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Fox on Totem Pole

The Totem Heritage Center: A Preservation of Native Culture

September 05, 2017

Since the Stone Age, totems have played a significant role in most of the world’s earliest societies. From such humble origins as totemic charms that included animal claws or teeth, semi-precious stones, and additional symbols of protection and good fortune, there emerged the totem pole. One of the earliest art forms, these carved poles featuring likenesses of people, animals, and gods became increasingly intricate and refined with the use of iron tools.   

After the decline of Alaska’s Native American populace, some of these totems were removed, but many were reclaimed and relocated, along with replicas of those that were removed. At the Totem Heritage Center, 33 of have been preserved, with 16 of them on permanent display. These striking examples of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian culture and heritage are exhibited surrounded by village site photos and various artifacts, and the public is invited to attend on September 14, when the center will host an open house. For more information, click here.