LIFE before becoming the Two RV Gypsies

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in Totem Bight State Park in Ketchikan, Alaska
May 25, 2004
Ketchikan sign
The Story of Tem Bight sign
sign about Totem Poles
sign abbout Totem Bight State Park
totem pole
totem pole
sign about shapes on totem poles

BELOW: The Mystical Thunderbird Totem Pole - The intent of the carving is to illustrate the mythological conception of thunder.
Thunder is created by the beating of the the bird's wings, and lightening is created by the blink of its eyes. This huge bird lives high on the mountain.
The whale at the base of the pole symbolizes the mountain top where the bird rests before devouring it pray. It is said that whale bones may be found on many mountain tops as they have been carried there from ages past.

The Mystical Thunderbird Totem Pole
The Mystical Thunderbird Totem Pole
Karen Duquette and The Eagle Totem Pole
Totem poles at Totem Bight Park

BELOW: Raven of the Head of Nass: Copied from a Tlingit pole on Tongass Island, a chief in a spruce root dance hat tops the pole.
At the base is the chief, Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass, from whom Raven stole daylight.
The small human figure represents ancestors of the Raven clan who were benefited by the theft.
The space between the top figure and the figures below represents high regard held for the chief.

Raven of the Head of Nass

Below: Man wearing Bear Hat: This Tlingit grave marker was copied from Cat Island by Tlingit carver Charles Brown. In 1995, Israel Shotridge carved a second replica. It depicts a man of the Bear clan wearing a large carved wooden hat surrounded on the brim by painted whales. The hat was worn at a potlatch or an important occasion during which stories were told or dramatized.

Man wearing Bear Hat
Man wearing Bear Hat
totem pole heads

BELOW: Thunderer's Pole: The original of this totem was at Tongass Island and it symbolizes Thunder, belonging to the Thunder House people. Four brothers were changed into Thunderers. Like the Thunderbird, they create thunder and lightening and live high in the sky and on the mountain tops.

Thunderer's Pole
Thunderer's Pole
totem pole
totem poles

Below: Master Carver Pole: This pole was designed and carved by John Wallace. It was set up in 1941. The Eagle at the top of the pole is the main crest of the Haida Eagle Clan. Other Eagle clan symbols following the main crest are the Beaver and Bullhead.

Master Carver Pole:
totem poles
totem pole and the lake

Water view

skunk cabbage

the lake
skunk cabbage

Below: Building of The Clanhouse started in 1939 and was completed in 1941.

The Clanhouse

The Clan House is a replica of a community house representative of houses built in the early nineteen-century native villages of Southeast Alaska. It served as the chieftains dwelling and it also housed several families that were part of his clan. The structure and its totem art did not originally exist on the current site. The site was a fish camp prior to being turned into a totem park. The decorating of the facade was created by Charles Brown. It represents a stylized raven figure painted in light blue and brown colors. The eyes of the raven are composed as two stylized faces. Such elaborate decorations were rare for clan houses and typically suggest significant wealth. A central post divides the facade and marks the low entrance, while two additional posts mark the corners and flank the front of the structure. Sitting on the corner posts, a man figure wearing a spruce root hat and a crest design on his face, holds a cane and appears ready for a dance or potlatch

The Clanhouse
The Clanhouse

Below: The central room of the house can fit 50 people. It has a fireplace shared by all living in the dwelling. The families were of the same lineage as the chieftain, and were allotted separate parts of the dwelling. Belongings were stored under the removable floorboards.

inside The Clanhouse
inside The Clanhouse

Below: The door is small and required everyone to stoop over. This conserves heat and also made it easy to kill enemies that might try to enter.

exiting The clan house
exiting The clan house

Below: In many parts of Alaska, rain water is caught in barrels and purified for their drinking water. If they go without rain for a long period of time, they have to bring in drinking water in by ships, which is very expensive.

collecting rain water

Below: Views outside of The Clanhouse

View outside of The Clanhouse
View  outside of The Clanhouse

Below: Inside Alaska Totem Trading gift store

Karen Duquette and a stuffed polar bear
stuffed moose
stuffed beaver
stuffed animal
stuffed animal

Below: Buses and a tourist ride

Buses and a tourist ride

Below: Lining up to reboard the Norwegian Sun as two giant Bald Eagles welcomed the passengers.

line to board the Norwegian Sun

two giant Bald Eagles

Continue on to Juneau Alaska and a helicopter ride to dog sledding on The North Glacier


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