Totem Poles Before 1700 AD - Pacific Northwest, Vancouver, Alaska, Siberia, Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Japan

Traditional Papua New Guinean poles carved at Stanford University.
Traditional Papua New Guinean poles carved at Stanford University. | Source
Papua New Guinea, of the Latmel Tribe.
Papua New Guinea, of the Latmel Tribe. | Source

History and Religious Significance of Totem Poles

Major Research References:

1) Totem Poles, written & illustrated by Hilary Stewart. Published 1990. Seattle : University of Washington Press.

2) Anthropology curriculum, current course titles, The Ohio State University: Native North America, World Prehistory, Peoples and Cultures, Indians of North America, Human Origins, Human Variation, Cultural Ecology, Fundamentals of Archaeology, Prehistoric Indians Eastern North America, Hunters and Gatherers, Culture and Ideas; Culture, Development and Globalizaton; Human Population Biology, Migration and Transationalism, Bioarchaeology, Forensics.

3) Additional references and resources are indicated throughout this Hub.

.

A Member Of The Family

In the Pacific Northwest, the totem pole is considered to be a person (Norman Tait, Master Carver, 1993). This person is a member of the family of the owner and the pole is the storyteller of the family. In traditional carving lineages, the carver prays to the spirit of the chosen cedar tree before felling it and carving it. Poles at the front of dwellings tell the stories and histories of the owner.

Totem Pole Locations

show route and directions
A markerHokkaido -
Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
[get directions]

B markerCheju Island, South Korea -
Cheju do
[get directions]

The age of totem poles in Suth Korea is not yet well examined.

C markerAlaska -
Alaska, USA
[get directions]

D markerWashington - Oregon Region -
Washington, USA
[get directions]

E markerVancouver Island, British Columbia -
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
[get directions]

F markerAuckland, New Zealand -
Auckland, New Zealand
[get directions]

G markerPapua New Guinea -
Papua New Guinea
[get directions]

H markerNorthern Australia near Darwin -
Darwin NT 0800, Australia
[get directions]

Aboriginal coffin poles contain bones of aboriginals' ancestors, elders, and families. This is similar to memorial poles in the Pacific Northwest.

I markerHaida Gwai -
Haida Gwaii, Skeena-Queen Charlotte E, BC, Canada
[get directions]

J markerVancouver BC -
Vancouver, BC, Canada
[get directions]

A Tlingit pole in Ketchikan, Alaska. Thought to have been raised in 1901.
A Tlingit pole in Ketchikan, Alaska. Thought to have been raised in 1901. | Source

Amur, Russia

Goldi Totem Poles, Nanai people of Amur in Russia, drawn in the  middle 1800s.
Goldi Totem Poles, Nanai people of Amur in Russia, drawn in the middle 1800s. | Source

Totem Poles Pre-1700 - 2010s

I was fortunate to see the World's Largest Totem Pole raised in 1992, at a time just before it was cut down in Victoria BC, Canada in 2000. Tall totem poles in recorded history have caused arguments among native groups; specifically, the owner of the tallest pole is usually criticized for it. This points to bullying - for achievement - as an ancient problem and a reason for the oldest poles to have been destroyed. This is what occurred in Victoria and the 186-foot pole was cut down and divided into smaller sections after I saw it at full height on a memorable visit.

Totem poles have become highly coveted over the course of their modern major development (19th C. - 21st C). However, they were carved much before this time and an early drawing by a white settler, James Barlett, in 1792 shows clearly a totem pole at the front of a dwelling. The Indigenous Peoples related that these poles were a long-term (centuries-old) tradition with their group.

These poles now appear everywhere in pop culture: museums and exhibitions, films, amusement parks, jewelry, knick knacks, and as corporate art installations. Unfortunately, some originals have even been stolen from native lands, to turn up later in European museums, much like the Nazi inspired art thefts of WWII (see reference link further below).

Ms. Pat Kramer, in a reference guide for hard core tourists called Totem Poles , found her "oldest in the world" on Anthony Island, Ninstints, among BC's Queen Charlotte Islands. However, she was incorrect, given the James Bartlett discovery in 1792 and the oral tradition of the natives of the poles having a much longer history.

Ms. Kramer's discovery was in lands considered Haida Nation land and an official UN World Heritage site. These poles are felt to be from as early as the 1840s, with some believed definitely from 1880, the last year that people lived in the village located on the island. Ms. Kramer moved to BC to study totem poles and to write about them and the Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian and American Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Her books have been published since the early 1990s.

