Essay On Totem Pole

Decent Essays

The word totem derives from the Algonquian word “odoodem” meaning kinship group. You can see how that represents a totem pole well because a ceremony for a new pole is watched by hundreds of tribe members. More than just beautiful carvings, totem poles represent myths, legends, and honourable stories of families or tribes. Myths play a large role in Native American totem poles, this is not really a surprise because Native people believed in more superstitious things. They believed that many living beings in nature had either spirits or gods. With these outlooks on nature and life, those beliefs came back to their carvings on totem poles. Respecting spirits and gods of the land was huge for Native Americans, such as showing …show more content…

When a chief dies his ashes are put in a hollowed out spot at the top of his pole. Different creatures have different meanings, such as the bear represents healing powers and instinctiveness, the buffalo represents life, getstrength, and sacredness, the cougar represents leadership. loyalty, and courage. It is believed that a totem animal is with you forever. There is no specific way to carve a totem pole it is something meaningful to the carver and the thing it is representing. The meaning of the pole is based off how the carver is feeling. The crest on a pole is the most important part of the pole because it tells who the specific family or tribe is. Each family had their own unique crest that would have been been passed down from generation to generation, to the native people of Early American the family crest was more than just a symbol like it is today. The crest was a honourable thing, people would fight and die for their crest. The crest can be anything from carved stone to a waved basket. Eagles are the most common symbol for totem poles and crests because they were considered to be medicine birds also were considered to have very powerful magic abilities. Totem poles were not just used to honor someone, they could also be used as a way to shame someone or a whole tribe. A shame pole would be set up in the center of a tribe if it is to shame a specific person. They were used to expose another person or tribe for something disgraceful they

Get Access