World's Tallest Totem Pole

World's Tallest Totem Pole (HMX8C)

Location: Victoria, BC 29401 Capital
Country: Canada
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N 48° 24.554', W 123° 21.652'

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The Legend of the Totem

127 Feet, 7 Inches
Carved by Mungo Martin · David Martin · Henry Hunt
Dedicated July 2, 1956
Percy B. Scurrah, Mayor of Victoria
Hon. Ray Williston, Minister of Education
Stuart Keate, Sponsor
Raised by public subscription through the Victoria Daily Times

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.

HM NumberHMX8C
Year Placed1956
Placed ByVictoria Daily Times
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 3:15pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10U E 473294 N 5361849
Decimal Degrees48.40923333, -123.36086667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 48° 24.554', W 123° 21.652'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds48° 24' 33.24" N, 123° 21' 39.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)843
Closest Postal AddressAt 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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