Restorative pole project finished in Edgewood

A photo of the top of the pole. Photo: Louanne Flintoft

Work to restore a 20-foot story pole in Edgewood is complete.

Louanne Flintoft, who is First Nations herself, was busy painting, staining and carving the pole over the last few months to help finish the project.

John Flintoft, Louanne’s brother-in-law, said most of the restoration work took place at the top of the pole.

“Birds originally got into the top of the pole and started to make bird houses, so we had to get a chainsaw and cut that top section off,” said John.

“Louanne then carved the new section of the pole and helped to fastened it down in place.”

A new coyote head now sits at the top and it was designed by Louanne’s mother, Dorothy Crabbe, before the pole was built in the 1970s.

Crabbe is about to turn 90 years old and also worked with Louanne on the design of the new coyote head.

A wooden dowel has also been cemented into a hole near the top of the pole to help make the coyote head more stable. The coyote head represents the spirits of the entire Sinixt and Arrow Lakes Band.

The entire pole was also sanded down to the wood again and holes were filled in to help restore it.

Painting the entire pole on five different levels of scaffolding wasn’t the easiest, according to Louanne.

“A group of people ended up putting the scaffolding together and I told them that is had to be safe,” said Louanne.

“I’m not a big height person, but they helped to make the scaffolding secure so that was really good.”

The pole was constructed in its upright position next to the local credit union.

The new pole will now play a crucial part in showcasing local First Nations culture to the public.

“This pole represents the presence of the local First Nations and what they did in their traditional territory,” said Louanne.

“That includes the building of their sturgeon-nosed canoes and how they used them to travel up and down the lake.”

First Nation’s fishermen, hunters and basketweavers are others represented in the pole.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay provided funding to the Edgewood Community Club to complete the project.

Louanne said she wants to thank Edgewood resident David Buchroder and all the other community members who helped to restore the pole.

BC Hydro helped to fund the initial pole project back in the 1970s.

READ MORE: Federal government to join assessment of Teck coal mine expansion in B.C.


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