Totem Pole in Epcot's Canada
The Canada Pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot is home to three native totem poles. Disney says that these totem poles are "authentic examples of Northwestern Native American "family trees." However, the two original poles located in the pavilion towering high in the air are fiberglass and were designed by Imagineers to capture the spirit of the Pacific Northwest.
In the mid 1990's as the world became more invested in it's indigenous peoples, Disney decided that they could use a more authentic piece and hired Tsimshian artist David Boxley from Alaska to create a truly native pieces of art for the Park. Known for his decades long work on the creation of totem poles, Boxley went to work in the park bringing to life this story telling native sculpture with both a totem pole and mask wall.
Using traditional materials, the 30 foot long cedar log was laid on a platform on it's side, roughly where Off Kilter's stage stands today. Guests could watch Boxley work and interact with him as the story of the "Raven" tricking the "Sky Chief" into the release of sun, moon and stars from a chest was carved into the log.
David Boxley's splendid work of art was finally raised to it's display in April 1998. The "Hidden" Mickey just underneath the elbow of a set of arms near the top of the pole was placed there on purpose and adds charm for the average Disney fan. The true beauty in this piece though is that it is a truly authentic work of art, lovingly hand crafted and left at the entrance to the pavilion so that it might help to preserve and spread Tsimshian culture and it's native arts.
What do you think of the totem poles in Epcot's Canada? Leave a message and let me know which is your favorite!