Researchers of The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History (pub.2010) state that the traditions of the totem pole began as far back as the 1700s in the New World. I think they began as soon as Indigenous Peoples developed tools and arts in their cultures, hundreds of years before the 1700's - but cedar trees once cut, decay and we have found no petrified totem poles as yet.

The researchers of The Totem Pole are Ms. Aldona Jonaitis, Director Emerita of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and Professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks; and Mr. Aaron Glass, a Professor at the Bard Graduate Center NYC in anthropology of art, museums, and material culture - he has filmed at least one documentary concerning the Pacific Northwest's First Nations (Canadian).

The Wolf and the Raven: Totem Poles of Southeastern Alaska
The Wolf and the Raven: Totem Poles of Southeastern Alaska

Published in 1961. The US Forest Service began to gather SE Alaskan poles in 1938, moving them for easier viewing. The USFS needed Indigenous permissions from family lines of ownership. Indigenous cooperation allowed poles to be exhibited on public display. Moved indoors as they begin to decay, Indigenous master carvers replace them for the outdoor viewing.

 

Siberian Connections

  • Totemism as artistic expression of traditional cultural ecology: comparative analysis of the use of ritual and totem poles among the peoples of northwest Siberia and the Pacific Northwest

-- Jordan, Bella Bychkova. Papers from the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers; 2009.

My summary: The Sakha people of Siberia bred/breed cattle and horses, so these animals are vital to their society and appear on Sakhan Island ritual totem poles (including those of the Ainu). Counterpart peoples in the Pacific Northwest, Haida and Kwakiutl Nations, pursued a wider range of totem pole designs, with numerously greater totem animals and human characters, and these poles have been used specifically for certain functions - storytelling, legal complaints, mortuary poles, and others.

As the USSR began to clamp down on religion after the October Revolution, shamanism (inherently Siberian) and Sakhan ritual poles were markedly changed into more secular pieces. At the same time, Pacific Northwest poles have become commericalized in the disaspora and the non-native public decries any religious significance. The former religious connection was linked to foundation stories of the nations (discussed near the end of this article).

1904: Gathering of Ainu People

The Ainu constructed a type of totem pole in the north of Japan. Northern Asians are linked to North American Natives.
The Ainu constructed a type of totem pole in the north of Japan. Northern Asians are linked to North American Natives. | Source

Original Lands of the Ainu People and Their Poles

show route and directions
A markerHokkaido -
Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
[get directions]

B markerSakhalin Island -
Sakhalin, Sakhalin Oblast, Russia
[get directions]

C markerKuril Island -
Kuril Islands, Russia
[get directions]

Ainu, A First People of Japan

Pre-1903: Aniu of Sakhalin Island, Russia

Source
Flag of the Ainu People
Flag of the Ainu People | Source

Ainu of Hokkaido Today in Traditional Dress

Source

Japanese Pole in BC, Canada

Installation at New Westminster.
Installation at New Westminster. | Source

Stylized Ainu Pole

Ainu pole at Lake Akan Ainu Kotan on Hokkaido in Japan.
Ainu pole at Lake Akan Ainu Kotan on Hokkaido in Japan. | Source

Stolen to Switzerland

Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole
Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole

Back in 1929, Haisla Nation of NW British Columbia came home from fishing and found their nine-meter (~25 feet) totem pole, the G'psgolox pole, stolen. However, in 1991, the Haisla discovered their totem pole in a Swiss museum in Stockholm. This film is a documentary the Haisla and their work to return the totem pole to their own land 1,000s of miles away in BC.

 

Switzerland

Back in 1929, Haisla Nation of NW British Columbia came home from fishing and found their nine-meter (~25 feet) totem pole, the G'psgolox pole, stolen. However, in 1991, the Haisla discovered their totem pole in a Swiss museum in Stockholm. This film is a documentary the Haisla and their work to return the totem pole to their own land 1,000s of miles away in BC.

Historic Hawaiian Tiki Poles

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, Hawaii
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, Hawaii | Source

Totem Poles in the Diaspora

The US Forest Service began to round up abandoned Alaskan totem poles beginning in 1938. The project is recorded and discussed in a 1961 research book called The Wolf and the Raven: Totem Poles of Southeastern Alaska by Viola Garfield and Linn Forrest, specialists in ethnography and anthropology of Indigenous Peoples.

