Memorial Pole (RBCM 15563)
This is the All Frogs pole that stood in front of a house belonging to the Lax Ganeda (Frog/Raven) clan in Gitanyow, formerly known as Kitwancool, a Gitxsan village on the Kitwanga River north of the Skeena River. Erected about 1875, it depicts episodes in the adawaak (oral history) of the wilp (house group) of Gwinuu and thus refers to the wilp’s lax’yip (territory). The carvings refer to the story of Neegamks, a clan ancestress. Many generations ago she was abducted by a chief of the Frogs and gave birth to several Frog children. The figure on top of the pole, which is now missing, represented Neegamks; those below depict her offspring.
The pole came to the museum in 1958 as part of a formal agreement with the wilp Gwinuu and the people of Gitanyow, detailed in the publication Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool (Royal BC Museum 1959, reprinted 1989). It now stands in the museum’s main lobby.
Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwagu’ł) carvers Mungo Martin and Henry Hunt made two replicas of the All Frogs pole in Thunderbird Park at the Royal BC Museum in 1962. Working from the original pole and from historical photographs, they included the figure of Neegamks on the replicas. One replica was sent to Gitanyow as specified by the 1958 agreement with the Gitanyow chiefs, and now stands in village along with other replica poles from the Royal BC Museum. The second replica (RBCM 17369), now in storage, was one of six replica poles that were shown at the BC Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver. All were made in the Thunderbird Park carving program.
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