Grand Hall tour

The Howkan Pole

This pole comes from the Kaigani Haida village of Howkan in Alaska. About 200 years ago, several Haida communities moved from the Queen Charlotte Islands to southern Alaska.

The pole depicts the story of the great flood. At the top is White Raven. Below are a series of skils (potlatch rings forming a hat) with four humans clinging to the sides. The skils are on the head of Qingi, the supernatural father of White Raven, who was raising a totem pole when a great flood struck the world. As the water rose, his guests and relatives scrambled up the pole to save themselves from drowning. White Raven alighted on top of the pole, causing it to grow into a gigantic tree filled with the survivors of the flood. Below Qingi's tongue is Sculpin, and at the base of the pole is Qingi holding a human upside down.