Totem poles are not province solely of the North American Pacific Northwest.

They have been found in older cultures and both the older and the Pacific Northwest varieties have been discussed at length since the 1960s and previously in anthropology courses at The Ohio State University.

Statements from tourist-guidebook writers that have not examined the older carvings on the realistic-style Ainu totem poles are incorrect in stating that totem poles originated in the Pacific Northwest.

All of these totem poles are real: Ainu, Maori, Alaskan, and Pacific Northwest. The peoples of the Old Work\ld are ancestors of those in the New World and the Old World poles occurred first.

Related art and religious carvings and sculptures seen in the Easter Island (and other) stone heads, tall Tiki gods, and others are similar types of items. South American carvings and stonework items are sometimes mistaken for those of these latter groups of people by individuals that have not read about all the groups involved.

Totem poles and very similar carved pieces of tall artwork - or chiseled pieces of stone where trees were not available - have been constructed by Indigenous Peoples in Alaska where they first arrived in the New World, British Columbia (including Vancouver Island), Washington State, New Zealand, and Northern Japan's Hokkaido where the Ainu group carved them. There may yet be other locations.

Ainu totem poles have been carved for many centuries and some of them are done in a highly realistic manner, depicting three-dimensional bears, whales, and owls without folded tails and wings seen in the Pacific Northwest type.

See a more realistic-style Ainu totem pole here and another type here.

All this makes sense in that related cultures often present related art forms and traditions in their arts, oral, and religious traditions; and it is accepted that the New World peoples came originally from Northern Europe, European and Asian Russia, and Northern Asia.

For that matter, evidence suggests part of the Iroquois Confederacy's link to the Zulu in Africa and other DNA links reveal themselves among the worlds' populations as research and migration tracking continue.

Korean Jangseung Poles

Korean Jangseung poles in historical folk village  at Yongin in Gyeonggi-do.
Korean Jangseung poles in historical folk village at Yongin in Gyeonggi-do. | Source

Korean Ojukheon or Black Bamboo Place or 오죽헌 烏竹軒

Source

South Korea

This is the City of Gangneung, South Korea at the eastern end of the Yeongdong Expressway out of Seoul. The two poles having faces, located at the entrance way to the city, stand guard over all from this place called Ojukheon. In the background are a myriad of kimchee jars.

The photographer skinnylawyer states that one of the guardians is the Great General Under the Heavens and the other is the Female General of the Underground. (This seems to be in keeping with the Um-Yang philosophy - Yin-Yang elsewhere in Asia.)

Source

Maori Carved Poles

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Inside Te Whare Runanga Maori meeting/community house in New Zealand at Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Inside Te Whare Runanga Maori meeting/community house in New Zealand at Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Inside Te Whare Runanga Maori meeting/community house in New Zealand at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. | Source

Cultural Gifts

The totem pole pictured below is reported in a selection of news publications as having been carved and presented to New Zealand by a First Nations artist. This is the well-known artist and Master Carver Chief Tony Hunt of Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Regardless, it features striking similarities to an aboriginal Maori pole presented in the link below the photo.

A link to views of Maori poles that are not similar to the one at Northcote, along with an announcement re:Chief Hunt is here. In addition, still other Maori poles appear similar to Easter Island heads, stacked tiki images, and unique images found nowhere else to date.

Chief Hunt operates a thriving business in BC, named Tony Hunt Clothing, in which he offers shirts, T-shirts, vests, shawls, toques (Canadian knitted caps), all in keeping with the Kwakiutl/Kwagulth people's traditions.

Chief Hunt is one of the top award-winning carvers of totem poles in the 21st C. Readers may examine his arts and designs at www.tonyhunt.com.

Chief Hunt's firm also offers creative embroidery and apparel for corporate events.

Instances of arts and culture gifts made between Indigenous Peoples such as Australian Aboriginals, New Zealand Maori, Pacific Northwest Nations and others are important in preserving and sharing both the unique and similar aspects of ancient and for some, endangered heritage.

A Maori Totem Pole, Gift from the Pacific NW

See text to left. Seems to be a NW Pacific Coast pole, imported. No wonder archaeologists can become confused.
See text to left. Seems to be a NW Pacific Coast pole, imported. No wonder archaeologists can become confused. | Source
Another Maori carving.
Another Maori carving. | Source

Book Review and Maori Totem Pole Sent to London

Carved Cedar Poles Banned in Canada and Japan

First Peoples

From 1880 to 1956 (or 1951 or 1953, depending on the journal article), totem poles were banned in Canada, but the Kwakwaka'wakw (or Kwakiutl) Nation carved and erected them anyway.

