Drivers on the highway near Terrace will now pass a beautiful new landmark acknowledging a dark reality of Northern B.C.
“This crest pole is to remember and acknowledge the many Indigenous girls, women, boys and men who went missing or murdered along the Highway 16 corridor from Prince Rupert to Prince George,” Kathy C. Wesley of the Kitsumkalum Band Council wrote over the weekend on the Terrace Community Bulletin Board.
The totem pole, which was carved and painted by Nisga’a artist Mike Dangeli, was raised last week near a highway pullout in Kitsumkalum Tsimishian territory. “Many of the families…have no sense of real closure,” Dangeli told CBC. “So we’re hoping that this becomes a space where it’s a commemoration, it’s a memorial.”
The cedar for the pole, Wesley explained, “came from one of Kitsumkalum’s Culturally Modified Tree’s (CMT).” Dozens of commenters under her post praised the craftsmanship that went into the creating the pole and the importance of its message.
“Stunningly beautiful,” wrote one person.
“I hope when people drive past it they will remember the individuals who have gone missing and pray for closure for the families still grieving,” wrote another.
Indigenous leaders say dozens of girls and women that have gone missing or been murdered since the 1960s on or around the highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert.