Beginner's Guide

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Tlingit mortuary and memorial totem poles
Tlingit mortuary and memorial totem poles

Learn about two types of totem poles from the Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest Coast that memorialize individuals who have passed

Arctic clothing
Arctic clothing

In the Arctic, where temperatures are below freezing for most of the year, warm clothing is of great importance.

Proud Raven totem pole at Saxman Totem Park
Proud Raven totem pole at Saxman Totem Park

A totem pole records Tlingit claims to land in southeastern Alaska by acknowledging the first sighting of a white man, who happens to be based on the likeness of Abraham Lincoln.

Haida Totem Pole, from Old Kasaan
Haida Totem Pole, from Old Kasaan

A 19th-century totem pole from Old Kasaan village of the Haida helps us to understand the meaning and function of clan crests.

Clarissa Rizal, <em>Resilience Robe</em>
Clarissa Rizal, Resilience Robe

This prestigious garment follows a traditional design passed down through generations of Indigenous Alaskans.

Tsimshian shaman’s rattle
Tsimshian shaman’s rattle

This rattle was used in a healing ceremony by the Tsimshian

Ceremonial belt (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Ceremonial belt (Kwakwaka’wakw)

What does a Kwakwaka'wakw belt have to do with photographic manipulation?

North Wind Mask
North Wind Mask

The Yup’ik peoples, in one of the world’s coldest climates, made these ceremonial masks during the long winters.

Transformation masks
Transformation masks

Wearers can toggle between the faces of animals and mythical beings—all with the tug of a string.

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