The low man on the totem pole

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The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:02 pm

Wiki:

Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from large trees, mostly Western Red Cedar, by cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. The word totem is derived from the Ojibwe word odoodem, "his kinship group".


A Gitxsan pole (left) and Kwakwaka'wakw pole (right) at Thunderbird Park in Victoria, British Columbia.


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:43 pm

Wiki:

The meanings of the designs on totem poles are as varied as the cultures that make them. Totem poles may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. Some poles celebrate cultural beliefs, but others are mostly artistic presentations. Certain types of totem poles are part of mortuary structures, and incorporate grave boxes with carved supporting poles, or recessed backs for grave boxes. Poles illustrate stories that commemorate historic persons, represent shamanic powers, or provide objects of public ridicule. "Some of the figures on the poles constitute symbolic reminders of quarrels, murders, debts, and other unpleasant occurrences about which the Native Americans prefer to remain silent... The most widely known tales, like those of the exploits of Raven and of Kats who married the bear woman, are familiar to almost every native of the area. Carvings which symbolize these tales are sufficiently conventionalized to be readily recognizable even by persons whose lineage did not recount them as their own legendary history." (Reed 2003). House front poles were meant to show the success of the families.

Totem poles were never objects of worship. The association with "idol worship" was an idea from local Christian missionaries, who would have seen their association with Shamanism as being an occult practice. The same assumption was made by very early European explorers, but later explorers such as Jean-François de La Pérouse noted that totem poles were never treated reverently; they seemed only occasionally to generate allusions or illustrate stories and were usually left to rot in place when people abandoned a village.

Totem poles at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.Vertical order of images is widely believed to be a significant representation of importance. This idea is so pervasive that it has entered into common parlance with the phrase "low man on the totem pole." This phrase is indicative of the most common belief of ordering importance, that the higher figures on the pole are more important or prestigious. A counterargument frequently heard is that figures are arranged in a "reverse hierarchy" style, with the most important representations being on the bottom, and the least important being on top. Actually there have never been any restrictions on vertical order[citation needed], many poles have significant figures on the top, others on the bottom, and some in the middle. Other poles have no vertical arrangement at all, consisting of a lone figure atop an undecorated column.


Totem poles in front of houses in Alert Bay, British Columbia in the 1900s.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:46 pm


From left to right, the One-Legged Fisherman pole, the Raven pole, and the Killer Whale pole in Wrangell, Alaska.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:48 pm


Totem poles at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:49 pm


Incomplete Haida pole in Skidegate, British Columbia.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:51 pm


Dancing at a pole-raising celebration in Klawock, Alaska.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:53 pm


The Kiks.ádi pole in Wrangell, Alaska.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:55 pm


Tlingit totem pole in Ketchikan, Alaska, circa 1901.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:58 pm


The K'alyaan Totem Pole of the Tlingit Kiks.ádi Clan, erected at Sitka National Historical Park to commemorate the lives lost in the 1804 Battle of Sitka.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Tue May 10, 2011 11:59 pm


A totem pole in Totem Park, Victoria, British Columbia.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:01 am


From Totem Park, Victoria, British Columbia.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:03 am


From Saxman Totem Park, Ketchikan, Alaska.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:05 am


From Saxman Totem Park, Ketchikan, Alaska.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:08 am


From Brockton Point, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:10 am


The world's tallest totem pole, near Alert Bay.

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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:11 am


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:13 am


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:15 am


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:18 am


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:19 am


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Re: The low man on the totem pole

Post  eddie on Wed May 11, 2011 12:21 am


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