Healing Totem Project
This was a 20-week carving project that had 10 core carvers and 20 carvers in total. They spent their summer by the Yukon River by the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre to create this healing totem for our community. Throughout the project we collected each wood chip, as a symbol of the people impacted by residential school experience and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, to be burned in a ceremony. A portion of the ashes was saved and placed in 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, here in Whitehorse. The grandmothers, mothers, and children carried the Raven (top piece) with dancer’s leading the way to the totems new home. After joining the Raven to the rest of the totem, they began raising the totem. A time of celebration followed after the totem was secured in its final position. Set in our community, as a reminder that we have started our healing process together.
Master Mentor Carver:
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
This information was referenced from the book created by NCES, written with the artist & Heather Finton.
Awakening Spirit : Echoes of Ancient Yukon Traditions – Available for purchase