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    Newly Restored BC Totem Pole Set to be Unveiled Friday in Whitehorse

    The restored totem pole will be unveiled on Friday in Whitehorse (photo courtesy of Yukon communities)

    A newly restored BC Totem Pole by hereditary Tsimshian Chief William Jeffrey is set to be released to the public in Whitehorse on Friday.

    Tourism and Culture Art Curator Garnet Muething says the Yukon government has been working long and hard preparing   to unveil a restored BC totem hall to the Yukon public as part of National Indigenous Peoples' Day on Friday.

    Muething says the totem pole, which was originally gifted to the Yukon Government in 1971 by hereditary Tsimshian Chief William Weffrey to mark BC's 100th year since joining confederation, says there have been multiple components to the three-year restoration project.

    "We've had a huge team of people involved actually. We've had people from the Historic Site's Unit, the Museum's Unit, and I've worked with the art's section of Tourism and Culture. It's definitely been a cross-department collaboration within government. We've also been working with members of the family of the carver from central British Columbia."

     Members of Jeffrey's family will also be flying up from British Columbia to attend the unveiling of the totem pole, which is set to take place at 10 am in front of the Yukon Government Main Administrative building on Friday.

    After permission to restore the totem pole was given by Jeffrey's family, Muething says there a lot of consideration given to the restoration  project by those involved.

    "Once we had their (the family's)support, we started to work with Andrew Todd, the lead totem pole conservator in Canada. We wanted to see how we could take down the totem pole, properly restore it, and then put it up again. The last part of the planning process has been a lot of conversation about protocol. With totem poles historically meant to age naturally, there wasn't protocol historically for re-raising them."

    Muething says the newly unveiled pole will have similar characteristics of the original structure as well.

    "I can say that it's looking very vibrant. We had the conservators work very carefully with the paint samples from the surfaces to go back and try and match the historic colours. We've also been working with reference photographs. What you're going to see is this beautiful, brilliant repainted totem pole that's bringing life back into the original design."

    A historical lesson on unveiling of First Nations totem poles will also be given on Friday and all are welcome to attend the event.

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