Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I have returned from a most fabulous 6 week adventure out west; to Vancouver Island and the state of Washington.

I'd hoped to blog about my adventures as I went along my merry way but my way was w-a-a-a-a-a-y too merry for me to put pinkies to keys other than to write to Rod. I have been in a permanent state of :) the whole time. So, over the next few weeks I'll tuck in some of the reports of my adventures through edited letters that I sent his way (You don't want to read the "poopsie, schmoopsie" mushy stuff, do ya?...Didn't think so.)

Here's the overview of the 3 legs of the trip:

  1. Rod and I attended the wedding of my niece Tiffany and her hubby Rich and spent the rest of the first 3rd of the visit with family, friends and food with a little trip to Tofino added to the mix - more about that later...NOTE: See blogpost SUITCASE DIARIES - 1 
  2. After saying good bye to Rod at Campbell River airport, the purpose of the middle 3rd of my trip was to: visit friends in Maple Bay, Sidney and Victoria; talk about dreams, lead dreamcircles and provide one-on-one dreamwork sessions as well as Shiatsu treatments; and attend events/classes at the Iyengar Centre of Victoria - more about that later...NOTE: See blogpost SUITCASE DIARIES - for Derek and Carole
  3. During the last, third, leg of my adventure I attended Dream Teacher Training with ROBERT MOSS at MOSSWOOD HOLLOW in Duval, WA - more about that later... check out my TWITTER feed & AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS on occasion as many of these entries will show up there.
The entries will appear as the spirit moves me, in no particular order. Just look for SUITCASE DIARIES

Sat, SEPT 8/12
What a fabulous day!!!

I went to Government House this morning with Adelle for the raising of the totem pole carved by Tony Hunt, a member of the well known Hunt family of carvers. This event was part of Victoria's 150th birthday celebration; one of many others happening around the city today.

As we walked through the familiar grounds I told Adele of the nights that Sorel and I would sneak into the gardens after hours just to sit by the pond under a starry sky, talk about our hopes and dreams of the future and pick a few flowers to grace our humble abodes.

And as I watched the gathering crowd, I remembered the summer I spent drawing the native artwork - totems, carvings, the painting on the front of the long house within the exibit, small decorative items amongst other things - in the Museum on the grounds of Thunderbird Park. I remembered seeing the Hunt name associated with many of these works of art. And, as I daily passed through the park, I watched native carvers help a totem pole emerge from a trunk of wood.

Speeches were given by Lt.-Gov Steven Point (of First Nations heritage), Tony Hunt (carver of the pole). Elders and members representing many native communities were invited to speak if so moved.

Hunt mentioned that he was present when his grandfather, Chief Mungo Martin, carved the original Hosaqami totem pole that stood in Portsmouth, England for 30 years. In fact his grandfather gave his young grandson a chisel to help with the work; Tony's initiation into the family craft was begun. The original pole, commissioned in 1959 to commemorate the relationship between the Canadian and British navies, was damaged beyond repair. It was returned to Canada and was laid to rest on the grounds of Government House so that it can, "disappear back to Mother Earth," Hunt said.

This pole was commissioned to honour the original work and to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. Chief Hunt's son and grandson were amongst the carvers who produced the pole that was raised today making 6 generations carrying on the family tradition.

Hunt talked about Mungo Martin House (Wawadit'la) in Thunderbird Park and the pivotal role it played in lifting the ban on the Potlatch ceremony (from Wikipedia - "Potlatch, in Chinook jargon refers to the "different ceremonies among [the] many nations of the Pacific Northwest that... [include] feasting, dancing and giving gifts to all in attendance."[1]) which had been banned in Canada in1884. Amongst the "reasons" for the ban listed in Wikipedia I found this one very interesting - "this behaviour was deemed possibly as a destabilizing force in the nation because it was so dramatically opposed to the values of the ideal "Christian capitalist society"[2]...

As I understand it, when the building of Wawadit'la was finished in 1953, Wilson Duff (the museum's anthropology curator at the time) commented that now the house was complete. Chief Mungo said that it wouldn't be a real house until a Potlatch was held to honour and empower it - setting the wheels of repeal into motion. The opening ceremony for the house was the first time a potlatch was "legally" held after the ban was removed from the Indian Act. (The ban was virtually impossible to enforce. Hunt and many others continued to risk being arrested, during that time, as participants in potlatches in many First Nations communities throughout the province.)

The pole lay face-down. Ropes wrapped around it connecting it to pulleys and stabilizing trees. Two elders came forth and chanted to begin the ceremony. Elders, veterans, carvers and other first nation's people in the crowd were asked to help pull the pole into position.

But before this, Point, noticing a granite outcropping in front of the stand, encouraged the children to come close, sit upon it so that they could have a better view from which to serve witness so that they might one day tell their grandchildren of this most historic event; that they were there. He said, "This pole reminds us that different cultures need to live in harmony"...  it represents... "a new time for us all to stand in the same circle." In his powerful voice he chanted a song to B.C., our home. (I got a CD of it, profits from sales are going to help young women living on the street).

I held my breath during the initial attempts as the pole hovered at a low angle, the ropes creaked as it swayed and then returned to the cradle with a "thud". Patiently, the group co-ordinated their effort, guided by a man on the mic. The pole began to rise; he told them to stop as the thunderbird (eagle) came into view so that he might comment on it. They resumed, "stop" he said, as the whale below came into view and we saw the hole that Lt.-Gov Point contributed to the effort. They resumed, "stop" he said again as the pole leaned, so close to being upright. He announced,"I'm going to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back." Laughter rippled through the anxious crowd. I've come to learn that ceremony isn't complete without humour.

When the pole was firmly upright, I moved to the rock beside the statue of Sir James Douglas (also commissioned for the Queen's Silver Jubilee and unveiled on May 21/12, sculpted by Armando Barbon who was in attendance and introduced to the crowd) to get a better vantage point. The drumming, singing and dancing began (Hunt's son and grandson dancing proudly with the others) as a young eagle flew overhead and the scent of pines wafted through the air on a light, cool breeze.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the rest of the celebration (a feast of salmon, bannock and more) and the unveiling of THE SALMON PEOPLE a carving gracing the face of the bandshell, as I had to get ready for my trip on the walk-on ferry to Seattle on Sunday.
*        *        *
1.^ Lutz, John. “After the Fur Trade: The Aboriginal Labouring Class of British Columbia, 1849-1890” in Labouring Canada: Class, Gender, and Race in Canadian Working-Class History, ed. Brian D. Palmer & Joan Sangster. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2008. P.26

2. ^ibid P.28

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