This photo from around 1920 shows W’axayus, a Squamish Welcome Figure.
The Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), unlike many Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples, traditionally did not carve totem poles. Historically, their large-scale carvings included house and mortuary posts.
Today, however, there are many artists carving monumental crests and story poles. Some are called welcome poles or figures.
Skwxwú7mesh elders note that a welcome figure, called W’axayus, once stood on the Skwxwú7mesh reserve at Pukwayusem, near Brackendale (at the junction of the Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers). It welcomed the annual salmon run.
For more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about the new Museum of North Vancouver opening in 2021, visit nvma.ca and sign up for the museum’s e-newsletter at bit.ly/35MWr83.
Currently, the Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact: email@example.com