Tuesday, 5 June 2012

BMO Master Card sucks

Yay BMO Mastercard....I can`t say that I am a world traveler by any stretch, but I am in the US often enough to be aware of what effect charges on credit cards can have on the bank numbers. I was off reading a thread on RV.Net and there was a comment about cc companies charging an out of country transaction fee, hidden in the exchange rate fees. The only way to determine the fact on that were to call...and thankfully...nope, BMO doesn`t do that.

Well well well...turns out I was given incorrect information. ALL Canadian credit card companies charge a 2.5 surcharge, including BMO Master card. All, that is, except Amazon.ca Visa. Also, it now appears that no one at BO Master Card gives a shit, plus there is no E mail contact information to be had. ...so, tomorrow Amazon.ca and I shall become one.

If you are interested in an Amazon Visa...www.amazon.ca/gp/help/customer/

 Maybe not SUCK big time, but still....it annoys me when charges are sort of hidden.
And to be clear, I will continue holding a MC for the reasons listed below, but when I am outside of Canada, it will be with an Amazon.ca Visa.

 okay..now that I seem to be on that topic...BMO Gold also has a pretty nice travel insurance plan. Good coverage on the expected, plus travel delay or cancellation, which for us is a huge deal. Way to often flights out of or into the north get chopped and if it is not the fault of the carrier, and oddly enough it never is, it`s big bux. Hotels, meals, sundries. Anyway...it`s only $99 a year and that covers the both of us if we are traveling at the same time and as long as a `portion of the trip`is a charged item, full coverage is applied. The other thing that is taken into consideration is the accumulation of Airmiles points. A point for every $15 charged and if one shops at businesses that support the Airmiles plan, then points are awarded at time of purchase. Case in point, Safeway Canada, is a member of the Airmiles program. Yes, one of the more expensive places to buy groceries, but there are mitigating factors. One of them is the points. If a person shops on the right days there are tickets that indicate a particular product has an increased value if more that one is purchased (usually five). If there are enough points involved, such as a total value of 50 points, a person can acquire enough points to catch a return flight, value of $600.00 for a purchase totaling $180.00. Here is one example...brick of ice cream selling for $5.00. Buy 3 for $15.00 and receive 50 points. Spend $180, get 600 points. Give away the ice cream. The only catch is you need to be using the BMO Gold, to get the best price on the Airmiles ticket purchase. You get 25% off on the points required.

A caveat..I hate credit cards. I think that they are a pox on families and people in general. I would much prefer paying cash for all my stuff. It is way to easy to rack up a bill that staggers the fingers when paying it. For me, it`s all about the points. Plus, I have to really be disciplined and pay off the total owing each month.

I mean...really? hahah..I laughed at this...and then felt kind of ill. Then Buddy walked on the computer as I was typing this.....

 I love totems......the mystery probably. There is a beauty is seeing them in a natural place as opposed to a museum or staged at a city centre or bridge or or or.......

About Totem poles....

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from large trees, mostly Western Red Cedar, by cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. The word totem is derived from the Ojibwe word odoodem, "his kinship group".



Since they are made of cedar, which decays eventually in the rainforest environment of the Northwest Coast, few examples of poles carved before 1900 exist. Noteworthy examples include those at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, BC, dating as far back as 1880. And, while 18th-century accounts of European explorers along the coast indicate that poles existed prior to 1800, they were smaller and few in number.
The freestanding poles seen by the first European explorers were likely preceded by a long history of monumental carving, particularly of interior house posts. The scholar Eddie Malin has proposed that totem poles progressed from house posts, funerary containers, and memorial markers into symbols of clan and family wealth and prestige. He argues that the Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands originated carving of the poles, and that the practice spread outward to the Tsimshian and Tlingit, and then down the coast to the tribes of British Columbia and northern Washington.[1] This is supported by the photographic history of the Northwest Coast and the deeper sophistication of Haida poles. The regional stylistic differences among poles can be attributed to application of existing regional artistic styles to a new medium. Early 20th-century theories, such as those of the anthropologist Marius Barbeau, who considered the poles a post-contact phenomenon enabled by the introduction of metal tools, were treated with skepticism at the time and have been discredited in light of the above evidence.[citation needed].

Totem poles in front of houses in Alert Bay, British Columbia in the 1900s
The disruptions following American and European trade and settlement first led to a flowering of totem pole carving and then to a decline in the Alaska Native cultures and their crafts. The widespread importation of iron and steel tools from Britain, the United States and China led to much more rapid and accurate production of carved wooden goods, including poles. Historians have not determined if iron tools were introduced by traders, or whether Alaska Natives produced iron tools from drift iron recovered from shipwrecks; the presence of trading vessels and exploration ships simplified the acquisition of iron tools, whose use greatly enhanced totem pole construction.
The Maritime Fur Trade gave rise to a tremendous accumulation of wealth among the coastal peoples, and much of this wealth was spent and distributed in lavish potlatches frequently associated with the construction and erection of totem poles. Poles were commissioned by many wealthy leaders to represent their social status and the importance of their families and clans. By the 19th century, certain Christian missionaries reviled the totem pole as an object of heathen worship; they urged converts to cease production and destroy existing poles.[2]
Due to United States and Canadian policies and practices of acculturation and assimilation, Alaska Natives sharply reduced their production of totem poles at the end of the 19th century . In the mid-20th century, a combination of cultural, linguistic, and artistic revival, along with intense scholarly scrutiny and the continuing fascination and support of an educated and empathetic public, led to a renewal and extension of this moribund artistic tradition. Freshly carved totem poles are being erected up and down the coast. Related artistic production is pouring forth in many new and traditional media, ranging from tourist trinkets to masterful works in wood, stone, blown and etched glass, and many other traditional and non-traditional media.
Today a number of successful native artists carve totem poles on commission, usually taking the opportunity to educate apprentices in the demanding art of traditional carving and its concomitant joinery. Such modern poles are almost always executed in traditional styles, although some artists have felt free to include modern subject matter or use nontraditional styles in their execution. The commission for a modern pole ranges in the tens of thousands of dollars; the time spent carving after initial designs are completed usually lasts about a year, so the commission essentially functions as the artist's primary means of income during the period. Totem poles take about 6–12 months to complete.

