Understanding totem poles, native art, carving, symbols, myths and stories, with a Knowledgeable Private Guide
There is a long tradition of totem pole carving in Southeast Alaska. The tradition still lives and thrives here in Ketchikan. We have old poles all over town. The Totem Heritage Center maintains the oldest poles under controlled air and humidity. We have a number of master carvers, reproducing old poles and working traditional form-line design into some unique and beautiful modern designs.
I would like to show you all this, explain the poles, and explain how they are carved, and tell you some of the stories behind them. I am an amateur carver myself, and have some of my self-forged tools I can show you. I know many of the best modern carvers, and am very familiar with their work. Many I can recognize from the distinctive adzing, the cut-marks of their tools. I have been a story-teller all my life, and I will delight in telling you some of the stories that lie behind the figures in the wood.
irst: we shall tour downtown and some of the poles there. There are poles in whale park, and around the downtown museum, and creek street. I will show you carving tools and how they are used. I will also tell you how Raven stole the son and moon.
The downtown museum has a small but exquisite display of native art. Then we can go round to bear valley where most Salmon ignore the fish ladder and jump up the creek.
Then we can look at the interesting black-fish pole outside the middle-school. Nearby is the beautiful City Park, where I can show you all the common native trees. There is also a fish hatchery, which we can visit if it is open.
Then we can walk to the nearby Totem Heritage Center, which houses some of the oldest totem poles in Ketchikan. I will tell you about stone-skin (my wives ancestor), and his battle with Sea Lion.
After, we can drive round the south end of town, pausing to see the Frog Clan, Raven Steals Sun and Moon by Isreal Shotridge.
If raining, we shall concentrate on indoors.
Meeting Point + Tour Duration
Meeting Point Options: Cruise Ship Port
Duration: 2 hours 30 min.
I will gladly go a bit longer or shorter.
2003 Dodge Durango R/T. Leather seats, Air-conditioned &individual climate control. Tinted windows. Seats 5 in comfort.
PLEASE NOTE: In the second row center ia a skinny wee jump-seat (with seat belt), so we could take 6 people if two are skinny, and willing to sit close together.
Room in back for bags and stuff, or even a wheelchair -- if the person in the wheelchair can get into and out of an SUV seat.
I can arrange for a larger vehicle, but that will significantly increase the price of the tour.
Estimated Local Cash Needed
5 USD - only if you plan to pick up juice or a snack along the way. If we plan to stop for lunch, you might need $20-$30 for lunch. I will take care of any additional fees, (entrance fees, museum costs, etc.)
I speak some French (Quebecois),
and Scottish Gaelic.
Driving tours max of 5 or 6 travelers (although I can charter larger vehicles for custom tours).
Walking tours max of 25 people, or even more - contact me for walking tours with more than 10.
A Recent Review of this tour
Read More Reviews For This Tour
Cruin provided my wife and I with a wonderful introduction to Ketchikan and the surrounding area! He was very personable and knowledgeable about Tinglit culture & the totem poles they carved. We deviated from the written description to see eagles along the shore south of town and watch salmon swimming upstream. All in all a very good tour.