Saxman Totem Park, Tired Wolf House Posts – Saxman AK

Description

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) relocated the Tired Wolf House Posts totems from a village in Southeast Alaska to the newly established Saxman Totem Park. The CCC set up a totem restoration project in 1938 under the supervision of architect Linn A. Forrest. Tlingit carvers enrolled in the CCC carried out the restoration and carving work.

In the 1961 volume, The Wolf and the Raven, anthropologist Viola Garfield and architect Linn Forrest describe the visual characteristics of the Tired Wolf House Posts: “The Tired-Wolf house posts were carved on Village Island and installed in a house on Kanagunut Island belonging to the people of Forest Island House. Later they were moved to a new house on Tongass Island. When Tongass was deserted, the posts were taken to Pennock Island, where they marked the grave of Tongass George. They were repaired and set up in their present location in 1939. It is estimated that they were carved about 1827.”

The photographic material published here by the Living New Deal was provided by courtesy of Linn A. Forrest (1905-1986), a practicing architect who photographed the totem poles at the time of their restoration, between 1939 and 1941. Forrest oversaw the joint program of the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps to recruit Alaska native carvers in the restoration and recarving of totem poles throughout Southeast Alaska. Employed by the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon, Forrest transferred to Juneau, Alaska in 1937, where he undertook the totem restoration as one of his first projects. Under his supervision, indigenous carvers preserved and restored 103 totem poles and three Tlingit and Haida community houses. Forrest documented the restoration process and maintained notes and a photo record of a significant portion of the work. He used a Leica camera designed for the then new Kodachrome 35mm color slide format.

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.

National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 35-TA

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee; Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest) on July 7, 2017.

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Location Info


Saxman Totem Park
Saxman, AK

Coordinates: 55.3191481260175, -131.59797357878188

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