The totem pole is mostly seen, today, in the Northwest Coast of our country.
Did you know that the totem poles were actually status symbols?
Only the wealthy could afford them: So, let's climb an imaginary totem pole so that we may review the history of the totem pole. Do you believe that you would have owned a totem pole? Let's climb the totem pole, unique households?
- Wealthy Native Americans took many hours to carve their totem poles.
- Such artwork of animals on the poles were of actual historical events or stories.
- There were many kinds of poles: Some as tributes of honored dead or of a chief. Others were used to make fun of or shame someone or the dead, and would often be carved upside down.
- Poles were used as a visual of one's family tree.
- Some Native Americans believe that they were ancestors of an animal or plant.
- If a group of the Indians believed that they were a descendant of an animal or plant, they would identify themselves as that of the "animal or plant" clan.
- It was possible to show one's entire existence on one pole (50 feet or 15 meters tall).
- The top of the pole usually had a carved face, and the lower parts of the pole showed other important people or animals.
- The poles were painted in bright colors, and were set up in the middle of the clan's village so that they could be seen from afar.
- Most racial-identities knew to respect such art in wood. And,
- White Christian missionaries forced the Indians to chop down their poles so that they could be used for firewood and because of religious reasonings.