The totem pole will be installed later and unveiled when the Arts Campus opens. Young said it will probably be in June.
The Wooshkeetaan Kootéeyaa, meaning Wooshkeetaan totem pole, used to be located outside of Centennial Hall, but it was taken down in 2016 and put in a warehouse because of weather damage.
Most totem poles are carved on one side, but this one is carved on both. They’re calling it a 3-D totem pole, and it’s a lot more work.
Alison Marks is one of only a handful of Native women who carve totem poles. Her artwork often blends traditional Tlingit culture and design with modern ideas.
The totem pole was created for Goldbelt Heritage Foundation and Douglas Indian Association, as part of a healing process for the T’aaḵú Ḵwáan Tlingit tribe. The pole memorializes the deliberate burning of Akáx Yaa Andagán, the Douglas Indian village, in 1962 and honors the residents who lost their homes.
Members of the T’aaḵú Ḵwáan gathered Tuesday at Savikko Park in Douglas for the raising of the Yanyeidì Gooch kootéeyaa, or Wolf totem pole.
Native and non-Native community members celebrated the pole’s unveiling Thursday afternoon despite earlier concerns that the library had skipped traditional protocol.
The Chief Johnson totem pole, which stood at the south end of the Centennial Building parking lot adjacent to the city museum, was taken down for cleaning and repairs in late September.
Schoenbar Middle School celebrated the end of the school year with a special totem-raising ceremony. The Pathfinder totem pole was carved by Schoenbar students over the past year under the direction of carver Kelly White.
The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.