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Spirit Pole Journey

Country Available: Canada, USA

This moving documentary follows the journey of the Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole, and its dedicated team, as it made its way around British Columbia in just over 90 days.

The Spirit Pole is a unique public art project launched to commemorate and publicize the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games that were held in Duncan, BC from August 3 to 10, 2008. The pole, a 20-foot western red cedar, was selected from the logs that were blown down by the horrific windstorms that devastated Stanley Park in 2006.

During the 3-month journey Master Carver Carey Newman, a Coast Salish and Kwaguilth artist and musician, along with his father Victor, himself a renowned artist and carver, personally instructed over 11,000 British Columbians and visitors as, one at a time, they took their turn at carving a bit of the pole and in turn, carving a moment in history. To have a totem carved by so many hands is indeed a unique undertaking.

Travelling to several communities, we accompany Carey Newman as he meets British Columbians who gather almost daily to be part of this ihistory-in-the-making event.

Viewers witness a variety of dancing, drumming and singing as the team moved from community to community. Styles, regalia, songs and celebrations all play a large part in presenting the richness of diversity that exists among the various First Nations of our province.

On July 28, the Spirit Pole arrival at Cowichan Bay preceded Tribal Journeys, another unique event that was held to honour the Games. Paddlers of more than 100 ocean-going canoes from various communities up and down the coast of North America were warmly welcomed and celebrated together with the Spirit Pole team, as the Spirit Pole was returned back home to the people of Cowichan. 

The Spirit Pole?s journey culminated with its raising on August 3rd during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 North American Indigenous Games and now stands proudly in the community as a permanent legacy to the Games.

View a printer friendly version of this page...Copyright Date: 2009 Formats Available:
  • DVD