Five Totem Pole Facts
3. Totem Poles Often Represent Stories
Many Totem poles illustrate legends, stories, or important events. Some poles are mortuary structures. And a few are just pieces of art.
To find out more about the different kinds of poles, watch this video about Sitka National Historic Park in Sitka, Alaska. Click here.
4. Some Symbols Are Arranged in a Hierarchy
Sometimes the symbols on a Totem Pole are arranged so that higher symbols have more importance and lower symbols have less significance.
This arrangement is where we get the saying "low man on the totem pole", which means that the person is at the bottom of the hierarchy and everyone above him is more important.
5. The Colors Used in Poles Have Meaning
Originally the paints used to color totem poles were made from natural ingredients like berries, mosses, copper, and clays.
Today, latex paint is often used.
Blue is the symbol for lakes and rivers. Yellow represents sun, light, and happiness. Black is the symbol of power.
To learn more about totem pole colors, click here.