K'san Totem Poles


(International Terminal, Arrivals Level 3, Chester Johnson Park)

Left:  Totem pole by Walter Harris, Gitxsan, AA 2527, MOV Collection
Middle:  Totem pole by Earl Muldoe, Gitxsan, AA 2526, MOV Collection
Right:  Totem pole by Earl Muldoe, Gitxsan, AA 2528, MOV Collection

RED CEDAR, C. 1970


These three red cedar totem poles, placed in Chester Johnson Park for your enjoyment, were carved in 1970 by Gitksan carvers in a style originating at the Gitanmaax School of Art at Hazelton on the Skeena River.

These fine examples of First Nations art from Northern British Columbia are erected on this land with the approval of the Musqueam People.

Part of the Museum of Vancouver’s permanent collection, these totems have been placed here by Vancouver Airport Authority.

On each pole, a variety of spiritual and supernatural beings or crests portray stories associated with the cultural heritage of the carvers. Poles are “read” from the top down:

  1. (left) Carver: Walter Harris
    Height: 10.7m (35 ft)
    Figures: Human, sitting on head of Eagle; person holding Frog; Grizzly Bear of the Sea; Whale abducting man’s wife, with wife clinging to Whale’s dorsal fin, husband at base.
  2. (middle) Carver: Earl Muldon (Muldoe)
    Height: 10.7m (36 ft)
    Figures: Watchman sitting at top of four chief rings; Raven as bird and human; Bear holding Frog; mountain Hawk; human figure at base is crest known as Halfway Out.
  3. (right) Carver: Earl Muldoe
    Height: 11.0m (36 ft)
    Figures: Whale abducting man’s wife, showing wife riding Whale’s tail, husband crouching; Hawk, human, Owl; legendary being who has his head on his chest and is holding Frog; Eagle at base.

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