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The term Totem Pole refers to the tall cedar poles with multiple figures carved
by Native people of the northern Northwest Coast. Carved of red cedar logs, the
figures on totem poles are inherited crests, which identify the pole owners and
tell their family histories. Although totem poles have become a symbol of all
Northwest Coast Native people and their use has spread to neighboring tribes
through the years, tall multiple-figure poles were first made only by the
northern Northwest Coast Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples in
Southeast Alaska and British Columbia in the early 1800s.
However, in the late 1800s most tribes ceased to carve these monumental
poles when the potlatch, the ceremony held when poles were raised, was
made illegal in Canada. At this time Native artists began to carve small
model poles for sale as souvenirs to tourists. The anti-potlatch law was
dropped in 1951, and today, Native people throughout the Northwest
Coast raise new poles to honor deceased relatives and celebrate
family histories and important events in their lives.
Item #: sov-totempole-blk-sm (4") - $7.00 each
Item #: sov-totempole-blk-lg (7") - $14.00 each