Totem poles stand through time recalling past events. As you begin your journey at the entrance to the temperate rainforest, you are a witness in another time. You will experience some of the skills of these creative and talented artists, of their forest and ocean world, and of their respect for every living thing in it.
You are first seeing a Kaigani Haida crest pole from Klinkwan on south Prince of Wales Island.
Note the four rings underneath the top figure indicating that the person who commissioned the pole was of high standing. The original pole had five rings; this indicates he had hosted five potlatches when poles were raised! Many guests would have been invited to witness the events.
Other figures portrayed as heraldic emblems are Raven and possibly a bear.
Many techniques to preserve the totem poles in this park have been experimented with over the years. Since they were originally placed in the Park in 1906, records indicate that many of the poles have been patched with insert work, rotted surfaces have been trimmed away, and the poles at various times have received fresh coats of paint, all in the interest of lengthening the lives of the poles. This pole has undergone all the attempts at preservation.
This replica pole was carved by two local Native Civilian Conservation Corps carvers. Descendants of these carvers still reside in Sitka today, and they, too, are witnesses to history.