Totem (mortuary) pole.
19th-20th c Native American Haida Sculpture
(active c. 1700 - present)
Queen Charlotte Islands. Northwest Coast. Canada.
Victoria BC. Thunderbird Park.
The most important art form carrying the clan insignia was the Memorial Pole, which celebrated the lineage of the owner. Memorial Poles, erected in front of the house, contained the crests of ancestors, usually shown in the form of their animal totems. The ancestors of the family who erected this pole had the hawk, eagle, whale and beaver as totems.
Totemism, the association of a particular group with an animal power is found in many early religions and is still with us in fraternal organizations such as the Lions and the Elks, and in sports teams like the Sharks, the Dolphins, the Bruins, etc. These are all powerful animals, whose strength and ability is shared by the members of the group who assume a relationship with them.
HAIDA | Totem (mortuary) pole. | Northwest Coast: Haida | Native American