Haida carver Lyle Campbell started working on a memorial pole for his late mother Alice Campbell on April 20, 2020 in Prince Rupert. (Lyle Campbell/Submitted photo)

‘She had the most amazing heart’: Haida carver raising money for mother’s memorial pole

Lyle Campbell and crew raising money for red cedar pole that will honour memory of Alice Campbell

A Haida carver is raising money for a memorial pole project meant to honour his late mother.

Prince Rupert-based carver Lyle Campbell and a crew of three helpers started work on a 65-foot red cedar log from Haida Gwaii on April 20, transforming it into a memorial pole for Lyle’s mother Alice Campbell, who died of breast cancer almost six years ago.

To compensate his crew for the work, which is expected to take about five months, Lyle started a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $24,000.

“I’m not taking any money on this project,” he told the Observer. “I will not take a dollar as pay because I’m doing this to honour the life of my mother.”

ALSO READ: Death looks different in a pandemic: B.C. bereavement workers, religious leaders taking new measures

In a way, Lyle said his mother had the idea for the memorial pole in the first place.

She was born on Haida Gwaii, met Lyle’s father and moved with him to Prince Rupert where he was working. Despite having an artificial hip — she suffered from polio at age eight — she gave birth to Lyle as well as several siblings.

“They told her she’d never have children, but she had four,” Lyle said.

She was limited in what she could do for work as a result of her hip, however, and would knit to sell or donate.

Often she would be knitting when Lyle visited her and he remembers her looking over her shoulder at the yard.

“She’d say, ‘I’m just imagining what my pole will look like,’” he said.

“After she passed, it just more and more seemed like it had to happen at any cost. It just had to happen.”

ALSO READ: Haida artist and protesters fight to protect cedar forest in Masset, court decision looms

About a year ago, after taking some time away from carving, Lyle started working with a Haida liaison to acquire the cedar log for his mother’s memorial pole.

“They happened to be building a road near a monumental cedar, so when the timing was right the tree was fallen,” he said. “Carvers know sometimes we have to wait for the right log to come along.”

For the design of the pole, Lyle said he was inspired by the crests of his family’s Stasdsta’aas people, such as a beaver, an eagle, butterfly, frog and dragonfly.

When complete, with acknowledgement going out to the Tsimshian people, he said the pole will stand 30 feet above ground in Prince Rupert, where his father still resides.

And if COVID-19 is still causing restrictions on large gatherings, he said the pole may need to be raised rather quietly.

“Before she died she said she didn’t want any big feasts or celebration, just a small family gathering, and that’s what she’s going to get,” he said. “Kind of funny how that worked out.”

Lyle said the remaining wood from the red cedar log will be used to create smaller, seven-foot poles, a sculpture that is destined for Denmark, masks and more.

ALSO READ: Haida artist given month to live without cancer treatment, but must wait weeks to see doctor

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

artistCity of Prince Rupert

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lyle Campbell shared the design for the Haida memorial pole he is carving for his late mother Alice Campbell on the GoFundMe page he created in April 2020 to raise money for the project. (Lyle Campbell/Submitted photo)

Just Posted

SD 52 fires superintendent

Dr. Irene LaPierre removed from position immediately.

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Necropsy for Port Edward wolf is scheduled

Wolf sightings in Prince Rupert have increased

Wolf killed in Port Edward

Samples to be sent to lab. for testing

Why I relay

Cancer survivor learns to heal

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read