Truth and Reconciliation Day sees totem pole raised in Terrace

A totem pole being raised in front of a building with surrounding attendees wearing orange shirts
Kermode Friendship Society raises a totem pole as a sign of truth and reconciliation. Photo by Morgyn Budden.
Morgyn Budden - CFNR - TerraceBC | 03-10-2022
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On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, another totem pole was raised in Terrace. 

At the Kermode Friendship Society on Friday, a totem pole was raised to remember and honour the survivors of residential schools as well as the children who never made it home. 

This is the second totem pole to be raised in a month in Terrace. Earlier this month at Coast Mountains College, a pole was raised to recognize the traditional lands and people of the Tsimshian Nation. 

Both poles were carved by master carver Stan Bevan and a group of alumni and students from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. 

This pole was created to recognize the strength of Indigenous people and culture in response to the residential school tragedy, according to the master carver. The top half of the pole shows an eagle, which represents culture, pulling children out of the residential school, giving them strength. 

2022 is only the second year that National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has been observed as a federal holiday. The day was elevated to a statutory level in 2021 following the discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools. 

Bevan explained that the meaning behind the pole was established before these discoveries were made because the story hasn’t changed. 

Members of the community gathered to witness the event, with most attendees wearing orange shirts. There were also members of the Indian Residential School Survivors Group in attendance to cleanse and bless the pole before being raised. Following the event, a traditional community feast of seafood chowder and beef soup was held at the Terrace Sportsplex. 

Listen to the CFNR story below: