Totem Bight State Historical Park, Master Carver Pole – Ketchikan AK

Description

The Master Carver Pole pole was carved by John Wallace in 1941. A 2013 Department of Natural Resources, Master Development Plan for Totem Bight describes the characteristics and history of the totem: “It was customary on Haida poles to carve the crests of husband and wife. The eagle on the top of this pole is one of the main crests of the Haida Eagle Clan, the clan to which Wallace belonged. The beaver and bullhead
on the pole are also Eagle Clan symbols. The pole additionally includes the opposite crest of the Raven Clan, represented by the raven, bear, blackfish, and the hoot owl at the base of the pole; these crests represent Wallace’s wife. Under the bear’s feet are representations of two copper shields that once were used as mediums of exchange. Each was named and its value increased with age and the number of times it exchanged hands. A figure of 
 a Master Carver is near the base of the pole, wearing a necklace of faces that represent daily experiences and lessons learned, thus revealing the secrets of his trade.”

Source notes

Garfield, Viola and Linn Forrest, 1961, The Wolf and the Raven, Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 71-99. 

Totem Bight State Historical Park, Master Development Plan, Department of Natural Resources, 2013, accessed July 15, 2017.

Totem Bight State Historic Site, National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1970, accessed July 15, 2017.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee; Steve Forrest (with documentation courtesy of Linn Forrest) on July 20, 2017.

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Location Info


Totem Bight State Historical Park
Ketchikan, AK

Coordinates: 55.42015984668644, -131.77302049762267

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