An iconic Tlingit totem pole has been restored and will resume its role this summer. Friday’s Fireside Lecture at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center tells the story of the Yax té Totem pole, which stood for many years on the side of Glacier Highway at the site of the former Áak’w Kwáan Village. The totem pole will be re-erected this summer.
Fireside Lectures are free events that take place at 6:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. on Fridays at the visitor center. Doors open at 6 p.m. Visitor center elevators are currently not functional.
This week’s speakers are U.S. Forest Service employees Carla Casulucan and Melinda Hernandez Burke, who both worked closely with master carver Wayne Price to organize the Yax té Totem raising ceremony. The totem pole will be re-erected during a public ceremony June 16, 2017 after Price finishes extensive repairs on insect and bird damage discovered in the pole in 2010.
Hoonah’s Frank St. Clair carved the Yax té Totem pole in 1941 while working under the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal work relief program. In the 1990s, the pole was damaged by vandalism but restored.
The lecture will be preceded by a traditional Tlingit dance performance. The Forest Service will live stream the event on their facebook page.