Healing Totem Project

2013 Healing Totem Project


This was 20 – week carving project, that had approximately 20 carvers ,with a core of 10 carvers total,  spend their summer by the Yukon River by the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre,to create this healing totem for our community. While the project continued on its journey to be completed, each carved wood chip was collected to to be burned in a ceremony, as a symbol of the people impacted by residential schools experience and also by effects of drugs & alcohol. A portion of ashes was saved from the burning of the chips ceremony and placed into the totem. Once the totem was completed, the carvers prepared for the raising ceremony, in which all parts of the community came together to carry the totem seven blocks to the end of main street while the grandmothers, mothers, children carried the Raven (top piece) with dancer’s leading the way to the totem’s new home.  they conjoined the Raven top piece to the totem and continued into the raising of the totem ceremony. A time of celebration followed after the totem was secured in its new home and place within our community, as a reminder that we have started our healing process together.

Master Mentor Carver:

Wayne Price

Main Participant Carvers:

Justin Smith

Sara Villeseche

Ben Gribben

Owen Munroe

Josh Lesage

Collin Teramura

Side Participant Carvers:

William Callaghan

Duran Henry

Mark Lange

William “Willz” Skookum

Jacob Blanchard

Rhianna Skookum


This information was referenced from the book created by NCES, written with the artist & Heather Finton.


Awakening Spirit : Echoes of Ancient Yukon Traditions