The Legend of the Totem127 Feet, 7 Inches
The Legend of the Totem
"Memento of the Nation's infancy, symbol of a proud race. Monument to rare native art. Proof of a united community interest and the purest form of Canadiana."
(Victoria Daily Times)
The ancestral figures on the world's tallest totem pole are associated with the Gee-eksem clan of the Kwa-Kiutl tribe of coast Indians from Fort Rupert, near Port Hardy, British Columbia. Bottom figure is Gee-eksem, legendary "First Man" of the tribe, said to have been created at Gold Beach on the north end of Vancouver Island.
Gee-eksem one day saw a strange sight. A totem pole gradually rose out of the beach. On the pole were all the animals now carved on the pole, each making its own peculiar cry. The bottom figure was that of a man who said to him, "These be you crests to be displayed by you and your descendants." The pole then disappeared. At no time during the long history of the tribe have all the figures been displayed on one pole until this one was carved by chief Mungo Martin and his associates.
Next above Gee-eksem on the pole is Hohoq the cannibal bird. Next the killer whale, the Kle-akin the sea lion with the brown bear. Kwikw the eagle, the grey colored sea otter with a halibut in his mouth. Gwoy-im the whale with a man on his back, the mouth being the whale's blow-hole with a man's face at the tail, both added decorations.
Then comes T-sow the beaver with two prominent front teeth. Lak-tote-pis, the servant-man of Gee-eksem, then Miquat the seal with the spotted back, Uli-gun the black wolf, and Hosagami Gee-eksem's potlatch record-keeper.
The two men at the top are "First Men" of other clans of the tribe, La-lox-undyu, who was born a Kolus, a mythical bird which was covered with down and never grew feathers, and Sinklah-ee who was first created as Klesela, the sun.
The cedar pole was carved with native adze and knife, taking six months from the time it was felled at Muir Creek, until erection in 1959.
Spelling is phonetic, to give the approximate pronunciation.
|Placed By||Victoria Daily Times|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 3:15pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||10U E 473294 N 5361849|
|Decimal Degrees||48.40923333, -123.36086667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 48° 24.554', W 123° 21.652'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||48° 24' 33.24" N, 123° 21' 39.12" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 7 Camas Cir, Victoria BC 29401, CA|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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