a successful premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival
and an equally exhilarating run at the Vancouver International Film
Festival, Ottawa audiences will have a chance to see Totem: The
Return of the G'psgolox Pole in a special screening at the Canadian
Museum of Civilization, 100 Laurier Street on Wednesday, October
29 at 7:30 p.m. Director Gil Cardinal and a contingent from the
Haisla/Xanaksiyala people of Northwestern British Columbia will
be in attendance.
The Return of the G'psgolox Pole is the contemporary story of the
efforts of the Haisla/Xanaksiyala people of Kitamaat Village south
of Prince Rupert, to recover a traditional mortuary pole, given
without their permission more than 70 years ago to the Swedish government.
In telling the story of the repatriation of the pole, the film captures
the spirit of the people's long battle to rejuvenate their culture,
traditions and language.
fundamentally a story about respect, of both the Haisla and of the
Swedes, as they learn to respect each other through this process,"
filmed master carvers as they prepared two new poles - one to stand
on the original site, the second as a gift to the Swedish Government
in anticipation of the return of the 9-metre Kitlope totem.
screenings across the country, the Haisla have been collecting funds
to help construct a cultural centre, requested by the Stockholm
Museum as a condition for returning the pole. As a testament to
the film's power, $600 was collected in a spontaneous show of audience
support during the film's premiere screening at the Toronto International
Film Festival and another $1400 at the Vancouver International Film
The Return of the G'psgolox Pole is part of a two-film series entitled
Repatriation: Bringing Home Our Ancestors. The other film in the
series is Kainayssini Imanistaisiwa : The People Go On by director
Loretta Todd which opens at The National Gallery of Canada, the
, November 12. The Canadian Museum of Civilization houses the world's
largest collection of totem poles. The Haisla visitors will also
be touring an exhibit of Haisla cultural artefacts at the museum
when they arrive.
was directed by Gil Cardinal and produced for the National Film
Board of Canada by Bonnie Thompson and Jerry Krepakevich.