The Totem Poles Created By the West Coast First Nations of Canada

Timeline created by Abigail1319
In History
  • 620

    First Nations Settle on the West/Northwest Coast of Canada

    First Nations Settle on the West/Northwest Coast of Canada
    First Nations first started to settle on the Northwest Coast of Canada about 14,000 years ago after the last ice age happened, and totem poles were created by the northern peoples of the West Coast.
  • The Trade Between First Nations and Europeans in the 19th Century

    The Trade Between First Nations and Europeans in the 19th Century
    When Europeans arrived at the West Coast of Canada they introduced new carving tools and materials to the First Nations through trade, which changed how they made and constructed totem poles.
  • The G'psgolox Pole Was Built By the Haisla Tribe

    The G'psgolox Pole Was Built By the Haisla Tribe
    In 1872, the Haisla tribe lost many members due to smallpox; including all of Chief G'psgolox's children, which led him to let spirits guide him through his grief. He then carved and constructed the G'psgolox Pole in commemoration of his experience of "interacting with the spirit world". After completing the construction of the G'psgolox Pole, it was raised "in the village of Misk'usa", and later became significant in First Nations and Canadian history.
  • The Indian Act was Created, Put in Place and Enforced

    The Indian Act was Created, Put in Place and Enforced
    The Indian Act was created and put into place by the Canadian Federal Government in 1876, banning many cultural practices of the First Nations and resulting in mass oppression. The Indian Act made it so all First Nations were treated as children and not able to express or be apart of their culture.
  • The Potlatch Law Was Created and Introduced to First Nations of the West Coast

    The Potlatch Law Was Created and Introduced to First Nations of the West Coast
    The Potlatch Law was put into place under the Indian Act, in 1884 by the Federal Government of Canada to try and further assimilate First Nations. The First Nations ceremony; potlatch, of raising a totem pole, was one of the most important ceremonies for them as it was a role in their wealth distribution, as well as marking important occasions and times in their history. This law was created in the expectation that First Nations would now follow, and adopt, "Christian traditions".
  • The Start of the West Coast First Nations Totem Poles Being Bought

    The Start of the West Coast First Nations Totem Poles Being Bought
    Beginning in the early years of 1920, the Canadian federal government adopted a policy to "salvage anthropology", meaning that they began to purchase totem poles from First Nations communities; specifically "communities living along the Skeena River". The federal government "justified" this as an act of "preserving" art that was "dying", causing many totem poles to be dispersed around the globe, and ending up in museums or collections.
  • Permission Was Asked from the Department of Indian Affairs to Purchase the G'psgolox Pole

    Permission Was Asked from the Department of Indian Affairs to Purchase the G'psgolox Pole
    An Indian Agent; Iver Fougner, wrote a letter to the Department of Indian Affairs for the "Swedish Consul of British Columbia" in 1927, asking for permission to purchase a totem pole of the West Coast. The totem pole that was purchased was the G'psgolox Pole, owned by the Haisla people.
  • The G'psgolox Pole Was Taken From Misk'usa

    The G'psgolox Pole Was Taken From Misk'usa
    The G'psgolox Pole was "severed and taken" while the villagers from the Haisla village; Misk'usa, "were away on a fishing trip". This made the G'psgolox Pole the first "repatriated [totem pole] from overseas". It was taken and shipped to Sweden, where it was in storage for 50 years, then in 198 it was put into the National Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.
  • The Potlatch Ban Was Lifted

    The Potlatch Ban Was Lifted
    The potlatch ban was lifted in 1951, but there was still an ongoing "relocation and repatriation of [West Coast First Nations] stolen materials". This was the beginning of the West Coast First Nations efforts to reclaim their totem poles; a part of their culture.
  • The New Generation of Artists

    The New Generation of Artists
    After the potlatch ban was lifted in 1951, a new generation started to promote and learn "the artist of totem pole carving"; this was cultural revitalization.
  • The Haisla Tribe Found the Location of the G'psgolox Pole

    The Haisla Tribe Found the Location of the G'psgolox Pole
    In 1991, the Haisla tribe finally found out where the G'psgolox Pole was and started the process of "repatriating the pole".
  • The Haisla Tribe Successfully Got the G'psgolox Pole Back in Their Possession

    The Haisla Tribe Successfully Got the G'psgolox Pole Back in Their Possession
    After a long journey that ended in 2006, the Haisla tribe finally, after almost 80 years, got what was rightfully and was always their's; the G'psgolox Pole.
  • West Coast First Nations Artists Today

    West Coast First Nations Artists Today
    In the present day, there are many First Nations artists that "carve totem poles on commission", and they are very successful at it. Most artists create totem poles in a traditional style, though some choose to include modern and more untraditional styles. These artists who work for commission can make "tens of thousands of dollars" because of the amount of detail and time that is put into each totem pole.
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    The Arrival of Europeans

    In the 1790s, Europeans arrived at the West Coast of Canada which was already inhabited by the northern peoples of the West Coast.
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    Colonization

    Starting during the beginning of the 19th century, the federal government wanted and was trying, to eliminate First Nations and their culture.
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    The Potlatch Ban

    From 1884 to 1950, the potlatch ban was in effect causing many West Coast First Nations totem poles to be appropriated, displaced and lost, by Europeans. A huge part of the First Nations culture was taken from them, and their homes, just to be "brought to museums and parks around the world".
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    New Totem Poles Were Commissioned

    In the late 1960s, totem poles started to be commissioned for museums, exhibits and parks, also this is when totem poles "once again [started] being raised in potlatches".