Totem Pole Among Many Ties to Canada’s First Nations Community
Vancouver (June 10, 2010) - Yesterday, the City of Duncan rededicated its unique Rick Hansen Man In Motion Totem Pole, originally carved in 1988 and recently restored, in a Centennial Park ceremony attended by city officials, the original carver’s family and Rick Hansen.
"It’s an honour to have been portrayed on such an incredible work of art," said Rick Hansen, President & CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. "For my journey to be represented within an iconic feature of First Nations culture is symbolic of our similar efforts to remove barriers, making the world more inclusive."
Originally carved by Salish artist Corky Baines, who was inspired by Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour, now celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Rick Hansen Man In Motion Totem Pole started as a miniature version, carved for a fundraising auction in support of the Tour. Baines was then commissioned by Duncan’s mayor at the time to produce a 12-foot pole and it became part of the City’s permanent collection.
"My husband had back surgery and was feeling very low," said Marilyn Baines, wife of the late carver, Corky Baines. "He watched Rick wheeling around the world, and thought, look what this guy can do. It was like a transformation for him, and he started carving despite his limitations and the steel rods in his back. The Rick Hansen pole was one of his last pieces before he passed away."
The Rick Hansen Man In Motion Totem Pole portrays an eagle above a globe, held by Hansen in a wheelchair, above a whale and is unique for its inclusion not only of a non-Aboriginal person, but a person with a disability, both extreme rarities in totem poles. The eagle represents spirit while the whale symbolizes strength, courage and transformation.
Hansen has a deep respect for Canada’s First Nations and on June 15, will meet with elementary and secondary school students before providing a keynote address during a community dinner to the residents of Masset, a small First Nations fishing village in BC’s Queen Charlotte Islands.
"I have been coming to Masset for 12 years for the Rick Hansen Fishing Challenge and am privileged to visit Haida Territory," said Hansen. "I want to inspire the youth of Masset to make a difference, to share stories and meet people in the community."
Through his work with the spinal cord injury community, Hansen strives to improve the quality of life for people living with spinal cord injury by championing best of care practices for every Canadian, even in the most remote locations. In his volunteer roles with the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society, Hansen led a successful collaboration with various First Nations groups on fish conservation. Hansen is also a Honourary Patron of the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society.