Sechelt Nation Totem Poles
Several totem poles can be seen in Sechelt and are impressive indications of the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the Shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation and other First Nations groups.
Because they are made of wood, and usually are outside, totems typically have a relatively short “lifespan”. The totems that you can see in the Sechelt area were all carved and erected in the last thirty years. Totems can be considered as contemporary art in the tradition of the First Nations. They contain depictions of animals and mythological figures, often representing themes and concepts relevant to specific events or individuals.
Many totems in this area include the figures of wolf, grizzly bear, killer whale, frog, and eagle. The first four represent the four main clans of the Shíshálh people. Elders say that there is a fifth clan, represented by the eagle. Due to epidemics that resulted in massive population decline, the oral history of this clan is unclear, but most people will respectfully acknowledge a member when they state that they are eagle clan.
We have prepared a PDF overview which documents the totem poles in the Sechelt area (688 KB), including colour photos and a map which shows where each is located. You may download this document and print it out, using it to enjoy your own self-guided walking tour around the town Sechelt. Most of the totem poles can be visited with a comfortable walk, although two areas require either a longer walk or a short drive.