Ainu People

In 1878, the Ainu language, customs, religions, art, and culture were all banned in Japan, including totem poles. Today, the Ainu language is an endangered language. Although the Ainu are a different ethnicity than the rest of Japan, the people have been largely assimilated. However, language preservation activities began in the 1980s, with some focus on renewing the associated arts and culture as well.

Foundation Story - Power Animals Traveled Between the Spiritual and Mortal Worlds (Heaven and Earth)

Totem poles were never religious idols, as Christian Missionaries through them to be. Poles were and are Storytellers. The Power Animals traveled between the worlds, i.e., Heaven and Earth.
Totem poles were never religious idols, as Christian Missionaries through them to be. Poles were and are Storytellers. The Power Animals traveled between the worlds, i.e., Heaven and Earth. | Source

Below is a studied, documentary painting of the Bella Coola Nation, otherwise called "Nuxálk" in the Pacific Northwest of Washington State and British Columbia.

The work was completed in 1897 in order to capture the long-time indigenous religious ceremonies that involved traditional, mystic totem animals depicted on totem poles. The painter was Wilhelm Sievers (b.1860 - d.1921).

Foundation Stories and Religions

Source

Origins, Supernatural and Spiritual

The furthest distant foundations of totem poles in the native arts timeline of the Americas are found in totem animals that are representative of supernatural animals or animal-human combinations. These are entities that can shape shift between human and animal worlds. Carvings of them often depict a mammal, bird, or fish (of the three Realms of being) with a human face carved in a wing, a belly, or a fin - even as a blow whole in a whale - to show that these figures are the mystic, supernatural ancestors of the totem pole owner, his family, and his clan. These supernatural beings are preserved in an Indigenous People's Foundation Myths in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. For example, the supernatural wolf ancestor founded the Wolf Clan of certain groups, as did the supernatural raven ancestor of the Raven Clan.

Traditional carvers of totem poles prayed to the spirit of the tree they chose for the carving, as part of their beliefs of all things possessing a specific spirit. Prayers were said when using anything for personal and tribal/group purposes.

As shape shifters, the totem animal-humans are part of the mystic, supernatural, religious culture of the Indigenous Peoples. The founding member of each clan, and at times other members, are said to be able to transform between animal and human and back again, visiting the three Realms of Sky, Earth, and Underwater.

In the Disney film set in the north, Brother Bear, one human brother chooses to remain in bear form. In Pocahontas, the totem animals of Eastern North America are seen whirling around in the Northern Lights. Mohawk Nation groups in the East have no totem poles, but two similar clans: Wolf and Bear, the totem animals of these are still used as spiritual sources by some individuals.

The totem poles themselves serve as documents used to illustrate kinship, much like some paintings on walls of certain Egyptian pyramids, and like modern Family Trees. The totems on a pole represent an individual's place in his or her society. These North American people are related not only by blood, but by shared experience in war, and by adoption. An example of this is the monologue of a human reciting the lineage history of an extraterrestrial group as he is adopted into that group in the film Enemy Mine.

The first totem poles had no written information to accompany them and no schematics or drawings for their construction that have been preserved. Paper had not appeared in the Pacific Northwest yet, before 1700. Perhaps drawings were accomplished in the dirt or with paint on an animal hide or large rock. Everything was accomplished and preserved through the oral traditions of each nation, however.

The symbolic meanings of the totems carved and the stories that went with the pole were known between the carver and the owner of the pole and only those others that the owner wished to tell. As written language became more common. some stories were handwritten and passed along to children and upcoming generations, but many other totem pole stories were lost when villages were abandoned and families died out. Totem Poles by Hilary Stewart explains the stories of dozens of older totem poles and their replicas around British Columbia.

Aboriginal Coffin Poles

Aboriginal hollow log Coffin Poles at the National Gallery in Canberra, Australia.
Aboriginal hollow log Coffin Poles at the National Gallery in Canberra, Australia. | Source

Mortuary Poles

Mortuary poles are another testament to religious customs among Alaskan and Pacific Northwest totem poles. After death, the remains of an owner of a totem pole would by placed into a traditional box. After one year, his decayed, smaller remains would be placed into another box and placed into an opening in the back of his totem pole, his remains and his stories preserved for the next life and for his remaining family.

