I am living 'down the road' from the City of Totems - Duncan ... it is not a city at all, but a town of 5,000 - in its early life it was classified as a city - and that's stuck.
I've iphoned a couple of totems in the 'city' the other day - not very good records ... but I'll take myself on a tour to see the 40+ poles in the town. My photos aren't brilliant - but you'll get an idea and I will elaborate on the meanings of some of them anon.
Thuja Plicata - the Western Red Cedar tree - known as the Mother Tree - is the tree of choice for these First Nation carvers.
For thousands of years, cedar sustained the peoples of the Northwest by providing material for everyday items: ceremonial masks, medicine, transportation, housing, fishing nets, food bowls, clothing, firewood, storage boxes and more...
However in 1986 ... Duncan was designated as the City of Totems ... being found in the Cowichan Valley, traditional home of the Quw'utsun' People.
|A fuller version of "The Feast"|
- with an historical caboose behind
|A Totem pole|
I will later on go into more detail about these amazing poles ... but for now - the First Nations relied on oral tradition to record their history, the carved totem poles created a permanent record of their lineage and historical events.
Ceremonies are performed at each pole raising ... these have come to be a combination of traditions and protocols from both native and (today) non-native communities ...
... and remind us that there is a spiritual connection between man and tree, that we are all aspects of a greater whole ...
That is T for Thuja Plicata and Totems ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...
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