Saxman Totem Park, the Blackfish Fin – Saxman AK

Description

In the 1961 volume, The Wolf and the Raven, anthropologist Viola Garfield and architect Linn Forrest describe the visual characteristics of the totem pole: “The Klawak Blackfish Fin carving symbolizes a mythical monster of the sea about which the south eastern Alaska Indians tell many tales. It has the head and body of a bear and the fins of the blackfish or killer whale. In the carving the dorsal fin is represented as a slender shaft, rounded at the top. The pole stood in front of a house in the Tongass village on Cat Island. The story and carving belong to a Tlingit group of Klawak, hence its name. It is estimated that this pole was made about 1900, since a photograph of it taken in 1915 or 1916 by the Forest Service shows no signs of deterioration.”

Source notes

Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 13-56. 

Saxman Totem Park, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1979, accessed June 28, 2017.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on July 7, 2017.

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Location Info


Saxman Totem Park
Saxman, Ketchikan, AK

Coordinates: 55.319445731877195, -131.59726815781096

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