A totem pole carved for Tl’etinqox to give as a gift to the City of Williams Lake will not be going into Boitanio Park after all. Here the pole was presented in 2016 during the 40th Annual Elders Gathering held in Williams Lake. (LeRae Haynes/Williams Lake Tribune)

B.C. First Nation refuses totem pole gift from fellow nation

The chief of the Tl’etinqox community says the pole is being wrongly perceived as a territorial claim

A totem pole gift from members of a First Nation in B.C.’s central interior is being refused by the Williams Lake Indian Band because it’s being perceived as a claim to territory.

That’s according to Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tl’etinqox, a community that’s part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Alphonse said the totem pole was meant to strengthen the relationship between his community and the City of Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Totem pole unveiled at BC Elders gathering

“Gifting this totem pole was never meant to be about boundary issues, nor be a statement along territorial lines,” Alphonse said, adding he was disappointed. “If you go to Vancouver or any major city, there is First Nations art everywhere. In the Interior, it is almost non-existent.”

Alphonse said Tl’etinqox has had a long-standing gang issue and people always ask what his community is doing about it.

“We’ve taken a different approach than most. We want to focus on kids who are doing well and support them. If the totem pole is there in Williams Lake, kids can look up and be inspired that our culture is on display.”

Alphonse said he feels like he has failed, despite going to meetings with the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council.

“The message to us was very clear that they don’t support the project and stressed it was Tl’etinqox staking their territory, but I told them we don’t deal with boundary issues from individual communities. We deal with those issues at the nation level.”

After being re-elected last week, Alphonse met with the band councillors at Tl’etinqox and they decided to come up with another use for the pole.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars, meanwhile, said his group will engage with its council and prepare a response to the Tsilhqot’in National Government.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQBeat Podcast: Qualicum Beach Museum manager Netanja Waddell

Listen: Podcast talk includes history, fossils, new exhibits and more

PQB crime report: Thieves target vehicles, businesses throughout region

Oceanside RCMP receive 230 complaints in one-week span

Parksville to host special town hall event on community safety

‘Public safety is an important priority for council’

Fire torches large portable bathroom in Qualicum Beach

RCMP: ‘Senseless act has left taxpayers on the hook for the significant damages’

City of Parksville offers information about coronavirus

Says chances of getting COVID-19 locally are currently low

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read