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Sunnylands Totem Pole restored to old glory

Story and Photos by Pat Krause

The Annenberg Totem Pole at Sunnylands had been restored to its original beauty. Sunnylands held a dedication ceremony in its honor. The Totem was made by Henry Hunt in 1976 and placed on the 5th fairway on the golf course in the Annenberg Estate. Over 100 people came to watch this historic event. The brightly colored tall Totem is back to the way it looked in when it was new and stands guard over the 5th green.

Center Director Janice Lyle and President Geoffrey Cowan welcomed the guests to this Dedication. Acting Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Jeff Grubbe introduced the Kwakiutl People. Henry Hunts son, Stanley Hunt, gave the history of the Annenberg Totem and explained the various parts of the Totem and their meanings.

The restoration was accomplished with the help of Stanley Hunt and his family, Wife Lavina and son Jacob.They apprenticed with Henry Hunt and continue their trade making Totems.

The Hunt Family along with relatives Mervyn, Coreen and Kaleb Child gave a splendid performance of tribal dances in traditional costumes. They described each dance and it’s meaning to the Kwakiutl tribe. Stanley and Melvyn played small drums for the dancers. They changed costumes behind a large cloth depicting items of meanings to the tribe.

Local Dignitaries Mayor Dana Hobart, Geoffrey Cowan, Jeff Grobbe and Anne Howe were asked to join them in a dance in full regalia. 4 children were also dressed in traditional garb and danced for the guests. Guests were asked to join along with a dancer around the area in a Conga-like line. Most of the people were eager to join in.

After the dedication ceremony, the guests were bussed to the Sunnylands Center. Family activities were planned to create their own Totem Pole design. Carving and painting demonstrations and story telling by the Kwakiutl Tribe members. Guests could visit the Gardens at Sunnyland Center which is open to the public on weekends.

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