The Story Pole

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All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here.”

Richard Wagamese

June 21, 2019, Canada is celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day (French: Journée nationale des peuples autochtones) to recognize the vibrant cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. Festivities are happening all across our nation.

Join me as I commemorate this day with the Story Pole which was placed in Beacon Hill Park and dedicated to the City of Victoria on July 2, 1956

Majestic, resilient, a silent storyteller that overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Story Pole was carved by a team led by Mungo Martin, Kwakiutl tribal chief and renowned carver.  At the time of its creation, it was the world’s tallest free-standing Story Pole or Totem Pole, rising into the sky nearly 128 feet or close to 39 meters.

Totem poles are monumental carvings that hold stories that remember ancestors, symbolize legends, preserve cultural beliefs and speak of historical events. They welcome visitors, even as they care for the well-being of the community. Carved from large trees, mostly western red cedar, by First Nations and indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast, tradition calls for totem poles to return to the earth from where they first came. So it will be with this Story Pole.

There is an end to their natural lives, but their stories live on.

“It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…”

Richard Wagamese

 

Story Pole from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sail Away

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With the sun high in the heavens, and a gently chilled wind at our back, we sailed to Bowen Island, British Columbia.  As I looked across the glittering water, I remembered a poem from high school:  The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I have included a few lines….

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.