Very rare in Gitxsan pole design is the use of the ovoid, rather than circular, eyeform. Found on two poles in Gitwangak, this unique feature makes them easy to identify in photographs and paintings. Carr's rendering features only the bottom figure, that of an ensnared bear. George Pepper's panoramic view reveals more of the pole, including two bears and two wolves.
"At the time when the people of this family all lived at the headwater of 'Kalem river, a beautiful maiden . . . once made abusive remarks about the bears, as she slipped in bear's dung on the trail. Two bears in human form overtook her and, for her punishment, led her to the feast house of their chief, where she was taken to wife by his son. She imperceptibly changed to a bear herself and, when living with the Bear in a cavern on the mountain aide, she gave birth to twins, which were half human and half bear. Her brothers meanwhile searched for her. . . . the brothers, slew the Bear, saving her semi-human children. Before dying, the Bear husband taught his wife two ritual songs, which the hunters should use over his dead body, to ensure good luck."
On to Kispiox
See more paintings of Gitwangak
See more photographs of Gitwangak