The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary has a resident totem pole carver. He learned to carve from his uncle.
These totem poles were carved from red cedar using traditional methods and tools. It takes several months to complete one. I was surprised to learn that the poles are open in the back and hollow. Red cedar rots from the inside out, so the center of the log is removed to prevent rotting,
Totem poles are NOT a religious symbol. They tell a story. The carver decides what to put on the pole, frequently an animal that represents their tribe. The carver above is from the raven clan.
There are a number of totem poles on display.
There are other parks near Ketchikan that also display totem poles. There are 80 totem poles in Ketchikan!
I’ll wrap up in Ketchikan with the next post.