IMG_5318The artifacts and iconography of the Pacific Northwest are among my favorite folk art representations and the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus in Seattle has a rich seam of treasures.

Totem poles hold a particular spell for me with their stylised representations of whales, ravens, eagles, salmon, wolves, bears and other animals of the region.

Each is identified with a particular quality or talent – the salmon with persistence, the otter with curiousity for instance – and they are incorporated into collective myths and legends that make up family or tribal identities.

For people who don’t keep written records these pillars of history connect the past to the present and help keep alive the stories and memories of their ancestors.

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