First Tlingit Totem to Stand in Craig, Alaska
Hundreds gathered and traveled to Prince of Wales Island last weekend to witness the raising of the first Tlingit totem that now stands in the community of Craig.
The Sukteeneidí Honor Totem Pole recognizes and holds up uncles of the dog salmon clan. Ed Thomas commissioned Tlingit master carver Jon Rowan to help bring to life the story behind the pole. At the top is a figure depicting uncles holding the clan hat and staff. The bentwood box at the bottom would hold those items. The raven represents the Sukteeneídí moiety.
The dedication, held on a sunny Sunday afternoon, included honoring clan regalia and a donning of regalia ceremony. Dozens helped carry the totem to the Craig Memorial Cemetery and raised it without the assistance of modern machines. The ceremony culminated with a carver’s dance and thanking the eagle and raven clans for their presence.
A community ḵu.éex dinner was held following the dedication. At the gathering, the Sukteeneidí clan members thanked and gave appreciation to those who made the totem pole dedication possible.
View images from the events here.
Ed Thomas will give a lecture about Sukteeneidí Totem Poles on September 27, 2022. The presentation is part of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s fall lecture series. All lectures will be at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau and live streamed on SHIs YouTube channel at noon Alaska time and saved to the institute’s channel immediately after.