This week two new totem poles were introduced to the Canada Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. As the Disney Parks Blog explains, both pieces are meant to bring an element of culture and storytelling to the Pavilion.
From the Disney Parks Blog:
Carved by Tsimshian artisan David Boxley, who previously created a totem pole for the pavilion’s Trading Post in the 1990s, the two new additions each have a unique story to tell.
The Eagle Totem Pole tells one of Boxley’s favorite cultural tales, in which a boy finds an eagle caught in a net on a beach and frees it. Years later, when hunger strikes the boy’s tribe, he walks on the same beach, only to find the eagle there waiting for him with food – paying him back for his kindness years ago. The bottom of this totem pole also tells the story of how a family of beaver taught a human family the importance of treating all creatures – human and animal – with respect.
The Whale Totem Pole depicts the tale of the first potlatch, a ceremonial feast celebrated by the Nagunaks and creatures of the undersea world.
The overnight installation was followed up with a dedication ceremony for the new poles that included a performance by the Git Hoan Dancers (People of the Salmon). Based in Washington state, Git-Hoan members can trace their ancestral roots to some of the main tribes of Southeast Alaska, the Tsimshian, the Haida and Tlingit.