Totem poles 2

Here is another look at the S’Klallam Tribe’s 7 Cedars Casino totem poles in Blyn. This totem honors a storied leader of the S’Klallam Tribe, Lord James Balch. In 1855 a treaty rejected by many S’Klallam took their lands and moved Tribe members to a reservation 100 miles away, crowding them on unfamiliar land with tribes that had other languages and cultures. Understanding that purchasing lands would assure permanency Lord James Balch led his villagers to raise $500 and in 1874 purchased 210 acres in an area named Jamestown in his honor. With secure lands the Tribe went on to raise the first schoolhouse in Clallam County in 1878. This totem is carved in the Coast Salish style.

Tomorrow: The supernatural world and elements from nature.

Totem poles

Totem poles are part of the First Nations heritage in the Pacific Northwest. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, centered in Blyn, just east of Sequim, commissioned a master carver, Dale Faulstich and a carver/painter, Nathan Gilles, and many volunteer carvers to produce totems that grace their tribal operations.

The poles tell stories: of history, of religious, traditional, and cultural folklore. The figures carved into totems can represent people, animals, spirits, and events. Though nature is often representated in totem art, the pole immediately below on the right is a representation of elements the tribe calls into play for the success of the 7 Cedars Casino where it is located. It includes a financier portrayed, not accidentally, as a bird of prey. And at its top government oversight is represented in the form of a mouse, described as “the little rodent that eats at every man’s table.”  

The Casino has a striking array of totem poles that primarily represent the art of the Coast Salish Tribes. But there are also four that show the carving style of regional tribes of north of here, in British Columbia. The pole at left is carved and painted in the Haida style and the one at the right is carved in the Nuxalt style.

Here are details of some of the poles.

The tribe is succeeding in its casino venture. In recent voting conducted by the local Peninsula Daily News the 7 Cedars Casino won “Best of Olympic Peninsula” in the “Best Buffet” and “Best Dancing” categories.

I’ll post examples of other S’Klallam totem art in the coming days, including photos of the workshop where carving is done.

Puffin to go

We came across this whimsical cargo near the Dungeness bluffs one afternoon, a puffin, a chair, and a fountain. The creator, a former Sequim resident, was having a picnic nearby. He was in town to repair one of his local sculptures, the hamburger at Fat Smitty’s Diner in Discovery Bay.

Sure enough, there he was at Smitty’s when we drove by a couple of days later. He also mentioned that he did sculptures at Troll Haven.