Occasionally, a second family member would be added to the compartment at the back of the pole after death. However, ancestor worship did not appear to be a part of these customs as it was, more often, seen in Japan.

A different sort of coffin pole has been seen in Australia (see photo to the right).

© 2011 Patty Inglish

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Comments 51 comments

MasonicTraveler profile image

MasonicTraveler 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Nice info, I like how its consolidated.


Bethany Culpepper 5 years ago

So interesting - I love it. This will definitely be woven into a history lesson or two. Thank you for this very original Hub.


Ken Barton profile image

Ken Barton 5 years ago

Nice Hub on Totem's. I love reading about Totem Poles and their history. They are so beautiful and such a pure form of expression of the people they represent, it's a shame they aren't being produced as they once were. Today, so much has gone to the modern, digital, age that we're losing a lot of great forms of art like the Totem.


susannah42 profile image

susannah42 5 years ago from Florida

Very interesting hub. Good history lesson.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

The stories connected to each totem pole in the Pacific Northwest are very interesting. I'll do a more in-depth Hub on the tribes/nations and their poles there.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Patty, very nicely written. I love the imagery of the totem poles. I look forward to your upcoming hubs on tis subject.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

Wonderful hub. l have such a love for anything concerning Native americans. This hub really widened my understanding.

Thank you very much


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for these fascinating pictures especially of the Ainu because when I wrote the hub about ancient Japan it was the first time I heard of them. Therefore, your article was very interesting to me. I always was fascinated about the Totem Poles.


Wildcat 5 years ago

The "Maori Totem Pole at Awataha Marae in Northcote" pictured at Flickr looks definitely Northwest Coast Indian art, not Maori.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

It is definitely a Maori pole. A handful of very old Brit. Col. and old Alaskan poles especailly also look very like Maori. We have one oral tradition that Queen Charlotte Islands' natives found a Maori pole washed up on their beach from currents that flowed from Oceana northward. It all fits.


Seial Chaska 5 years ago

Very Nice Info Thankx For Sharing


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Reminder to friends and readers - links not allowed in HP comment threads by site policy; and wikipedia is generally too inaccurate to accept. Cheers!


Psycho Gamer profile image

Psycho Gamer 5 years ago from Earth

ok ive read this magnificent hub....but maybe i missed it...why they cut down the tall totem?....jealousy from other tribes? u say bullying...bullying by whom? was the totem owner broke some stupid laws? a totem is work of art and i have always respect their creators for all the work they have put in them to make them...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

An owner of the tallest totem pole was nearly always bullied out of envy of others in the village - That does not speak well of the Pacific Northwest and Alaskan Indigenous People, but it happened. An analogy is that the smartest kids in school are often bullied today throughout America - it happened when I was a kid and is still happening.

I was in Victoria BC when the hugely tallest pole came down -- There had been some open, verbal criticism directed at the carver and I think it was a a cover story, that the pole was so tall it might fall over and damage people and buildings. So, it's gone.


steve8miller profile image

steve8miller 5 years ago from Ohio Great City of Dayton

This hub is packed full of great information on totem poles. I will make sure to bookmark this to further my research on Natives and totem poles. I thank you very much for compiling all of this information in one place.

The Historic Hawaiin Tiki Totem Poles truly fascinate me!


jasper420 5 years ago

very intersting topic hoe did you think of this very well put togeather nicley done


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for asking, jasper420! - I've studied the Indigenous peoples since elementary school, and took a minor in social sciences in college and filled it up with this type of work.

I'd seen a few books about the carved poles, but each book focused on only a single limited area. Most authors generally thought that thee area they examined was the only area poles had ever been carved. Then I began seeing blurbs in the news that poles had only ever been carved in BC and writers began to copy these blurbs as fact, so, I put together material from 1900 - 2010 and then looked at older materials like diaries and book held only in special collections libraries at our local university. There's a lot not available on the Internet.


Goso profile image

Goso 5 years ago from Seattle, Washington

Great! Living in the Northwest, I come across a lot of totems; this hub has helped me put them in context.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Maybe you will take some photos and write a Hub about your finds! Thanks, Goso.


