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Repatriation Ceremony: Raven During the Flood Totem Pole

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Repatriation Ceremony: July 12, 2019

A beautiful Tsimshian totem pole called Raven During the Flood Totem Pole was repatriated by the City of Burnaby to Lax Kw’alaams on July 12, 2019. For more than 20 years, the totem pole was installed on top of Burnaby Mountain. In the mid- 90s, it was taken down and placed in storage due to deterioration. 

William Jeffrey and his son Rupert Jeffrey carved the pole in 1971. William Jeffrey was chief of the Git-wil-Gywats Tribe (Tsimshian), and the pole was created to coincide with a Burnaby Art Gallery exhibition called Feather PowerFeather Power was “an exhibition of native arts and crafts with special events organized by a committee of BC Indian people”.  The pole tells the Legend of the Flood, with Grizzly at the bottom (emblematic of the chief of the Git-wil-Gywats Tribe); Frog in the centre, holding 3 men, nephews of the Grizzly chief; and Raven at the top, emblematic of the Raven Clan. 

On July 12, 2019, a small ceremony was held at Barnet Marine Park, welcomed by Squamish elder Bob Baker and attended by Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, Councillor Paul McDonell as well as both Rupert Jeffrey Sr., one of the original carvers, and his son Rupert Jeffrey Jr, as well as friends and family. The pole was blessed by elders from the Jeffrey family before it made its trip to the Coast Tsimshian village of Lax Kw’alaams.  The pole’s trip to its home territory was generously provided by Arrow Transportation.