The Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest
Coast created carved images of spirits, mythological animals, and mythological
people. These carved images were called totems.
Each clan had a totem that was used as a crest, which was like a symbolic family tree. This totem crest decorated the homes of the family members. Some of the major clans had raven, eagle, bear, and wolf totem crests, but there were also many other clans with lots of different animals for crests.
These totems were also made into poles, which used various different carved totems to tell a myth or to show the history of a particular clan. The wood used to make these poles was very important. The totem poles needed to be made from either the sacred red or yellow cedar.
Totem poles had three major forms:
things used to paint color on your totem pole are called pigments.
These pigments are mixed with oil from Salmon eggs. The oil makes
the pigments into paint. The red paint is made with cinnabar pigment.
The blue paint is made with copper salts. The black paint is made
with charcoal. The green paint is made with algae. The yellow
color is just the
yellow cedar. The purplish hue is made by mixing the blue and red pigments.
Now that you have learned a bit about totem poles you can check out our
and links to find out where to learn more, or you can create
your own totem pole here on the Dragonfly Web Pages.
|My Dad the Ethnobotanist||Amazing Amazon Kids||Totem Poles||Create a Totem Pole||Dragonfly Home Page|
An earlier version of this page, and the create a totem pole page, were created by the following students in the Western College Program at Miami University: Megan Galagher, Binnie Martin, Todd Nadenichek, and Dan Pribble. Special thanks to Corey Sanders for his help with the create a totem pole page.
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