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Kwakwaka’wakw Pole

Kwakwaka’wakw Pole, ca 1981
Carver: Tony Hunt
Based on: Kwakwaka’wakw Pole

The original pole in the A’wa’etłala village of Dzawadi in Knight Inlet had five figures but only the top three were collected by Charles F. Newcombe in 1914. Newcombe may not have acquired the original, downward-sloping wings of the bird at the top of the pole because the wings were straight when the pole section was erected in Thunderbird Park. This is the third version of the pole to stand in the park. The second was almost completely destroyed by fire in July 1980, when the first Haida carving studio burned down. The partially destroyed pole and a photograph of the original, taken by Edward Dossetter at Dzawadi in 1881, were the references used to complete this new version. In Dossetter’s photograph, the bottom figure of the original pole is obscured by people standing in front of it and was therefore omitted from the replica. The original pole is in the Royal BC Museum’s collection (RBCM 1859).
RBCM 20121.
All Colour Images - RBCM, 2006.

Kwakwaka’wakw Pole




Thunderbird or Kolus (a relative of Thunderbird), with the wings now angled downward.

Dzunukwa, the Wild Woman of the Woods. Dzunukwa is a sleepy giantess who is known steal children. Because she is clumsy, children may escape, taking with them supernatural treasure. Her pursed lips indicate her typical cry: ‘Hu, Hu, Hu’.

Two chiefs holding Coppers. Coppers are units of wealth on the Northwest Coast. Their presence here symbolizes the wealth and status of the chiefs depicted.


Close up of Thunderbird
Thunderbird Wing

Copper Chief
Chief Copper
Dzawadi, 1881. Edward Dossetter photograph. BC Archives B-03564.
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