Residents Decry Totem Pole Take-Down

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Residents Decry Totem Pole Take-Down

Is nothing sacred? With the arrogant removal of the long-celebrated totem pole from a site at Stouffville’s Summitview Public School, it would seem so.
With no consideration for the staff teacher and students who constructed it and no respect for former trustees and parents who championed it, the current York Region District School Board arbitrarily condemned it.
In an after-hours act of unsubstantiated aggression, a significant fragment of our town’s cultural heritage was quickly and quietly destroyed.
Without substantial reason.
In countless issues, the racist card is consistently played. So it was here. Such nonsense. Political correctness perhaps but not racism. This I suggest was the farthest fixation on the mind of staff teacher Bernadine Mumford 43 years ago and on the mentality of many perturbed Stouffville residents today.
People saw what they liked and liked what they saw. Simple as that. They also appreciated the hours of diligent workmanship that had gone into construction of this symbol, a labour of love unprecedented at our elementary school level. And now it’s gone, to where nobody seems to know.
Trustees representing areas like Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket must understand that Whitchurch-Stouffville citizens think in vastly different terms than our more urbanized neighbours. This town is still ‘community’, a populace that doesn’t take kindly to having an inheritance chopped into extinction.

Jim Thomas,
Stouffville.
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What a cowardly act!  Remove the totem pole at NIGHT (Friday no less).  And to do it with little or no discussion with the residents, some of whom (parents or grandparents) may have been involved in the actual carving.  I understand that the totem pole was burned so restitution is not
possible.  This smacks of guilt feeling on behalf of the decision makers to remove the pole.  And this coming from a Board that was recently told to “clean up its act” with respect to the relationship in the community.  It also shows the need for Whitchurch-Stouffville to have their own representative on the Board.  What does the present representative know about the wishes of our residents?  She doesn’t live in the Town nor do we ever see her.

Wilf Morley,
Stouffville
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In October, the Stouffville Legion organized a trip to take the Credit Valley Explorer train ride. We were taken to Orangeville and had a wonderful trip south to Brampton on the very old train route so important to our history. Upon returning to Orangeville, a town employee guided us on a tour of the stump carvings of which Orangeville is so proud. We only saw a few, about 20, as she explained why and how they were done. Trees had been dying and sponsors came forward to pay to have artists create this worthwhile endeavour. She very proudly showed us eagles, people to be remembered, a dragon and wizard and then a totem pole! It stands proudly where the world can see it. Imagine the surprise we felt where in Stouffville a school project to show appreciation for those in our past, such as the Huron-Wendat Nation who helped make Stouffville what it is, has been removed. I see that as a move to separate the Indigenous people from the rest of us rather than trying to appreciate them.
Diane Ward
Whitchurch-Stouffville

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