The Pole Design

This 30 foot Reconciliation Totem Pole is set on a base that is a carving of the original St Augustine’s Residential School in Sechelt.  Above this are two children, facing one another on their knees, with hands clasping rosaries in prayer, and tears rolling down their cheeks.  These represent the first two children to attend the school and the suffering generations of shíshálh children experienced there over the years.  Surrounding these children are two Elders in Regalia, seeking to protect and comfort them.  Above this are carvings of the crests of the four clans of shishalh Nation: huham (frog) and k’aykw (eagle) from the tewankw People, mayukw (grizzly bear) from the ts’unay People, wewekw’nachem (wolf) from xenichen People, and stalashen (orca) from kalpilin People. Each clan animal is depicted with a parent and child, symbolizing the intergenerational healing that is now taking place and the strength of shishalh culture and lifeways. Above this is a ring of drummers, honouring the continuity of the language, arts and culture by holding up a Longhouse at the top of the pole. Perched atop the Longhouse is the double-headed eagle, the symbol of shishalh Nation. Around the back of the pole there are hummingbirds and frogs all the way up, representing healing, and communication.