Friendship Pole at Haines School

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Haines School
United States
59° 14' 4.866" N, 135° 27' 19.134" W
Alaska Indian Arts, Inc.: Clifford Thomas, John Hagen, Sr., David Svenson, Jenny Lynn, Cliff Thomas, Edwin Kasko, Lee Heinmiller, Carl Heinmiller, Wayne Price, and Greg Horner
Date Carved: 

This 40' yellow cedar pole was paid for by the Larsons, author of the book "Proud Chilkat," to celebrate the start of the Indian Education Program in the Haines School. Originally in front of the downtown elementary school, and facing the other direction, it was relocated to the new school a few years ago. In its original location, a sign stated that the pole was "Dedicated to the children of the Chilkat Valley."  It is one of three copies of the Friendship Pole, which is held in the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center. This one is the tallest of the three. A second one is on the Fort Seward Parade grounds (currently on the ground next to the tribal house). The third one is located in Juneau inside the Hall of Justice. Each is slightly different from the others.

This pole represents both Eagle and Raven moieties and White people, showing how we are all interlinked in this community. The bottom figure, a bear head, has an eagle in its mouth. Above that is a frog with human faces (white people) on either side. Above them is a wolf with designs on its shoulders. Above him is a hawk face. The hawk is a friend of the raven. The very top figure is a raven with his head pointing down, in a diving position. The hawk face at the very top is the tail of the raven. The wings of the raven have whale designs on them. The head of each whale is down.

The original Friendship Pole is located in the Sheldon Museum. It is small. It was commissioned by the Eagle moiety in Klukwan and presented to U.S. Marshall Steve Sheldon and his wife, Elisabeth in gratitude for their friendship and help in promoting understanding among the houses and clans of the Tlingit. It was carved by Jim Watson, of the Raven moiety, around 1927. Raven and Eagle are not typically depicted together on the same pole. Their dual presence here represents the friendship extended to both moieties. Eagle is depicted twice on the original pole because the Eagle moiety commissioned the pole to be carved and presented to the Sheldons. The Hawk with Sea Monster Headdress, in the center of the original pole, represents the Sheldons.

- Thanks to the Haines Sheldon Museum for info from their Totem Trot event.

Ikaduwakaa and the Storyboard are part of the Doorways to the Past; Gateway to the Future project, cooperatively supported by the Chilkoot Indian Association, Haines Borough Public Library, and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership, and lifelong learning.