Video courtesy of Alma-Rose Siddall

A “monumental” totem pole was raised in the Village of Queen Charlotte in Haida Gwaii Saturday, the village’s first in over 200 years.

The raising took place outside their new hospital on “Hospital Day”, one of the oldest holidays on the Island. Other smaller totem poles can be found in Queen Charlotte standing around 12-feet tall, but the monumental totem stands at 40-feet.

The event was said to mark the major work done between the communities of Queen Charlotte and Skidegate in crafting a unique health care centre.

“It’s truly the story of two communities coming together to try to really incorporate Haida health models with traditional health models,” said Lori Wiedeman, the chief administrative officer for the Village of Queen Charlotte.

“The Skidegate Health Centre was the lead organization in raising the pole, and the Village of Queen Charlotte, as well as the doctors, were a partner in that.”

Nearly 1,000 people showed up to the event.

The "monumental" totem pole was raised by community members on Haida Gwaii Saturday afternoon. Photo sent in by Alma-Rose Siddall

The “monumental” totem pole was raised by community members on Haida Gwaii Saturday afternoon. Photo sent in by Alma-Rose Siddall

The new hospital opened in 2016 and features a traditional Haida mortuary and a larger space in the palliative wing that can accommodate entire families who traditionally come to support an elder or loved one.

Hospital Day commemorates the time when islanders came together in 1908 to raise funds to build the first hospital in the village.

The 1908 hospital still stands today as a heritage building, but the second hospital built in 1955 was demolished after the newest hospital opened.

“We’ve all been working together for the past year… it was a pretty amazing and significant day for everybody that attended,” added Wiedeman.

The "monumental" totem pole was raised by community members on Haida Gwaii Saturday afternoon. Photo sent in by Alma-Rose Siddall

The “monumental” totem pole was raised by community members on Haida Gwaii Saturday afternoon. Photo sent in by Alma-Rose Siddall

Julian Kolsut