Totem Pole

Although original totems were carved out of huge tree trunks, in the Y-Guides & Princesses Program, simpler methods are used.

One parent should take responsibility for going to the lumber yard and purchasing a piece of 6" x 6" lumber long enough so that each family in your tribe will have a section. We recommend a soft wood, like pine or redwood, that's easy to work with. If the parent doesn‘t have an electric saw, he should have someone at the lumberyard cut the wood into uniform lengths. The next step is to drill a hole 1/2" deep and 3/4" to 1" in diameter in each end of each length. A 3" long dowel is then glued in the bottom hole so that the pieces can be stacked one on top of the other, with the dowels holding them in place.

Make a base as a stand for the totem. The tribe may decide later to make a top piece, such as an eagle with open wings. We suggest that tribes not try difficult carvings. It's best to keep the totem pole simple and complete it as quickly as possible. View a diagram.

It‘s not essential that each tribe use the same materials or follow the patterns described above. In some cases, tribes have have used nail kegs, lard cans, large (No 10) vegetable cans, and many other items for totem poles. Originality is important in constructing tribal property.

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