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American Indian Studies

A resource guide for American Indian Studies research.

More videos regarding the totem in the Brooks Library

Tsungani Totem in the James E. Brooks Library

About the Totem Pole

The totem pole in the entryway of the James E. Brooks Library was carved by Tsungani (Fearon Smith, Jr.). He served as the chief of the Wiummasgum Clan of the House of Lelooska and the House of Sewide. This traditional Native American totem pole was carved and placed in 1999. This Northern style pole is carved from Western Red Cedar and stands nearly 15 feet tall. The main characters depicted on the pole consist of three Watchmen, followed by Raven, Salmon Woman, and Bear. The figures were carefully chosen by Chief Tsungani to represent all tribes of the Pacific Northwest and serve as a vivid reminder of the Native American heritage. In the time of myths, animals would have both a human and animal form.

Watchmen are usually ancestral characters representing the great chiefs of the family.

Raven is the principle character on the pole. Raven is very important in northern mythology because he is thought to have discovered mankind. A Chieftain figure sets between the wings of Raven.

Salmon Woman is very important to the Northwest coast because she is the one who brought the salmon to the rivers and the streams. Her hair represents a stream where the salmon are swimming.

Bear Mother is a traditional figure of Pacific Northwest Coast mythology.

Totem Poles