Topped With A Thunderbird

Totem Poles-Kalama Washington on the Columbia River

Landmark totem pole standing 140 feet-largest in the world

What is a totem pole?

Totem poles are monuments created by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to represent and commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events.  Totem poles are typically created out of red cedar, a malleable wood relatively abundant in the Pacific Northwest, and would be erected to be visible within a community. Most totem poles display beings, or crest animals, marking a family’s lineage and validating the powerful rights and privileges that the family held.  Totem poles would not necessarily tell a story so much as it would serve to document stories and histories familiar to community members or particular family or clan members.”

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The Kalama landmark totem poles are carved from 700 year old red cedar.

Kalama Washington landmark totem poles-next to McMenamins Harbor Lodge
The faces of the Kalama totem poles
Kalama Totem poles on the Columbia River

The community refurbishes the poles when needed.

Refurbishing the landmark totem poles

The poles are located at Marine Park along the Columbia River

Marine Park-Kalama Washington

The poles are tall enough to be seen by travelers on Interstate 5 and stand prominent at the river side.

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One thought

  1. I saw my first up close totem in Vancouver, BC at the end of a cruise from Alaska. We spent two days there before going home. From what I’ve seen they are used by many tribes in the US nortwest, Canada, and Alaska.

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