Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SaxmanTotem Village

One of the things we did in Ketchikan was visit the Saxman Totem Village.

It came highly recommended by many of you, and I want to thank you for that – this is the feel of native Alaska that I was searching for!

The Saxman Totem Village is home to an authentic clan house and the world's largest collection of standing totem poles.  Most of the original poles have outlived their life and are being replaced by replicas to preserve the history and the story of the people of this area.

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Tlingit Indian Village Established in 1894 is named for School Teacher Samuel Saxman, one of three men lost December of 1886 while scouting for a new location for people of tongass and cape fox villages.  Totems here comprising worlds larges collection including poles moved from Pennock, Tongass, and village islands and from old cape fox village at kirk point.  Many are Poles restored under federal works project directe by the US Forest Service beginning in 1939.

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Original 200 year old Totem lying on the ground.

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The original paints are made from local plants and minerals – the turquoise green being from copper --- this is off the top of my head as I try to remember all  of the information that was given in a very short span of time!

The story I found really neat was how old totem poles come to die ---they lay them down on the ground like this one here and just let nature break it down and take it back into the earth until there is nothing left.

In the slide show below you will see some photos from the workshop where the artisans are carving new replicas of the old poles before they are laid down to rest.  The smell of cedar was everywhere.

If you can’t view the slide show, click the image below to go directly to the photo album.
Saxman Totem Village, Ketchikan 2013
We are just now pulling into Juneau!  Today's adventure is whale watching!  Stay Tuned!

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  1. How's the weather? Is it chilly? We're going next August and just wanted to have an idea of the clothes we will need to take. You're pictures are beautiful!

  2. Bonnie, I used to live in Ketchikan down near the Saxman village. I also worked in the quilt shop there - The Silver Thimble - there are many very talented quilters there! I also know the totem carver you pictured - Nathan Jackson...what a small world and I miss that place!

  3. We came back from Alaska two weeks ago and enjoyed our day in Ketchikan and seeing the beautiful totems. Did you visit the quilt shop? The grass is dry at Groveland School as we need rain.

  4. Is it just me, or are there many, many applique blocks in these pictures??? Whoa! If you want to memorialize your trip, I think you got it!

  5. Thank you so much, Bonnie! I live vicariously through your adventures, since I can't afford to travel at this point. Maybe some day, after the kids are through college...You certainly give me great ideas for future trips!

  6. In one of the picture showing all the Totem Poles, is a present day octagon red sign!!!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing these. It was nice to see you beside one to give us an idea of their size. Are Totems always made from one tree? They'd have to be really old to be that tall.


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