This highly weathered pole is a Nuu-chah-nulth model of the iconic Tlingit “Seattle Totem” that stands in Pioneer Square, in downtown Seattle. The pole was a sensation and became one of the most popular images for model totem pole makers in the Seattle area. This pole likely dates from the 1920s, with the incredible weathered surface being a result of spending some time in the elements. 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.
PERIOD: Early 20th Century
ORIGIN: Northwest - Nuu-chah-Nulth, Native American
SIZE: 9 1/2" H