This pole was created with the involvement of students enrolled in the First Nation Carving Program at Carson Graham High School. The pole depicts the ancient Squamish Nation legend of the Two-Headed Serpent and the Serpent Slayer. According to legend, the serpent never slept, as one head was awake in day and the other at night. This serpent had strong magical powers and was known to attack the villagers. One of the villagers was sent on a mission to kill the snake and during his journey he observed the snake making the black streak that still remains on the Stawamus Chief rock face - hence the black streak on the bottom of the pole. After many years of pursuing the snake, the serpent slayer eventually outwitted it. When he completed his task and returned home, he brought strong medicine and special powers from the snake, which he used to unite all the Squamish Nation people and brought peace back to the lands.
About the artist:
Kaapulk / Sessiyám (Ray Natraoro) is a member of the Squamish Nation. He has been carving masks, poles, and model canoes since 1994. He learned to carve canoes from his late uncle. Canoe building can be traced back through five generations of his family. He pays tribute to his family’s teachings by carrying on this tradition for generations to come is glad to pass on his knowledge to his many apprentices.