Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Totems at 7 Cedars Casino

Yesterday's entry about the totem pole being repaired at the House of Myths (Carving Shed) at the Jamestown S'Kallam Tribe complex in Blyn, WA, ended with the photo below. The space in the center identifies the space the totem will occupy when it is repaired and returned to the 7 Cedars Casino.
At the base of the totem pole on the left is an early head chief, T'Chits-a-ma-hun, who stood for peace between the S'Klallam and the white settlers. He is credited with keeping the settlers of Port Townsend from massacre during what historians called the Indian Wars of the 1850's.

The chief is shown holding up his hand in greeting to the early settlers, and in his other hand, he holds the blanket with which he signaled the settlers of danger.
Above the chief is the figure of Thunderbird, a powerful guardian spirit associated with the S'Klallam people.
Lord James Balch, a great leader of the S'Klallam, is shown at the base of the totem pole on the right in photo #1 above. When settlers finally drove the S'Klallam from most of their lands, Lord James led his people to buy land which could not be taken from them. The settlement was named Jamestown in his honor.

Along with Lord James, are Salmon and
Eagle, two crest figures chosen by the Tribe.
Four other totem poles complete the 7 Cedars outside the 7 Cedars Casino. These four speak of connections between the natural world and the spiritual world, a view shared by other tribes of the Northwest. Master Carver Dale Faulstich designed each of these four poles in the style of a different Northwest tribe.

These four poles consist of two pairs--two 32-foot poles at either end of the building form one pair. The humanlike forms in the pole below entitled "Natural Elements" represent natural phenomena. At the base is Fog Woman. Above Fog Woman is the personification of Rainbow, then Cloud Woman (a human with birdlike features), and Cumulus Clouds (three small figures) at the very top

Fog Woman

The second 32-foot pole is entitled "Elements For Success," referring to the elements necessary to operate a successful Casino. The bottom figure, an Eagle holding a salmon, represents the guidance of the Tribal Council. The next figure is the Financier, holding a copper shield, a symbol of wealth.
Above the Financier is the Gambler, grasping the Financier's hat and hoping to acquire some of his wealth. At the top is the final ingredient for success--the necessary evil of government oversight, portrayed as a mouse, the little rodent that eats at every man's table.

The final poles are a pair of 35-foot poles directly on either side of the central group of three totem poles. The pole below is the "Supernatural World," representing each major realm of nature and the corresponding fearsome supernatural being--the Forest World (Dzonuk'wa) on the bottom, the Sky World (Thunderbird) in the middle, and the Undersea World (Tcama'os).
And the other 35-foot pole also show images of the Forest, Sky, and Undersea Worlds, but these are natural beings. At the bottom is the Forest World's giant, the Grizzly Bear (strength), then the Sky World's Raven (hero and trickster), and at the top from the Undersea World is Killer Whale, also called Blackfish.
Other totem poles that were positioned at sites around the Jamestown complex are shown below.
Bear Totem

The Salmon Bringers

Rulers from the Land Above

The Guardians


The information above was obtained from Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Totem Poles of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, The Art of Dale Faulstich, 2007.

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