The celebration has started

  • Nov. 16, 2012 5:00 a.m.

A year of celebration began on a positive note in Skidegate on Thursday. Gwaii Haanas is celebrating 20 years of successful co-management between the Government of Canada and the Haida Nation. On Thursday afternoon, the Performance House was packed as the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole was unveiled.”This is the beginning of a year of celebration for Gwaii Haanas, celebrating the connection between two governments, the Government of Canada and the Haida Nation. 2013 is the 20th anniversary of the Gwaii Haanas Agreement.The agreement is very unique, a process for two different governments to come together. The model is well studied in other parts of the world,” said Ernie Gladstone of Parks Canada. He added that the pole will honour many connections, both current and past, between the Islands Protection Society, the Skidegate Band Council, the Watchmen program, the CHN, the Government of Canada, the Province of BC, as well as between islanders and visitors.”The Legacy Pole will connect people to the hundreds of poles that used to line the coast of Haida Gwaii. It will be the first pole raised in Gwaii Haanas in 130 years,” Mr. Gladstone said.”My tears are tears of love and gratitude, something we need never be ashamed of,” CHN vice-president April Churchill said, “we are very lucky. The people on this island understand fully what it is to be unified. Gwaii Haanas represents the success that can happen when we all come together. We will pass the torch on and we will never stop.””I feel really proud about what has happened. We have talked about replacing the poles that are going back into the earth, talked about rebuilding whole villages even. This is the first step,” Cindy Boyko of the Archipelago Management Board said, adding that the pole is going to tell the story of protecting Gwaii Haanas from mountain top to sea bottom.She also said “it’s not the truth unless everyone wins and that’s what we are all doing here. I think the creator is looking after us and we need to just remember that.”The designer of the pole, Jaalen Edenshaw explained its design and said “the pole is about working together and how people came together.”The afternoon ended with drumming and dancing.The pole will be raised in Gwaii Haanas, exact location not yet decided, on August 15, with a big celebration in Skidegate two days later.The Gwaii Haanas Agreement was signed on January 30, 1993, formally protecting the area.