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Friday, February 11, 2011

Totem Poles, Stanley Park

Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest Coast
Whenever visitors travel in and around the Pacific coastlines of the US states of Washington, Oregon and the Canadian province of British Columbia, they will likely see Northwest Native totem poles as part of the local West Coast art.
The totem pole display area at Brockton Point in Stanley Park is the most visited tourist attraction in all of British Columbia and it has an interesting history. In the early 1920s, the elected Park Commissioners of the day supported the idea of constructing an Indian Village in Stanley Park near the Lumbermen's Arch area. This site was chosen as it had been the location of a massive midden, or cultural mound, resulting from years of habitation by the native aboriginal peoples. The midden primarily contained calcined shells that covered an area 8 feet deep over several acres. These shells were so numerous that they were used to surface Stanley Park's first perimeter road

The history of the Canada totem pole goes back for generations. The totems had multiple Northwest Native figures carved on tall, western cedar poles. It was intended to have each figure represent a meaning. Overall, a totem pole told a real life or mythical story. Sometimes the figures also represented a Northwest Native family's crest or coat of arms recording their family history.

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