Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29th

Hard to believe the month is almost over. It did get to about 42 degrees today. On the close-up picture of the tree you can see that it is beginning to bud out. We saw this tree as we walked on the Ship Creek Trail this afternoon. There was quite a bit more melting on the trail but there is still plenty of snow on the ground. It still gets below freezing every night so all slush is refrozen. The railroad monument is on 1st Avenue near the Railroad Museum. The railroad is a celebrated and important part of Alaskan history.

On both sides of the train engine are totem poles. There are many totem poles throughout Alaska. They served as billboards or signposts to the Natives. Totem poles can be carved to illustrate a family's history, kinda like a family crest. They can also be carved to honor the death of a loved one. Some totem poles serve as historical recordings. A few totem poles are called shame poles. On shame poles a face will be carved upside down. This means someone has an unpaid debt. In 2007, a shame pole was erected in Cordova, Alaska to show local displeasure with the Exxon Company. The pole has an inverted and distorted face of the former CEO of Exxon on it. The courts had ruled that Exxon owed debts to the area for causing the oil spill in the Valdez area.

Typically, a totem pole will have an eagle or raven on it. They may also include beavers, foxes, bears, and frogs. They are made by traditional ways with hand tools, no machine manufacturing should be used to produce these historical artifacts.

1 comment:

  1. To make you feel a little better, I had a heavy frost on my windshield this morning (Tuesday). But it was about 60 by lunch time. I am so ready for spring. I have some people at work I would like to make an upside down totem pole of right now!!!
    Laura Best