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2:22 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Are They Really Totem Poles?

Mon. 1/10: What is the true story of these giant carvings? Who is keeping this unique art form alive, and have you ever wondered about being the "low man on the totem pole?"

It's believed the word "totem" comes from an Anishinabe word that refers to a kin group or clan descending from a certain animal and revering it. But like most myth-influenced depictions of Native people, the totem is misconstrued. The Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and other peoples of the Great Northwest refer to these story boards as "story poles," and have their own tales to tell. Guests include pole carvers Tommy Joseph (Tlingit) and David Boxley (Tsimshian).