Alvin Mack directs the pullers during the raising of the pole

Mack Family raises pole, hosts reunion at Nusqu’lst

It was a thorough 25 days of hard work and determination that a totem pole representing a grizzly bear holding a copper was completed.

It was thorough 25 days of hard work and determination that a totem pole representing a grizzly bear holding a copper was completed. On August 16, 2014, the totem pole, designed by Lyle Mack, was raised at Nusqu’lst. This area is the traditional territory of the Mack family and other families of the Nuxalk Nation.

Coinciding with a Mack family reunion organized by Buddy Mack and Faye Edgar and many others, the event also unveiled the memorial headstones of Gloria Smith, who was the daughter of Minnie Mack, and Lucy Mack, who was the wife of Orden Mack.

Chuck Whaley opened the event with a prayer and Jacinda Mack welcomed the hereditary chiefs, elders and guests. Due to the historical eradication of much of the Nuxalkmc because of smallpox, Mack stated that, “All of us here today are the strongest of people, we are the survivors.”

It took many people working together to complete the totem pole. Along with experienced carvers Alvin Mack and James Mack Sr., other main carvers included Alvin’s sons Lyle, Rueben, Brandon, as well as Clyde Young, Kyle Tallio, Peter Snow and Chazz Mack. The passion of the carvers and ability to collaborate well together worked to unite the Mack family and hopefully the rest of the community. Alvin Mack stated, “If we work hard together as a nation and as a people, we can do anything.”

Hereditary Chief James Mack Sr. and Alvin Mack remember as youth watching their father Willie Mack carve in their living room. They started by helping him sand and paint and they eventually learned the art and technique themselves. Lyle Mack kept his grandfather in his mind as he worked on the pole and cited him as an inspiration and reflected that, “On almost every one of his poles he carved the grizzly with the copper.” The grizzly bear is the family crest used by the Mack family.

Alvin Mack also noted that when the totem pole was raised it tilted sideways and when it was positioned in the ground it again turned a little bit. Although with some manpower it could have been straightened out to face the highway straight on, it was left in its original place watching over the Nusqu’lst valley.

Reuniting together in a positive way for the family brought excitement and stronger family connections. The Mack family is large, with relatives all over BC and beyond. Coming together in their homeland was very unifying for James Mack Sr. “I really enjoyed getting to know the family more,” he said.

Reflecting on the events that took place, Melvina Mack stated that, “We are always guided by our culture, values and traditions. We are always evolving.” Stories were told, songs were sung and dances were shared. All validation, that despite the setbacks that Colonialism has brought to Nuxalk Nation, the future of the Nation is optimistic. Undoubtedly, this is one of many poles being planned by local carvers.

Just Posted

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Conservation officers relocate two grizzlies away from Bella Coola

Officers worried the bears would become reliant on human food sources

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

B.C. ‘will be ready’ for marijuana legalization

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says some stores open by Oct. 17

Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

Most Read