Culture/community; conflict/compromise. This pole is unusual in that it includes crest figures from both Raven and Eagle moieties. It is intended to be a public display of unity, putting old clan differences aside and working for the good of all Tlingit people.
In 1996, the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural center commissioned Tlingit carvers Will Burkhart, Tommy Joseph and Wayne Price to carve a 36’ red cedar totem pole that would depict the first Tlingit people to settle in the Sitka area. The pole’s Tlingit name translates roughly, “Our grandparents who were the very first people to use Indian River and the other people who were here, too.”
1. The top figure is Raven the Creator, who made land and gave mankind light and fire. Raven also represents one of the moieties of the Tlingit people.
2. The human figure below Raven represents the first people to settle in Sitka. The figure wears a Kiks.adi clan crest hat and holds 2 coho salmon, the crest of the L’uknax.adi clan honored by the pole.
3. The third segment of the pole is the frog, which is the crest of the Kiks.adi clan.
4. It is followed by an eagle, representing all of the Eagle clans.
5. The bottom figure is the brown bear representing the Kaagwaantaan, Chookaneidi, and
Wooshkeetaan clans of the eagle moiety. The Mother Bear’s tongue touches the head of the little bear, passing knowledge from one generation to the next.
This is a pole of which all Tlingits can be proud!