10 key facts about totem poles  


Totem in Victoria, BC, First Nations Art
  1. Traditional totem poles are made from a single cedar trunk; they are carved wooden pillars of First Nations communities of the Northwest Coast.

  2. The crest is usually the top figure on the totem pole; some crest figures include Raven, Eagle, and Thunderbird..

  3. Crests represent a family's history, clan and lineage in the form of supernatural beings.

  4. The saying "low man on the totem pole" is a misconception, because the bottom figures on totem poles can be of equal or greater importance to figures placed higher up.

  5. Traditionally, totem poles were symbols of wealth and prestige.

  6. Totem poles take about 6 to 12 months to complete.

  7. The tallest totem pole in the 19th century was 24.4 meters (80 ft) in height.

  8. Earliest recorded sighting of a totem pole was in 1791 by fur trader John Bartlett in the Haida winter village of Kiusta on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

  9. Presently, the tallest totem pole is located in Alert Bay with a height of 53 meters (173 ft).

  10. On average a totem pole lifespan is 60 to 80 years; poles decay due to insects, wind, weather, fungi, and splits in the wood.
 
Articles on totem poles :
> History of totem poles
> Meaning & symbolism

>Totem pole sites in BC