One of the most interesting animal totem poles is at the Museum of Civilization near Ottawa in Canada. In the Grand Hall of the museum, there is a reproduction of a facade of a Northwest Coast Indian house. The house was of Wakas who was a chief during the 19th century and it was originally located in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island. Chief Wakas was of Okikeno and Nimakisk native origin. The front of his house featured one of the most innovative of Native American totem pole designs.
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The Waka totem pole features designs that showcases the chief's family history. The totem pole actually recreated the figures that were on Chief Waka's speakers staff. Starting at the top of this totem pole is the Thunderbird and Killer Whale.
------ Thunderbird and Killer Whale ------- Wolf and Human Wise One
Below the Killer Whale is the Wolf and the human Wise One. The Wise One sits on top of the Cannibal Bird and the Bear. Finally at the bottom of the totem pole, is the Raven.
Cannibal Bird and Bear ----------------------------------- Raven -----------------------
One of the interesting things about this particular Native American totem pole design is that it actually serves as the ceremonial entrance to the house. The upper beak of the Raven is actually part of a canoe and it covers the entrance where people could enter the house.
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To complete the overall design of the totem pole and the house, the Raven's tail feathers, wings and claws were painted on the front facade. The result is shown on the images below.
Today, Northwest Coast artists make some very stunning carvings of the characters and animals they have depicted on Native American totem poles for so many years. Just imagine having such a beautiful piece of artwork hanging in your home. See Northwest Native American art carvings or Northwest Native American art prints at very affordable online prices available at Free Spirit Gallery.
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