The maritime peoples of the Pacific Northwest travelled almost exclusively by water, and much of their lives were spent in their canoes. These wonderful craft evolved over centuries into a refined and functional form, and were carved in all sizes from small personal vessels to large and elaborately decorated ceremonial canoes. They were occasionally rafted together to transport large loads and at special events were even used for floating dance platforms.
The house and pole depicted was owned by Chief Wakas of Alert Bay, and was the most southerly in the line of houses that faced the beach. The pole was removed to Stanley Park in Vancouver where it stood for years, before it was restored and installed in the Canadian Museum of Civilization.