Cathedral Grove
British Columbia

The Protest

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Big Trees:
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Big Trees &
Totem Poles

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Big Trees & Totem Poles

    Haida Gwaii Totem Poles  
  Skeena River Totem Poles   The Vanishing of Totem Trees  
  Aboriginal Heritage Trees

Totem poles are typically carved from red cedars. Today totem pole carving is a flourishing contemporary art form and an expression of indigenous identity. Guujaaw (right), a carver and the president of the Council of the Haida Nation is at the forefront of a movement to stop the destruction of aboriginal heritage trees by industrial logging. In a petition submitted to the UN Convention for Biological Diversity in 2003, he wrote: "We will make a stand now or lose our culture. There is no substitute for a 500 year old cedar for a totem pole or an 800 year old tree for a canoe. Having said that, a living tree is of more value than any cultural object. The North Pacific Cultures and their relationship to the Earth is not only worthy of survival but essential to understanding humanity's place on this Earth in this century."


Guujaaw, 20 May 2004
Photo: Union of BC Indian Chiefs