A 34-foot totem pole honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams was carried from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center and raised by some 90 people on Sunday. The pole was carried to its final destination with traditional singing, drumming, and dancing.
The totem pole was carried from Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront to its new home near the Space Needle on the shoulders of several hundred volunteers. Tribal and First Nation artists and elders gathered to witness the pole raising ceremony along with hundreds of other people from the region.
"We give the John T. Williams totem pole to the City of Seattle in the hope that it will be a symbol of peace and honor for many generations," said John T. Williams brother, Rick.
Williams’ brother and others spent months carving an ancient cedar log into a work of art. The pole was paid for by private donors.
John T. Williams was the Native American carver who was shot and killed by a Seattle policeman in August 2010. The shooting of Willaims by officer Ian Birk was ruled unjustified. Birk later resigned from the force. Williams family has said they have forgiven the police.
More than 1000 volunteers are expected to carry a massive totem pole through the streets of Seattle on Sunday morning. The John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole will be raised in a new plaza at Seattle Center around 1 p.m. Williams was the Native woodcarver who was shot and killed by a Seattle policeman in August of 2010.
When the totem pole is raised, it will be the first to go up in Seattle in nearly 100 years.
The pole, which is a gift to the city, was carved from an ancient cedar log by John T. Williams brother Rick and other master carvers. The John T. Williams Totem Pole project is intended to, according to its mission statement:
"Raise awareness of the traditions, history and culture of the City of Seattle's native populations."
Here is Sunday's schedule:
10 a.m. Procession leaves from Pier 57 at Alaskan Way and University Street (east on University Street to Western Ave., north on Western to Broad St., east on Broad to Fifth Ave. N. and onto Seattle Center grounds.)
1 p.m. The raising of the totem pole at Seattle Center Plaza near Space Needle
2 p.m. The totem pole is officially given to the city of Seattle