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REPORTING · 4th August 2011
Walter McFarlane
In a follow up to the July 18th meeting to City Council, funding for the the G’psgolox Totem Pole’s return to the Kitlope returned in a report from Administration. This report was presented to Council on August 2nd.

Watch a video of the importance of the pole here

The report explained administration was not able to obtain the documents concerning the return of the G’psgolox to the Haisla. Marilyn Furlan, the organizer for the project to return the pole to the Kitlope Valley, had told the District Administration there was an agreement to return G’psgolox to the Haisla if they put it in a Thermostatically Controlled Museum.

When the pole arrived in Vancouver, the insurance expired and the Haisla had to find another way to bring it to the Village. They covered the insurance and Overwaitea arranged transport.

Unfortunately, on the arrival of G’psgolox to Kitimat, it was discovered there was no location which was suitable for a museum to house G’psgolox. While it could have been housed in the village offices, 3’ – 4’ of the pole would have to be removed which was not suitable to the family which owns the pole.

“In 2008, the Totem Pole Committee was disbanded and the family started making arrangements for the totem pole to be returned to the Kitlope, as it was considered a grave marker for the family’s ancestors. Return of the totem pole is set for August 15th, 2011 when it will be placed beside a replica totem pole, which is now in place, to mark the grave site,” concluded the report.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to receive and file the request. Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know what Kitamaat Village considered a donation. Municpal Manager Ron Poole explained $250 was the original request.

Feldhoff then asked what the position Kitamaat Village Council was on G’psgolox. “There was a discussion about not having a place to store the pole in the terms of thermostatic control. Who’s to say that won’t be the case in a few years,” said Feldhoff. “I feel uncomfortable, it’s not my pole, but there were some commitments made between one government and another government and I feel as if we are not being given enough information to make a decision for contributing a small amount of money to this.”

Mayor Joanne Monaghan expressed the man who owns the pole is the one who wants to put it back into the Kitlope. Feldhoff expressed he wanted to know what the commitments are.

Goffinet pointed out the money raised would go towards a rededication ceremony and a ceremonial feast. He suggested they provide a small part in supporting the feast and be a part of the activities. Monaghan suggested tabling the motion.

Councillor Randy Halyk stated the issue about how G’psgolox was to be treated. From what he read in the report, reading between the lines, the Haisla are no longer interested in the interests of the Swedish Government and they will follow their own protocols. He suggested receiving the report and not getting on anyone’s bad side.

The motion was called and carried. Monaghan and Goffinet were opposed to the motion.

Goffinet threw another motion onto the table to contact the pole committee and find out if there was another way Kitimat Council could be a part of the motion. Halyk reiterated his concerns the Kitimat Council was overstepping their bounds.

Feldhoff said the motion was suitably vague. This motion passed unanimously.