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Totem Pole, Suquamish Tribe, Port Madison Reservation, Washington State

Land in the Sky Totem Pole, Suquamish Tribe
Port Madison Reservation, Washington State

This photograph is in the permanent archives of the Seattle Art Museum and on display in the Northwest Native American Exhibit.

The pole was carved for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. It toured the US on a specially made trailer while the carver, Joe Hillare, worked on it. Then, it was displayed at the fair for a short while. It was supposed to have been permanently erected at the Seattle Center, but the Indian Village concession was mismanaged and Joe wasn't paid. So, he took it to Suquamish, where it stayed until June 2008. It was taken down because of rot. It's safe at the studio of a Lummi carver, Felix Solomon, who has restored another of Joe's poles. He hopes to raise funds to restore it.

An ancient North Coast Native American legend is depicted on the pole. The legend describes two young brothers who climb into the sky on a thread of arrow shafts and conquer the moon after a battle.

The younger brother marries the moon's daughter and the older brother marries the daughter of the sun. The animals depicted on the pole represent the animals in the moon's army that the brothers had to battle.


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All photos copyright 2013 Tony Hayden
Continuing development by RL Cantwell