By Joseph Branco
January 31, 2005
At the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center Friday night, Native expert and author Steve Brown presented interesting and important findings regarding totem carvings in southeast Alaska. After more than twenty years of research, Brown has established that some of the most significant totem poles, house posts, and other carved artifacts from Wrangell, Taquan (now Metlakatla), Old Kasaan, and Klukwan areas were created by a single carver, Kadjisdu.áxch´ II, whose career spanned the years between c.1770 and 1810. Brown introduced the fascinating carvings of Kadjisdu.axch/ II, often referred to as "The Greatest Carver of Wood among Natives" during his time.
During a slide show, Brown explained the similarities between several carvings in Wrangell and other areas with the recorder works of this famous carver. Brown points out that many carvings whose originators have been hitherto unknown, can be credited to Kadjisdu.axch' II. The unique rotation of the eyes in the sockets, the streamlines, and the relative age and similarities in the craftsmanship between his established works and those presented likely proves that Kadjisdu.axch' II is, indeed, the carver of these great works of art as well.
Totem carvings are very much a part of our community and, in many ways, symbolic of our Native Tribes in Ketchikan. Each totem and carving tells a story or presents an emotion to the observer. Opportunities to understand and respect the many cultures and people that comprise the population of Ketchikan are welcomed.
Photo by Carl Thompson
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