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Ditidaht Model Totem by John T. Williams


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Important Ditidaht model totem pole by John T. Williams. John T. Williams was a Ditidaht carver, the son of prominent master carver Raymond Williams – a member of the famous William family of model totem makers. His family has carved for Ye Olde Curiosity Shop for over a century, and along with his brother, Rick, John’s work was regarded as among the best by the family. Unfortunately, John’s life was cut short after an unprovoked shooting by a Seattle Police Department officer on August 30, 2010, while Williams was crossing the street, whittling on a totem pole. Williams’ death rattled the Native community in Seattle and started an uncomfortable conversation regarding police brutality that is still ongoing today. Rick Williams, John’s brother, along with several local Native artists created a large memorial pole for John that stands at the Seattle Center (near the Space Needle), in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. This pole is well carved and painted, and features a beaver, wolverine, and inverted killer whale. The pole is carved in red cedar and is painted in the characteristically bright colors that the Williams family are known for. John Williams’ work is scarce today and his pieces have become important symbols of Indigenous civil rights and social justice. 20"

PERIOD: Late 20th Century

ORIGIN: Northwest - Nuu-chah-Nulth, Native American

SIZE: 20"

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