A totem pole that was installed in Cultus Lake 30 years ago and recently restored is once again standing sentry in honour of a late Stó:lō leader.
People gathered outside the Cultus Lake Park Board office for the rededication ceremony of the Chief Richard Malloway totem pole on Tuesday.
The 30-foot tall pole was originally carved in Duncan, B.C. by Dr. Francis Horne Sr. who currently resides in Chilliwack. The cedar tree was selected within Cultus Lake Park in 1992.
The totem pole was a collaboration between First Nations, the Cultus Lake Park Board (approval of tree removal, location, foundation for totem) and Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack (transportation of pole), and raised using traditional method with ropes on June 6, 1992 during the Cultus Lake Indian Festival, now known as the Water Sports Festival.
In January 2022, the park board approved the recommendation to restore the totem pole.
Once again, Horne went to work on the pole restoring it over the span of six months with the help of family members.
On Sept. 20, family members, friends and dignitaries spoke highly of Chief Malloway to whom the totem pole was rededicated.
“One of grandpa’s first teachings was kindness. He said ‘be kind to one another,’” said Glen Malloway, grandson of Chief Malloway.
He played a big part in speaking for “not only our Chilliwack people but people from across Canada in allowing us to bring our traditions back to our people because he was fighting for our rights to dance,” Malloway said.
“He was revered amongst the Stó:lō for his generosity and for maintaining winter spirit dancing for several decades when it was outlawed by the government’s anti-potlatch legislation,” said park board chair David Renwick.
Chief Malloway – whose traditional name is Th’eláchiyatel – spent much of his time building and maintaining relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents in the Sardis area, and helping people including the homeless everywhere he went.
He was a “dedicated” family man, Renwick said. Chief Malloway died in 1987 at the age of 79 and had 36 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.
Five years after his death, the totem pole was carved by Horne who’s a self-taught, world-renowned Coast Salish master carver.
“We are pleased to not only be able to have him as the original carver, but also the carver who was able to restore this monument,” Renwick said.
There are four figures carved into the totem pole (see detailed photos below).
“There’s a raven representing the late Chief Richard Malloway. The second one is a woman holding a baby eagle representing the Cultus Lake Park Board. The third one is a man holding a child representing Chief Richard Malloway as a family man. And the last one is a grizzly bear denoting strength and power,” Renwick said.
Chief Malloway lived as a dairy farmer in the Sardis district with his wife and seven children. He was one of the few Indigenous members of the Fraser Valley Milk Producer’s Association and was active in organizing the Cultus Lake Indian Festival for more than 13 years.
He was recognized by the Indian Agent, appointing him Chief of the Yakweakwioose Band where he remained for 40 years. In 1970 the Chilliwack and District Chamber of Commerce honoured Chief Malloway as the Citizen to the Recognized.