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Shotridge Carves Third Replica of Sun-Raven Totem Pole
Pole to be gifted to Tongass Tribe & Community on Aug. 23rd
by Gigi Pilcher & Sitnews


July 31, 2003
Thursday - 12:45 am

Ketchikan, AK - Renown Master Carver Israel Shotridge (Tlingit, Taantakwaan-Tongass Tribe) is back home in Ketchikan to complete the third replica of the 18' historical Sun-Raven Totem Pole which will be gifted to the Tongass Tribe and the community on

Master Carver Israel Shotridge works on the third replica of Sun-Raven Totem Pole Wednesday...
Photo by Gigi Pilcher
August 23, 2003. On that date the pole will be raised at the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan at the Robertson Building on Stedman Street. A dinner celebration will also be held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

Master Carver Israel Shotridge is the son of Esther Shay. He is a member of the Teikweidee-Bear clan (mother's lineage) and Gaagwantaan-Killer Whale (father's lineage). Shotridge's Tlingit name is Kinstaadal, meaning "Bear Standing Up".

Apprenticing during the completion of the Sun-Raven Totem Pole is Robert Jackson, the son of Willard Jackson (Tlingit, Taantakwaan - Tongass Tribe) and the nephew of Shotridge.

The carving of the third replica of the 18' Sun-Raven Totem Pole is currently taking place at the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan at the Robertson Building. According to information provided by Sue Shotridge, the wife of Israel Shotridge, they are at the Robertson Building Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm.

According to information provided by the Shotridge Studios website, the carving of the third replica of the Sun Raven Totem Pole was established as a totem preservation project to help preserve this historical tribal totem. Monumental totem poles located throughout Southeast Alaska have been deteriorating at record numbers.

Quoting the web site, during the mid 1930's, many of the totem poles in the Ketchikan area were replicated by a group of Native fisherman employed by the US Government as a way to create jobs in Ketchikan during the depression, this program was called the Civilian Conservation Corps. Many of the Tongass Tribe's totems were replicated during this period and still stand today, however too many of them are now in very poor shape due to elements in the environment causing them to deteriorate. Today, there are more poles deteriorating then there are carvers who  are trained to replicate them and funding to do so and therefore many of the totem poles have been neglected. Over the past 15 years, many of these totems have been replicated by a few select carvers who have been trained in the art of replicating these wonderful masterpieces. Today, skilled carvers like Israel Shotridge, often take on apprentices to help in these efforts.

During the mid to late 1800's while there was no written language among the Tlingit Indians there was an oral history and many of the stories were preserved through the carvings on majestic red cedars - the totem poles. Israel Shotridge has dedicated himself to restoring and replicating over a dozen of the old tribal totems located throughout Ketchikan, Saxman, Klawock and Wrangell, Alaska.

According to information provided on The Shotridge Studios website, Shotridge's strong family tie to the historical Sun-Raven Totem Pole and its need to be replicated prompted him to choose to preserve this particular totem. He had been observing the deterioration of the 2nd replica for the past 10 years and on behalf of the Tongass Tribe and with their permission, Shotridge began to replicate this totem pole as his way of giving back to his culture. This is his way of helping to preserve his culture and heritage.

While Shotridge is carving the Sun-Raven Totem Pole, visitors are welcome to come and watch Shotridge and Jackson work. Sue Shotridge will be giving narrations for visitors and she will be available to answer questions while the Master Carver and his apprentice work. The carving shed is located behind the Robertson Building and there is no charge or fee for observing.

Also on display are the the Master Carver's tools which are all handmade along with other art work by both Shotridge and other Pacific Northwest artists.

The carving is expected to be completed by August 23rd - which is the scheduled date of the totem pole raising.


Photo Gallery

Handmade Tools
photo by Gigi Pilcher


Carving Tools
photo by Gigi Pilcher


Master Carver Israel Shotridge
photo by Gigi Pilcher


Master Carver Israel Shotridge
photo by Gigi Pilcher


Apprentice Robert Jackson
photo by Gigi Pilcher


To learn more about the Sun-Raven Totem Pole, visit the Shotridge Studios' web pages:

The Story of the Sun-Raven Totem Pole

Sun-Raven Totem Pole


Web Site:

Shotridge Studios

Photos by Gigi Pilcher ©2003



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