Kolin is Gitxsan from the Village of Anspayaxw. He is currently an undergraduate student at UVic in the departments of Indigenous Studies and Environmental Studies. He received assistance and guidance with the Gitxsan language portion of the Virtual Totem Gallery from Art Wilson and Dr. Jane Smith.
Explore a curated selection of Royal BC Museum objects and contemporary photographs that inspire this community member to continue working in the tradition.
The stone adze was used since ancient times
Closer to our era, we started using steel adzes
The cedar [used in totem poles] is the most used tree by the Gitxsan.
A hereditary chiefs marker in Kuldo.
These poles are braced up, after the flood in 1936
The adaawk on a totem pole is consistent with a chiefs blanket and the songs that are born out of that history
These [crests] represent a hereditary chief
A typical pole raising by hereditary chiefs
The remnants of an old pole
[A totem] ensures that there are no changes to the history. It is a Gitxsan law that chief does not lie
The totem represents the most significant history of the family
A part of Tsi’basaa’s totem pole
The carver creates the ancient spirit
[In replicating a totem pole] they carve it the exact same way, nothing is changed, it still follows the history
What is described here was born in times immemorial