Book explores local totem

Doug Armstrong is enamoured of West Coast native art and has a good collection of his own – mostly masks

The raven sits at the top of the totem pole at Totem Pole Resort.

Doug Armstrong is enamoured of West Coast native art and has a good collection of his own – mostly masks, some paintings, and a bentwood box natives used to store food and clothing.

Armstrong is also an admirer of native totem poles and the author of Giants of the Pacific Northwest – The Hunt Family Totem Poles.

When Armstrong and his wife, Mary, travelled to the Totem Pole Resort out of curiosity in 1987 to see the resort’s namesake, it was love at first sight.

A seasonal resident of the resort, Armstrong describes the totem pole as one of the top five to 10 totem poles in the world.

“My book came as a result of the presence of the pole at Totem Pole Resort since 1973,” says Armstrong.

Allan Dray purchased the property known as the Nightingale Resort in 1971, commissioned the pole in 1972 and changed the name to the Totem Pole Resort and Marina.

Before he died in 2008, Dray thanked the Armstrongs for their research capabilities, exceptional know-how and tenacity to get the story down on paper.

In his book, Armstrong describes the Hunt clan as a remarkable family of First Nations artists and says the North Shuswap one is the best the family produced.

The chief carver was Henry Hunt, a member of the Kwagiulth Nation, who was assisted by Richard Hunt and apprentice John Livingston.

“The chap who established the Totem Resort went to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria to inquire about totem poles,” Armstrong says.

“The bewildered secretary sent him to the longhouse next door where Henry Hunt was working.

“He was a Texan and he pulled a chequebook from his pocket and said ‘how much?’ As a result, we have one of the best totem poles in the world.”

The top of the pole is a raven, followed by a brown man, a seagull, a bear, a killer whale, a hok hok bird, a wild woman and a two-headed serpent.”

Armstrong says the adz marks are very clear, a confirmation that the totem pole was completely hand-crafted.

“It is interesting to note that it is restored every 15 to 18 years,” says Armstrong, noting the net profit from the sale of the book will go to restoration of the totem pole at the resort.

“It’s a wonderful piece of history for the Shuswap.”

Accompanied by beautiful photos, the fascinating book contains the history of the Hunt family, a brief history of totem poles and a detailed account of the Totem Pole Resort totem and how it was built and installed.

Giants of the Pacific Northwest is available at Hidden Gems Bookstore on Alexander Street in Salmon Arm.

 

Just Posted

Snapshot: Sicamous Fire Department collects for annual toy drive

On Sunday, Dec. 8 the fire department collected food and toys to benefit those in need.

Sicamous Eagles lose to league-leading Kimberley Dynamiters

The Eagles will be right back at it with a Sunday afternoon game against Chase.

People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Urban Matters consultants gather information from ‘experts’ as they work on housing strategy

Word on the street: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

The Observer asked: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Sicamous Eagles chilled by Chase Heat

Eagles will get another crack at the Heat on Dec. 20

In photos: Salmon Arm Community Band and the King

Audience treated to seasonal classics and a surprise performance

320 years since the ‘Big One’ doesn’t mean it’s overdue: B.C. professor

‘It could happen today, tomorrow or 100 years from now’

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

B.C. coroner asking for help identifying man found dead in Peace region

Mounties have deemed the man’s death not suspicious and believe he died earlier this year

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

Morning Start: What if The Matrix starred Will Smith?

Your morning start for Monday, Dec. 09

Most Read