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Large Haida totem pole carved with crest figures. The pole has an eagle with a damaged beak sitting on top of the potlatch rings of a skil property hat. The rings rest between the ears of an eagle with a projecting beak. On the eagle' s chest is a smaller bird, possibly a young eagle with outstretched wings which overlap the bigger bird' s wings. The curled feet of the bird rest on the head of a thunderbird which has its beak close against its body. In turn the thunderbird rests on a killerwhale with whom it is often associated in myths and on totem poles. The blowhole of the killerwhale is clearly visible together with its dorsal fins. Along the body of the killerwhale are more skil hat potlatch rings, below is a small humanoid face possibly that of the strongman who battled with killerwhales in myth. The set of hands round the rings are possibly those of the killerwhale indicating transformation, more likely though they belong to the strongman. The last figure is a beaver with a chewing stick and cross-hatched tail. The pole is C-shaped in cross- section, having been hollowed-out to lessen the weight and enable it to be raised. The catalogue card records the figures as representing, from the bottom upwards, a beaver, a supernatural being, the only woman' s crest on the pole. Then comes a man used to fill space. Then a cormorant, also crest of man. Then an eagle showing that man belonged to that clan. The three figures on the top of the main pole represent watchmen looking for enemy visitors. Bird on top , an owl. Bushnell added to the catalogue card that alot of the data detailing the representations on the totem pole was clearly wrong and referred to Marius Barbeau' s Totem Poles page 122 as evidence. The confusion over the description could have arisen because it belongs to a pole which CUMAA was going to purchase but instead was sold to a museum in Milwaukee (G.Crowther).; Good


The totem pole was originally from the village of Tanu on the eastern side of Moresby Island, Queen Charlotte Islands. The pole is very similar to an Eagle and beaver pole of Skedans illustrated and described in Marius Barbeau' s Totem Poles: According to Crests and Topics pages 122-125 (Originally published 1950, reprinted 1990, Canadian Museum of Civilisation: Hull, Quebec). The pole is at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and is said to have belonged to the Eagle clan of Skedans or Kona, and possibly to the household of Those-Born-at-Kona . Furthermore the pole is very similar to a house-post collected by Dr.Charles Newcombe, also from Skedans, and displayed at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Barbeau suggeststhe two poles were from the hands of the same carver, as indeed the CUMAA pole may also originate, although there are a few differences. The differences are mainly in composition, the CUMAA pole does not have a frog and humanoid (?) on the chest of the second eagle, and stylistically the beaver' s eyes and nose are distinct. The differences in composition are probably related to the different crests owned by different lineages. The original European tribal names and, where possible, current tribal names have both been given in separate GLT fields.; Totem poles were raised at potlatches, chiefly the house- building potlatch or the mortuary potlatch. The poles are carved with the crests of the owner, and often detail a supernatural encounter or relationship which occurred to an ancestor or tothe present owner. The poles sometimes are a narrative of a myth which is associated with the lineage. The poles were carved by the opposite clan of the potlatching chief, thereby underscoring the mutual dependency of the clans within the ceremonial system of rival claims to political position. Within the village the totem poles were clustered around the big houses of each lineage, representing continuous claims to status. The poles faced out to sea, and as one Haida artist commented (1989) represented the symmetrical face of culture against the the wild forests . In recent years the totem pole has become synonymous with the whole of Haida culture, rather than individual claims, and are important as physical reminders of the Haida Nation' s claim over their land of Haida Gwaii. Totem poles have also been appropriated as cultural symbols by the Canadian nation state, making them ideal vehicles for rival identity claims. This is demonstrated by the increasing presence of Native people at pole raisings organised by the Federal Government, and their assertion of a unique Native identity beyond that of Canada. While totem poles raised within Native communities do represent individual and lineage claims to status, they have also become the cultural symbol of the continuing presence and strength of Native peoples on the Northwest Coast of Canada (G.Crowther).; Exhibited: Permanently on display, reaching into both galleries of CUMAA.; Collected by: Newcombe.Dr.C.F in 1925

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