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Totems and Tributaries – Evening Presentation with Featured Artists & Guests – Saturday, September 8th, 2018

September 8, 2018 @ 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Totems and Tributaries – Evening Presentation with Featured Artists & Guests

7pm Doors / 7:30pm Start

With our festival theme this year, Totems & Tributaries, we explore how individuals and communities can express identity, values, and political presence on the landscape through the visual language of the traditional and contemporary carving arts.

Gitwilgyoots Totem Pole Raising, Lelu Island – Film Screening (3:23 min) – After 2 years fighting to protect the Skeena Estuary and wild salmon from an LNG terminal sited on Lelu Island, the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Tsimshian Nation prevailed. As a symbol of their struggle to save an ancient way of life for future generations, and the sacrifice made by many, the Gitwilgyoots raised a totem pole to mark their sacred territory and acknowledge their presence on Lelu Island. Filmed and edited by Daniel Mesec on unceded Gitwilgyoots Territory, additional footage provided by Alex Harris, with support from SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.

Yes, women carve – Artist Talk with Lou-ann Kakasolas Neel, Kwakwaka’wakw – Challenging the popular colonial belief that only men were trained in the ancient practice of carving, Lou-ann will honour the legacy of her grandmother Ellen Kakasolas Neel, as a practicing artist and carver who has been largely left out of recorded art history. Lou-ann will share stories from her grandmother’s life and the impressive body of work created during her lifetime. Lou-ann will also offer insights and reflections from her own journey as a female carver and artist, including her frequent visits to museum collections in BC and Washington state, where the works of many of her family members are housed.

Honouring of Alliances along salmon migration routes  – Presentation with Tim Paul, Nuu-chah-nulth Master Carver and Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman for the Tsilhqot’in National Government – In 2004, Tim Paul and the Hoomis family gifted the Tsilhqot’in community a Čiinuł (Totem Pole) in support of their ongoing quest for reconciliation. The Tsilhqot’in have made great advances in recent years to assert their inherent rights with recognition of their rights and title in the Supreme Court of Canada. The Čiinuł was raised at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) during the declaration of the Dasiqox Tribal Park. The depth of this alliance will honoured with a presentation by Nuu-chah-nulth carver, Tim Paul and a Tsilhqot’in delegation of Chief Joe Alphonse, Cecil Grinder and JP LaPlante.

*All evening events are by donation. We ask that all festival participants bring with them an open heart, curious mind, and practice respect for cultural protocols.

Photo credit: Tshilqot’in National Government



Lou-Ann Neel: is from the Kwagiulth, ‘Namgis, Mamalillikulla, Mumtagila, Kwickwasutaineuk and Da’naxda’xw tribes of the Kwakwala-speaking people (also called Kwakwaka’wakw).  The granddaughter of Ellen Kakasolas Neel, Lou-ann has been studying and learning the practice of wood carving with a view to continuing her family’s tradition in the practice of carving. Lou-ann has been a practicing visual artist for over 35 years, creating works in textiles, jewelry, and more recently, digital design.


Tim Paul: was born in 1950 in the isolated village of Esperanza Inlet, north of Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. He began carving in 1975 under the direction of Ben Andrews and later with John Livingston at the Arts of the Raven studio in Victoria, BC. Tim held the position of senior carver at the Royal British Columbia Museum from 1984-92. As a career artist he has carved many prestigious totem poles and cultural commissions in and outside Canada. He has a vast knowledge of tradition and history that has influenced his work as an artist, teacher, and environmentalist. Tim is a founding member of the festival & society.


Chief Joe Alphonse: has been the Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) since 2010 and elected Chief of the Tl’etinqox Government since 2009. From 2000 to 2009 Chief Alphonse acted as the Director of Government and Services at the TNG. From 1997 to 2000 he attended Lethbridge Community College for Environmental and Political Science and managed Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society in 2000. Chief Alphonse also acted as a Council member of Tl’etinqox Government from 1989 to 1993. Chief Alphonse played an instrumental role in the Tsilhqot’in Nation vs. British Columbia Aboriginal Title case. As a fluent Chilcotin speaker, Chief Alphonse is a fifth generation Tsilhqot’in Chief and the direct decedent of Chief Anaham, the Grand Chief of the Tsilhqot’in Nation during the Chilcotin War of 1864. Chief Alphonse has brought stability, consistency and respectability into the many roles he has been honoured to hold within his community and Nation.

Councilor Cecil Grinder: is an elected member of Council of the Tl’etinqox Government, one of the six Tsilhqot’in communities. A former Tl’etinqox Chief from 2001-2003, Councilor Grinder has taken on the role of a Deyen (spiritual healer) since 2005, after being encouraged by his late Uncle Raymond Alphonse to accept this gift and responsibility. As part of his duties, Councilor Grinder has worked for many of the Tsilhqot’in communities and the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society in the fields of health and wellness, with a focus on traditional healing. Councilor Grinder retired from the RCMP (Aboriginal Policing) after 20 years of service in 2000. Councilor Grinder has played an important role in the revitalization of traditional healing camps in Tsilhqot’in Territory, and the protection of sacred sites such as Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), which is the home of the Čiinuł (Totem Pole) gifted to the Tsilhqot’in Nation by Tim Paul and the Hoomis family. Each year Councilor Grinder leads a healing camp open to all, celebrating the Nuu-chah-nulth gift and re-connecting with Tsilhqot’in ancestors at Teztan Biny. The annual Healing Camp now coincides with the anniversary of the Čiinuł raising, October 4.


September 8, 2018
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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Carving Festival


The Shore
368 Main Street
Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0 Canada
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