There is a nice story behind how the Burke acquired this pole: in the late 1990s, Warren and Ellie Guntheroth (Warren is a physician at the UW) commissioned David Boxley to carve a pole for their home, partially in memorial to their Siberian Husky, Sasha. The pole was dedicated at the Guntheroth home in 1999. When Ellie passed away a few years ago, Warren decided the pole needed to be moved to a place where future generations could enjoy it, as he and his wife had, and generously donated the pole to the Burke Museum.
Then, a rededication ceremony helped introduce the pole to its new home: the UW Tower lobby. The unveiling of the pole itself was very exciting and dramatic!
Following the unveiling, David and his friends in the Git-hoan (People of the Salmon) Dance Group treated the crowd to several dance numbers, many written by David himself.
Their performance was a great reminder of the living culture that thrives in Native communities, like the Tsimshian, today. In the words of David, “The traditions are ours, but there needs to be a witness.” Now, for as long as the pole remains in the UW Tower, all people who pass by it will be the witnesses to a beautiful work of art, and to one piece of the Tsimshian tradition.
The artist, David Boxley, speaks about his culture and his craft.