Archive for the ‘totem poles’ Category
Last wednsday , Gerd, Ragnvald and me had a nice roadtrip around some of the islands of Troms. Gerd have been teaching me some basic techniques of woodcarving in his workshop the last week, and Ragnvald has been so sweet to supply me with some of his nice sibirian driftwood that he collect. So now its all set for the totempole I’m going to start carving.
woodcarving is hard work.. guess I’ll be pretty buff soon!
– I love the snowy beaches!
That’s what I’ll do, throwing out boomerang
Waiting for it to come back to me
When I grow up, I want to live near the sea
Crab claws and bottles of rum
That’s what i’ll have staring at the seashell
Waiting for it to embrace me
(…) At various significant occations, a chief would commission a carver to create a pole that featured his clan’s crest. When the pole was complete, other families were invited to witness it being erected at a ceremony called a potlatch. There was feasting and dancing, and stories were told. The hosts gave away elaborate gifts, often competing with other chiefs to see who could give away the most wealth. It was common for a chief to give away everything he owned at a potlatch, even in some occasions giving away the very clothes he was wearing.
Clearly potlatches weren’t just a celebration of a new piece of art. By attending the installation of a new pole, the other families were giving their assent to its use. Their presence was a way of saying “Yes, we agree that this crest belongs to these people.” As such, the poles and the potlatches played an important role in perserving the identity of each community.
source: Carve your own totempole – Hill, McKee and McMullen