Totems, old and new

The styles of the totems shown in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria are as varied as the First Nations cultures they represent.

The BC Museum totems are different from the many more contemporary totems you can find in Sequim, for example here, and here. In 2011 I did a series on the totem poles of our local Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. If you’re interested, click here, here, here, here, and here. These two links will take you to the Jamestown S’Klallam carving shed in Blyn to show you local carvers and works in progress: here and here.

This totem is from an 1858 Kwakiutil house post in the village of Humtaspi on Hope Island. At its top is a moon figure. Beneath is the Dzoonokwa, a wild woman who lives in the woods. She is often seen with a basket on her back where she places stolen children that she intends to eat. I found this one particularly interesting as I have heard locally a Native American story about a similar child-eating character. She certainly gets around and undoubtedly has terrorized generations of children.

Totem art

We recently spent two days in Victoria, British Columbia. The trip included a visit to one of my favorite spots, the Royal B.C. Museum. There we spent most of an afternoon in the museum’s First Peoples Galleries. There is a rich exploration of the lives of Canada’s First Nations people and our tour led us to their superb collection of totem poles. They’re kept in low light and my photos reflect some judicious editing. There are additional totems on museum grounds outside. Click here to take a look at a photo of these from 2010. It is part of a series on totems that I posted in 2011. I’ll share links to that series tomorrow.

Totems include Nootkan, Tsimshian, Haida and other styles that tower over visitors.

Local totem

I haven’t photographed totem poles for quite a while. I will soon show you some from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. But first here’s one from the S’Klallam Tribe that stands near the Jamestown Medical Center in Sequim. I picked up a brochure about it some years back but can’t seem to put my hands on it again.

Sequim Rocks

DH found this Sequim Rock recently at the Sequim Library. Sequim Rocks is a thing here. People paint rocks and place them around the community. Finders are encouraged to take a picture of the painted rocks they’ve found, post it on Facebook, and then leave the rock somewhere else for another to find. It’s a day brightener and some of the rocks are beautiful little works of art.