Totems of Ketchikan











Front row: Haida Master Carver Donald Varnell of Ketchikan; Tlingit Master Carver Israel Shotridge; and Tsimshian Master Carver David Boxley from Metlakatla. KIC Tribal Council Member David Jensen is standing behind Varnell and Shotridge.

Tsimshian Master Carver David Boxley carved the first 25’ pole featuring his interpretation of three legends: The Shaman Who Defeated the Ghost Chief; Killer Whale’s Battle With the Giant Octopus, and the Eagle and the Young Chief, topped off with three Tsimshian figures representing health, education and the future of our youth.

 The second pole is 40’ carved by Israel Shotridge.  At the base of the pole is a bent wood box with ravens on each side of a human.  Above the box is a human figure depicting the cedar bar weavers.  This goes up to the woman and child with traditional regalia, above that is the weaver weaving a chilkat or raven’s tail robe.  The figure above this is a carver carving a mask.  The healing hands in a circle are above the carver followed by the speaker.  On top are an Eagle and a Raven with human faces in the wings representing clans of human spirit. 

The third pole 25’ carved by Haida Donald Varnell, the grandson of a well renowned Cedar Bark Basket and Ravenstail weaver Delores Churchill, depicts a Shaman at the base linking its tongue to Raven transforming into Property Woman.  The tongue may have been the direct means of transferring power or story.  The Raven is then thought to be transforming into Property Woman.  The eagle is possibly transforming into a more humanoid form.  The three Watchmen on top are shown speaking to the Eagle which in turn transfer information all the way back down to the Shaman.  Finally the one hat design represents KIC as one united tribe.