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Smithers 2023 Year in Review: October – Interior News

January 4, 2024

Walnut Park pole raising heralds academic excellence and reconciliation

Walnut Park Elementary School now has its totem pole.

The pole was designed and carved primarily by Gitxsan artist Dan Yunkws of the Wolf clan from K’san. The project was overseen by master carver Ron Austin.

School District 54 commissioned the pole with additional funding from the Town of Smithers, the First Peoples Arts Council, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest.

“The concept for the totem pole is about children reaching for academic excellence going up the pole to their eventual success at the top of the pole,” said Birdy Markert, Indigenous principal for SD54.

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