Totem: the Return of the G'psgolox Pole

Totem: the Return of the G'psgolox Pole

In 1929, the Haisla people of northwestern British Columbia returned from a fishing trip to find a 9-metre-high totem pole, known as the G'psgolox pole, severed at the base and removed from their village. The fate of the 19th-century pole remained unknown to the Haisla for over sixty years. Director Gil Cardinal reveals the Haisla's 1991 discovery of the pole in a Stockholm museum, where it is considered state property by the Swedish government. From the lush rainforest near Kitamaat Village, BC, to the National Museum of Ethnography in Sweden, the documentary traces the fascinating journey of the Haisla to reclaim the traditional mortuary pole. Bringing to light a powerful story of cultural rejuvenation, the film raises provocative questions about the ownership and meaning of Aboriginal objects held in museums. Cardinal skilfully layers compelling interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers as they create a replica pole. The Haisla have fulfilled a promise to the museum to replace the original totem. Now, having honoured their end of the bargain, they await the return of the G'psgolox pole.

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Citation

Main credits

Cardinal, Gil (film director)
Cardinal, Gil (screenwriter)
Thompson, Bonnie (film producer)
Krepakevich, Jerry (film producer)

Other credits

Editor/associate director, Marke Slipp; director of cinematography, Daron Donahue; original music, Clode Hamelin.


Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Indigenous Peoples in Canada - British Columbia, Indigenous Peoples in Canada - Visual Arts and Architecture, Indigenous Studies - Arts, Arts - Art Galleries and Museums, Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism, History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present), History and Citizenship Education - Issues in Society Today, Visual Arts - Indigenous Art, Visual Arts - Carving and Sculpture, Documentary

Keywords

Indigenous Peoples in Canada - British Columbia, Indigenous Peoples in Canada - Visual Arts and Architecture, Indigenous Studies - Arts, Arts - Art Galleries and Museums, Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism, History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present), History and Citizenship Education - Issues in Society Today, Visual Arts - Indigenous Art, Visual Arts - Carving and Sculpture, Documentary; "Totem: the Return of the Gpsgolox Pole"; National Film Board of Canada