In Pictures: A monumental Hospital Day

Haida Gwaii celebrated a monumental Hospital Day on Saturday.

Not only was it the 110th Hospital Day in Queen Charlotte, hundreds gathered in front of the islands’ newest hospital for its finishing achievement — the raising of the Skidegate Inlet Healing House Pole / Sahgwii X̲aana K̲aahlii Ngaaysdll Naay GyaaG̲ang. Closing the day was a feast to celebrate the pole raising at the George Brown Recreation Centre in Skidegate.

Carved by Master carver Tim Boyko with Tony Greene, Tyler York, and Billy Yovanovich III, who also painted it, the pole tells the story of traditional and modern medicine combined. It features bear teaching a doctor, a raven between a baby and fungus man, a Haida shaman in regalia, an eagle, and up top, three watchmen representing nurses and a doctor.

“When we raise this pole, and hold a feast to celebrate, it will be the first monumental pole raising in Daajing Giids in well over 200 years,” said Kim Goetzinger, emcee at the raising.

Kerry Laidlaw is site administrator for the new Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre / Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay, which opened last year. Laidlaw said right from the beginning of the hospital project, organizers planned a prominent place for a monumental Haida pole.

Given how close it is to the hospital, the pole has a unique, engineered steel base to keep it secure so the pole raising was joined by a construction crew as well as hundreds of strong-armed pole raisers.

“We hope this blending of approaches reinforces the message of joining together that is at the heart of the symbolism of this event,” Laidlaw said.

While the pole raising was the highlight of Hospital Day, it started as always with a parade along Oceanview Drive and a goal of fundraising $25,000.

Ellen Foster, chair of the Hospital Day committee, said this year’s funds will be used to buy new ophthalmology equipment to replace a 40-year-old device used by visiting specialists. The funds also support the Margie Colcol Bursary program, which since 2000 has awarded $57,000 to islanders going to school for healthcare careers.

Hospital Day was also one of a long list of supporters who helped fund the nearly $250,000 needed for the pole and the feast. Others included Northern Health, Gwaii Trust, Northern Savings, the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Vancouver Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, anonymous donors, and Doctors of B.C.

Looking around at dozens of volunteers serving lunch, manning booths, and auctioning items in the community hall, Foster noted that every single one of them is a volunteer — and many did double duty on Saturday, later serving at the pole-raising feast in Skidegate.

“It takes a village to make this happen,” she said.

Dr. Gordon Horner and Satsan, Herb George, admire the pole before it’s raised. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Dr. Gordon Horner and Satsan, Herb George, admire the pole before it’s raised. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Leo the Lion leads the Skidegate Inlet Lions Club. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Summer is hockey time for kids on the Queen Charlotte Youth Centre float. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Dressed in red serge, local RCMP officers lead the parade down Oceanview Drive. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
What makes a mayor? For Greg Martin in the Hospital Day parade, it’s got to be a top hat, kazoo, and conducting spoon. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
It’s rare for a polar bear to support liquidation, but Q.C. Liquidation is an exceptional shop. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Sparky waves to Queen Charlotte’s newest firefighting recruits. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Call this crew for candy emergencies. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
At left, A-4 Zone Chair Ken Copping joins the Skidegate Inlet Lions Club with a new sign commemorating the Lions’ centennial year in 2017. The local branch has been supporting good causes since 1968. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Pojo the Clown brought a touch of pink. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
One of the Stinkers land an out on the way to a 9-4 win over the Stellar Jays in the afternoon softball tourney. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer).
Parka the beaver is all smiles on the Parks Canada float. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Even vegetarians will volunteer to grill hot dogs for Hospital Day. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Mason Jones smashes a water balloon into a million droplets at the kids’ games. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Kylie Williams found the funnest way to water the field. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Sean Muise talks the finer points of planting cedar seedlings, which were given out free from BCTS. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
The shirt of the day was a Hospital Day T with all three Q.C. hospitals on the back. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Gaagwiis, Jason Alsop, signals to fellow Stinkers before throwing a pitch. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
The Grinders make a big hit in the softball tourney. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
It’s hard to top the view from the long-term care wing of the new Haida Gwaii Hospital. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Wigaanad, Sidney Crosby, hereditary chief of Skidegate, welcomed everyone to the monumental pole raising. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Lama Geshe Yong Dong, a Tibetan monk visiting Haida Gwaii, was invited by Haida matriarchs to join in the blessing of the pole. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Crowds watch the blessing of the pole, ready to start pulling it into place. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Elder Diane Brown, Gwaganaad, blesses the pole with creek water and a cedar bough. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Lama Geshe Yong Dong sprinkles eagle down as part of the blessing ceremony. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
From left, Master Carver Tim Boyko shares a laugh with fellow carvers Tyler York, centre, and Billy Yovanovich III. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Tony Greene chose one of the newer tools in the Haida carvers’ toolbox. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Master carver Tim Boyko, left, leads the carver’s ceremony with fellow carver Billy Yovanovich III, right. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Carver Billy Yovanovich III, who painted the pole, dances in the carver’s ceremony. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Haida elders lay beads in the hole below the new pole. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin takes part in the beads ceremony. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Not only did they help fix it in place, the engineers and construction crew who set up the pole’s unique steel base also took part in a bead ceremony at the raising. Kerry Laidlaw, site administrator for the Haida Gwaii Hospital/Xaayda Gwayy Ngaaysdll Naay, said a blend of traditional and contemporary ways was needed to raise and secure the pole, which fit its symbolic spirit — a unity of traditional and modern medicine. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Pole raisers on cue. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Gordon Russ calls out to everyone on the ropes — it was his ninth time overseeing a pole-raising on Haida Gwaii. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Pole raisers get their marks. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Erica-Ryan Gagne leads a pull. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Watchmen look out from the top of the Sahgwii X̲aana K̲aahlii Ngaaysdll Naay GyaaG̲ang / Skidegate Inlet Healing House Pole (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
A drum at the steel base for the pole is ratcheted tight after everyone hoisted the pole upright. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Robert Russ kids the crowd. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Emcee Kim Goetzinger and her daughter Alix dance the pole. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Kerry Laidlaw, site administrator for the Haida Gwaii Hospital / Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay, dances the pole. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
One little raven nearly stole the show. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Gidansda leads a Haida song with singers and dancers from Skidegate. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Sun and even a little rainbow shone at the raising. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

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