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Centennial Totem Pole slated for renewal

Hewn from red cedar, Mungo Martin's iconic Centennial Totem Pole had been telling history to the sky since 1958, but weather, insects and time are taking their toll.

"This amazing piece of art has a longer history than when the weather decides that's the end of it," said Bill McLennan of UBC's anthropology department.

The 30.5-metre (or 100-foot) pole stands in Hadden park, south of the Maritime Museum in Vancouver. Its twin stands in Windsor Great Park in London, a gift to the oyal family in Britain. 

 

Native Carver Mungo Martin

 

It was the work of Kwakwaka'wakw carver Mungo Martin who helped to revive the art of totem carving on Canada's West Coast, according to McLennan.

It's a foot-high for every year of colonial history and features 10 figures, each one for a different tribe, said McLennan.

"He took one piece of history from each of those tribes so you have an amazing document of history," he said.

"Mungo Martin was the last person on the West Coast that had been trained as a young man to be a traditional carver for all the Potlatch regalia and totem poles and everything that went with it," said McLennan.

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