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Totem Pole Will Honor the Ketchikan Native Community
Israel Shotridge Commissioned To Carve 40' Totem Pole for KIC Health Clinic


September 15, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Ketchikan Indian Corporation recently commissioned Tlingit Master Carver Israel Shotridge to carve a 40' western red cedar into a totem pole to honor the Ketchikan Native Community. Once finished, this pole will be placed at the Ketchikan Indian Community Health Clinic.

jpg Israel Shotridge Ketchikan, Alaska

Master Carver Israel Shotridge is pictured working on the Eagle & Raven which represents all the people. The Eagle & Raven are located at the top of the totem pole. The project is much further along than pictured in this photo taken on August 28, 2004.
Photo by Dick Kauffman

This huge 40' totem pole will represent three tribes - the Tlingit, Haida & Tsimpshian people. There are no main animal figures being carved on this magnificent totem, except the eagle and raven. The eagle and raven will be at the top of the totem and will represent all the people.

From the bottom to the top, the figures on the totem pole are:

  • Bentwood Box holds the treasures, stories, legends of the Native culture.
  • Cedarbark Weaver
  • Mother & Child
  • Raven's Tail Weaver
  • Carver
  • Healing Drum with three hands representing the three local tribal groups. The drum also represents the heartbeat of the native people.
  • Spokesperson holding the KIC Copper. A copper represents great wealth.
  • Eagle & Raven

In the wings are spirit faces which represent the ancestors. Along the side of the pole is floral work to honor the women. The floral carving is a tribute to Dwight Wallace, a Haida Carver, who carved floral work on one of his poles. The floral design also shows the femininity of the woman.

There is great detail in this pole. Abalone inlays as labrets will be in each woman's lip and
Mother of Pearl buttons will be inlaid along the ceremonial robe of the Mother & Child. Metal will be attached to the carved tools of the carver along with an adz and copper will be embossed onto the carved copper figure.

jpg Sue Shotridge & daughter Ketchikan, Alaska

The Mother & Daughter... painted by Mother (Sue Shotridge) and Daughter (Autumn).
Photo by Dick Kauffman

The artists working on the project are:

Master Carver: Israel Shotridge (Photo)

Assistant Carvers:

Robert Barratt (Photo)  - Vancouver, BC

Wayne Hewson (Photo) - Metlakatla

Apprentice/Nephew: Robert Jackson (Photo)

Guest carver/Painter: George Guthrie (Photo)

Painter/Project Manager: Sue Shotridge

Work on the totem has been ongoing for several months and is drawing to an end. However, it's still not too late to visit with Master Carver Israel Shotridge, his carving assistants and apprentices daily at the Totem Heritage Center. Shotridge will be carving until the end of September.

Due to the logistics involved in installing this totem pole, there will not be a traditional totem pole raising. Instead the Ketchikan Indian Corporation maintenance crew and the carvers will install the totem pole on October 1st. On October 2nd there will be a traditional unveiling of the totem pole in front of the KIC Health Clinic at 8:00 am which will be followed by a Potlatch. The KIC Health Clinic is located at 2960 Tongass Avenue.



Israel Shotridge

Shotridge Studios' Photo Gallery:

KIC Totem Project Photographs - View the carving from start to finish...




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