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All in the Details: Storytelling Totem Poles at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Yesterday, two new totem poles were installed at the Canada Pavilion at Epcot, bringing a new dose of history, culture and storytelling to the pavilion.

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.

All in the Details: Storytelling Totem Poles at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

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.

All in the Details: Storytelling Totem Poles at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

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.

Comments

  • As a Canadian Disney-lover, thanks so much for sharing these stories! Aboriginal Canadians are the heart of our history in Canada and represent the true beginnings of our country. Were there Canadian performers present also? I guess it’s my understanding that Boxley is Canadian and some of the Git-Hoan’s ancestor are traced back to BC as well. Can’t wait to see the new totem poles at our Canada Terrace wedding this summer!

  • We had the great pleasure of seeing these beautiful, new totem poles this past Saturday. And, although we, unfortunately, missed the Git Hoan dancers, we did catch Bodh’aktan’s show and they were amazing! I hope you will consider bringing them back for another run in the future!

  • I am enthralled by all of the stories included all over the Disney properties. I always knew that totem poles told stories but these are the first that I have learned that story.

  • how cool, its all in the details!! love the story telling all around the parks!

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