Web World Watcher profile image

Web World Watcher 5 years ago

So does the worldwide distribution of totem poles suggest a sort of deeper argument for the origin of our species? Or is it just coincidence that they all share some connective tissue when it comes to creation myths?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

In light of studies of human migration and DNA in the Human Genome Project, the carved poles are an anthropological marker for migration of groups long ago, and taking some culture/arts/religious traditions with them. In some cases, this is confirmed by linguistic similarities.


hotelmaastricht 5 years ago from India

Awesome hub you shared here.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

Wow! I had no idea that there were totem poles in Japan and South Korea!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Yes, the other hemisphere was first. Interesting, isn't it?


DylanAustin81 profile image

DylanAustin81 5 years ago

Great hub I see.


TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

I aways wanted to know more about those things. They are so misterious and cool. I´m glad I have found this hub. Voted up for sure and bookmarked it!


carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

This is the most informative hub I have read. Well done! I visited Victoria BC several years ago and was in Awe of the beautiful Totem Poles. Great Article...


invitationwrite profile image

invitationwrite 5 years ago

Great hub I never see before.


BethanRose profile image

BethanRose 5 years ago from South Wales

This is really very interesting! I love totem poles but I just learnt a whole lot more about them. Thankyou for sharing.


Oneit profile image

Oneit 5 years ago from Auckland

Great to see little old New Zealand getting a mention. Keep up the good work.


vitalesweets profile image

vitalesweets 5 years ago from Upstate NY

We all have heard the phrase "totem pole" butit never occurred o me to research the background of them. Very informative and extremely interesting. I love the photograph of the Korean totem poles in the historic folk village. Thanks for your piece!


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

you've done it again, I found this all very useful. I needed to explain what teh totem poles are used for and where you can find some, and this is a really big help. many thanks it's very interesting and useful.


arifulin profile image

arifulin 5 years ago from indonesia

good articles


fashion 5 years ago

Very informative article.


style-of-life profile image

style-of-life 5 years ago from Netherlands

Wow. Cool. Interesting to read! Totem poles are fascinating.


Jason Melancon profile image

Jason Melancon 5 years ago from San Francisco, Ca

Very nice and informative hub. This takes me back to my time living in the Cascade foothills east of Seattle. There was, and may still be, a Totem pole in Fall City, Wa.


PeanutButterWine profile image

PeanutButterWine 5 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Loved this Hub, the pictures were all beautiful and the information really interesting! :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments!


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks ..This hub has really great information


style-of-life profile image

style-of-life 5 years ago from Netherlands

Wow. Very informative indeed! I had always wondered about totem poles. Thx for clearing that up for me!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

The information should provide a view of the links between some trends and beliefs in different cultures. Sometimes these occur by coincidence, but sometimes indicate migration and its inherent change. I like the trend found moving eastward in Scandinavia, Siberia, northern Asia, where Reindeer pulling up the sun each morning become the Dragon pulling it up over the horizon.


steveamy profile image

steveamy 4 years ago from Florida

pretty amazing piece of research....great hub!


gconeyhiden profile image

gconeyhiden 4 years ago from Brooklyn, N.Y.C. U.S.A

your really too much patty. im almost speechless w praise.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I just found enough info in my studies to make me keep on going and find more. I love it.


PurpleHubs profile image

PurpleHubs 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Really mind blowing.. Wondering how much time you would take to write each hub...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Hi Purplehubs - I've been studying these topics for 40 years since jr. high school, so not so long.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Most excellent study! I am more familiar with the poles of Haida Gwaii , having lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands as they were then called. My mother was taken under the wing of Nana Salinas, a Haida elder, and gathered a fair bit of lore even before she moved to Ketchikan.

I didn't know the Ainu carved poles, too - and some of the Maori and Samoan work is amazing. Great article, Patty.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

You and your mom have had an interesting life! Living on Haida Gwaii seems like an exotic dream. How long were you there?


Steph Tietjen profile image

Steph Tietjen 2 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Fascinating information - I hadn't ever thought about totem poles around the world like Maori, Korean, and Australian aboriginal...and the mortuary poles are so interesting. Thanks


Elena S 8 months ago

It was very helpful and exciting! The tragic fate of the Ainu is very dramatic. I would like more analysis, explanations - what does it means : symbol on clothing, pattern on the totem pole, traditional dance, and so on.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 months ago from North America Author

@Elena S -- Thanks for reading. I will look into doing another Hub to answer your questions sometime this month - I love this topic!

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