Tlingit mortuary and memorial totem poles


A conversation between Teresa DeWitt and Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank in front of a Mortuary Pole, Tlingit origin, 19th century, from Village Island, 16 x 2 ft. (Totem Heritage Center, Ketchikan, Alaska); and a Bear/Killer Whale Pole (memorial pole), Tlingit origin, 19th century, Village Island, 27 x 2 ft. (Totem Heritage Center, Ketchikan, Alaska)

Terms to know:

  • Tlingit
  • Totem pole
  • Tongass tribe
  • memorial vs. mortuary
  • Northwest Coastal peoples (Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian)
  • bentwood box
  • clan crest

Additional resources:

Cite this page as: Teresa DeWitt and Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, "Tlingit mortuary and memorial totem poles," in Smarthistory, October 31, 2021, accessed May 22, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/tlingit-mortuary-and-memorial-totem-poles/.