The First Nations culture and heritage is very present in Vancouver and Victoria. Almost every where we went, we would be able to find totem poles. I think these structures are amazing and I’m always in awe of the work of these artists.
A few things I learned from our Victoria tour guide. (He was talking to us while he was driving! I have never had a tour guide who also drove the vehicle.)
- Some are story poles; usually the story of the village or a great person.
- Others are welcoming poles.
- The top of the welcoming pole is usually a Thunderbird or a human with detachable wings/arms.
- With arms, strangers are welcome to the village and will be greeted warmly.
- Without arms, no one but those belonging to the village may enter as there may be ceremonial practices happening or the village may be in mourning.