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Coast Salish Model Totem


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This model pole of the iconic “Seattle Totem” was made by a local Coast Salish artist. This model would have been created not too long after the original pole was installed in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. Salish carvers did not traditionally make multi-figure totem poles, but tourist demand led many Puget Sound area carvers to create model poles for local curio shops. This example is in excellent condition. The original, full-sized pole was Tlingit in origin and belonged to the Tongass people, near the US-Canadian border in Southeastern Alaska. It was stolen by a group of vacationing Seattle businessman in 1899 and “gifted” to the city of Seattle, which installed it in Pioneer Square. The original pole gifted to the city was damaged by arson in 1938 and replaced in 1940 by Tlingit carvers working for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Fun fact: Although totem poles have become a symbol of the City of Seattle, the Indigenous Salish people of Puget Sound did not historically carve multi-figure, free standing monumental poles. The Seattle Totem was the first documented totem pole to be raised in Puget Sound territory. 13"

PERIOD: Early 20th Century

ORIGIN: Plateau - Salish, Native American

SIZE: 13"H

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