Totem Poles are carved wooden pillars made by the First Nations of the Northwest Coast. Totem poles are important symbols for BC Northwest Coast peoples. Several kinds of totem poles were carved by First Nations artists living along the central and northern coast of British Columbia.

A totem is an object, usually an animal, that serves as an emblem for a family or clan. It represents a symbolic relationship between nature and human kin groups.

Totem poles often have very interesting stories to tell. The figures on the poles are mythical beings from the First Nation's ancestral past.


Totem Poles at the SFU Museum are on loan from the Royal British Columbia Museum. Photographs by Mary Forbes, 2000- 2001.
Photographs courtesy of Dr. Donna Geertz, and Mary Forbes, 2000-2001, and Roy Carlson 1997.
Original web pages by Gwen L. Wild and Dr. Barbara J. Winter.
Adapted for AEM by Melissa Rollit, 2016.