgolox pole, severed at the base and removed from their village. The fate of the 19th-century pole remained unknown to the Haisla for over sixty years.
Director Gil Cardinal reveals the Haisla’s 1991 discovery of the pole in a Stockholm museum, where it is considered state property by the Swedish government.
From the lush rainforest near Kitamaat Village, BC, to the National Museum of Ethnography in Sweden, the documentary traces the fascinating journey of the Haisla to reclaim the traditional mortuary pole. Bringing to light a powerful story of cultural rejuvenation, the film raises provocative questions about the ownership and meaning of Aboriginal objects held in museums.
Cardinal skilfully layers compelling interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers as they create a replica pole. The Haisla have fulfilled a promise to the museum to replace the original totem. Now, having honoured their end of the bargain, they await the return of the G’psgolox pole.
2003, 70 min
Totem: Return & Renewal – In his 2003 NFB film, filmmaker Gil Cardinal documented the struggle of the Haisla people of British Columbia to recover a traditional mortuary totem pole. Despite great efforts, the Haisla were unable to repatriate the pole from the Swedish museum in Stockholm where it was housed. In 2007, however, the Swedish museum quickly decided to return the pole to its rightful owners. This half-hour documentary follows the events of the final journey of the G’psgolox Pole as it returns home to Kitamaat and the Haisla people.
2007, 24 min
Tickets: Admission is free, but donations are welcome! Want a tax receipt? Make a donation in advance to the Canada150 “It Takes a Village” fund! (If you use this method it would be helpful if you put in the “send a message” field that your donation is related to Totem event) Click here to donate.