gyaagang (Totem Pole)

About this object

Narrative

This is the base of what was once a 12.8-metre-high totem pole. It stood before a clan house named TlldaGaaw Naay, or Mountain House, which belonged to the chief and lineage of Those Born in the Southern Part of the Islands of the Eagle Moiety of the Kunghit Haida. It stood near the centre of the village facing the beach along a small bay on the east side of Anthony Island. Island and village also called Skunggwai, or Red Cod Island. The following people assisted with the expedition in 1957: Smyly, John; Atkins, Bernard; Reid, Bill; Duncan, Kelly; Jones, Roy; Jones, Clarence; Jones, Frank. In 1959, artists Bill Reid and Doug Cranmer carved a new version of the complete pole, scaled down by one third. You can see it outside the Museum, in front of the small Haida mortuary-style house.

Cultural context

status

Iconographic meaning

The carvings on house-front poles depict crests belonging to the owners of the house (Gangxid KiiGawa clan). The specific stories relating to each figure are known by those who hold the right to share this knowledge and preserve it for future generations.

Physical description

Base section of a wooden pole, crescent-shaped in cross section and carved in shallow and deep relief. From the top down: a large seated bear with a small wolf between and in its ears and a downward facing frog emerging from the bear’s mouth. In between its arms and legs is a downward facing wolf.