Adventures of Raven Pole at KlawockSource: Illustration published in Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) restored/recarved the Adventures of Raven Pole between 1938 and 1940. The restoration was part of a larger U.S. Forest Service program focused on the conservation of totems and Native cultural assets. The pole was originally found at the abandoned village of Tuxekan. With the accord of the former residents, the CCC and the U.S. Forrest Service relocated the pole to the Klawock Totem Park on the Prince of Wales Island.
The Adventures of Raven Pole illustrates the series of legends about Raven the Transformer and the Creator. This was a central figure to the legends of the Tlingit. The stories illustrate the complexity of the Raven creature, who took on many roles. In their 1961 volume, The Wolf and the Raven, anthropologist Viola Garfield and architect Linn Forrest note that although Raven was the figure who taught man many crafts and bestowed upon him fish, fresh water and daylight, he also proved to be a “trickster,” showing “gluttony, trickery, and sensuousness.” At the top of the pole sits a Cormorant figure who, Garfield and Forest note, “accompanied Raven on some of his journeys and was his when he duped the brown bear, carved just below Raven. The Cormorant face is carved as Raven’s tail, and Raven is shown flying downward on the pole. Below brown bear is the whale, with a small human being sitting between the flukes of his tail. These symbolize two additional incidents from the Raven cycle of tales.”
The members of the Raven clan, to whom the pole belongs, invited the members of the Wolf phratry to the inauguration of this pole in the Klawock Totem Park. They marked the dedication with a lavish potlatch that recalled the one at the raising of the original pole in Tuxekan.
Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 129-131.
Project originally submitted by Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest); Brent McKee on August 15, 2017.
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