SALFORD TOTEM POLE
Hidden deep in a warehouse somewhere in Salford Quays was the once proud Salford Totem Pole which stood on the Quays for nearly 40 years until it was removed for safety reasons.
The pole has now been rescued by Councillor Steve Coen and currently resides in the Lowry Outlet Mall! Dreamscope, alongside journalist Saréda Dirir, are following the progress of the renovation by 1st nation American Kevin Cranmer (the great-nephew of Doug Cranmer who originally carved the pole back in 1969).
Salford's totem pole has been restored to its former glory. The 32ft, two-and-a-half-ton structure is once again a vibrant red and green, crowned by the head of a Thunderbird with its vivid yellow beak.
It is likely to be put inside a public building in Salford Quays, although a decision is yet to be made about the exact location.
The pole was commissioned by Robert Stoker, the then chairman of Manchester Liners and unveiled in 1969 in the company’s grounds in the Quays.
It was meant to be a permanent testimony to trade links between Manchester and Canada. But in 2006 it was taken down after falling into disrepair.
OOCL, the company which took over Manchester Liners, moved it to their depot in Felixstowe. But Salford councillor Steve Coen began a campaign to bring it back and the totem was returned in 2007. Repair work was started late last year.
The pole was carved by Chief Pal Nakwala Wakas – alias Doug Cramner – of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe, from British Columbia, Canada.
His nephew, Kevin Cramner, travelled to Salford to lead the repair work, which used cedar imported from Canada.
OOCL paid for Kevin’s flight and the firm was among a number of businesses whcih helped to pay for the repair work. Two community committees, affiliated to the council, contributed £1,000 each. A lot of the work was done in kind. There are four symbolic designs on the pole – the Great Eagle or Thunderbird, representing family and solidarity; the Killer Whale, master of the seas; the raven, a messenger and symbol of trade; and copper coins, a sign of wealth and power.
The pole is currently on show in the Museum Of Museums at the Trafford Centre. Coun Coen said: "I think it is wonderful that it has been restored. It is up to the people of Salford to decide where it should be put up. But I would hope it is at Salford Quays, facing Canada."
When the pole is rededicated next year there will be a ceremony with native Americans in memory of Doug Cranmer who died in 2006.
It is also hoped Lakota native Americans from South Dakota will attend. Their ancestors came over with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show 100 years ago and camped on the site which is now Media City.