Memorial Totem Pole

About this object

History of use

Stood outside the house of Wii Xá, a chief of the Lax Gibuu clan of the Gitanyow. Known as the pole of Skim-sim and Will-a-daugh.


In 1958, an agreement was signed by the People of Kitwancool (as Gitanyow was then known), permitting anthropologists to collect and preserve this and several other poles in museums. In return, the anthropologists agreed to publish the histories, stories, and traditions of Kitwancool so future generations of both Native and non-Native students could learn about them. The booklet, 'Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool' (edited by Wilson Duff, Anthropology in British Columbia Memoir No. 4) was published by the British Colombia Provincial Museum, and is still in print.

Cultural context

status; memorial

Iconographic meaning

Crests belong to the family of the person in whose honour the pole was raised.

Physical description

Wooden pole carved in shallow and deep relief; crescent shaped in cross section. The memorial pole represents the histories and privileges of the Gitanyow Wolf-clan house, Gilt-Winth. Carved figures from top to bottom: Wee-get-weltku (giant woodpecker); human figures (“house carvings”); Skim-sim (mountain eagle); row of children or small people: the ones who fish through holes in the ice; Will-a-daugh holding a child (projecting nose missing from main figure).