Meaning and purpose

From left to right, the One-Legged Fisherman pole, the Raven pole, and the Killer Whale pole in Wrangell, Alaska
The meanings of the designs on totem poles are as varied as the cultures that make them. Totem poles may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. Some poles celebrate cultural beliefs, but others are mostly artistic presentations. Certain types of totem poles are part of mortuary structures, and incorporate grave boxes with carved supporting poles, or recessed backs for grave boxes. Poles illustrate stories that commemorate historic persons, represent shamanic powers, or provide objects of public ridicule.
"Some of the figures on the poles constitute symbolic reminders of quarrels, murders, debts, and other unpleasant occurrences about which the Native Americans prefer to remain silent... The most widely known tales, like those of the exploits of Raven and of Kats who married the bear woman, are familiar to almost every native of the area. Carvings which symbolize these tales are sufficiently conventionalized to be readily recognizable even by persons whose lineage did not recount them as their own legendary history." (Reed 2003).
House front poles were meant to show the success of the families.
Totem poles were never objects of worship. Very early European explorers thought they were worshipped, but later explorers such as Jean-François de La Pérouse noted that totem poles were never treated reverently; they seemed only occasionally to generate allusions or illustrate stories, and were usually left to rot in place when people abandoned a village. The association with "idol worship" was an idea from local Christian missionaries of the nineteenth century, who considered their association with Shamanism as an occult practice.
The vertical order of images is widely believed to be a significant representation of importance. This idea is so pervasive that it has entered into common parlance with the phrase "low man on the totem pole." This phrase is indicative of the most common belief of ordering importance, that the higher figures on the pole are more important or prestigious. A counterargument frequently heard is that figures are arranged in a "reverse hierarchy" style, with the most important representations being on the bottom, and the least important being on top. There have never been any restrictions on vertical order[citation needed]; many poles have significant figures on the top, others on the bottom, and some in the middle. Other poles have no vertical arrangement at all, consisting of a lone figure atop an undecorated column.

Shame poles

Poles used for public ridicule are usually called "shame poles", and were created to shame individuals or groups for unpaid debts.[3] They are often placed in prominent locations.[4] Shame poles are rarely discussed today, and their meanings have been forgotten in many places. They formed an important subset of poles carved throughout the 19th century.
One famous shame pole is the Seward Pole in Saxman, Alaska. It was apparently created to shame the former U.S. Secretary of State for not repaying a potlatch to the Tlingit people. The intent of the shame pole was indicated by the figure's nose and ears being painted red, to indicate his stinginess. It is a common misconception that the Lincoln pole, also located in Saxman, is a shame pole, but it was erected to commemorate the U.S Revenue Cutter Lincoln in its role in helping two rival Tlingit clans establish peace.

The Kiks.ádi, or Three Frogs Pole, in Wrangell, Alaska
Another example of the shame pole is the Three Frogs Pole in Wrangell, Alaska. This pole was erected by Chief Shakes to shame the Kiks.ádi clan into repaying a debt incurred by three of their slaves, who impregnated some young women in Shakes's clan. When the Kiks.ádi leaders refused to pay support for the illegitimate children, Shakes had the pole commissioned to represent the three slaves as frogs, the frog being the primary crest of the Kiks.ádi clan. The debt was never repaid, and the pole still stands next to the Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell. This pole's unique crossbar shape has become popularly associated with the town of Wrangell. Not understanding the meaning of the pole, European Americans used its crossbar shape as part of the title design of the Wrangell Sentinel newspaper, which continues to use the design.
In 1942 the government commissioned a pole to commemorate Alexander Baranof, the Russian governor and Russian American Company manager, as a works project. Designed by George Benson, it stands in Totem Square, in downtown Sitka.[5] The pole was carved by CCC workers in Wrangell in 1942, who competed with those of Sitka.[6] They depicted Baranov as naked.[7] Due to safety concerns, after a Sitka Tribe of Alaska-sponsored removal ceremony, the pole was lowered on October 20, 2010 with funds from the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services. The Sitka Sentinel reported that while standing, it was "said to be the most photographed totem [pole] in Alaska".[5]
A shame pole was erected in Cordova, on March 24, 2007. It includes the inverted and distorted face of Exxon ex-CEO Lee Raymond, representing the unpaid debt that courts determined Exxon owes for having caused the oil spill in Valdez.[8][9]

Totem poles outside of original context

When poles are removed from their original context their meaning changes. Poles used in the CCC-created totem parks of Southeast Alaska were removed from their original places as funerary and crest poles to be copied or repaired and then placed in parks based on English and French garden designs to demystify their meaning for tourists.[10]
Poles from the Northwest have sometimes been exported to be displayed out of their original context. In Britain, at the side of Virginia Water Lake, in the south of Windsor Great Park there is a 100-foot (30 m) high Canadian totem pole given to Queen Elizabeth II, commemorating the centenary of British Columbia. In Seattle, Washington, a Tlingit funerary totem pole was raised in Pioneer Square after being taken from an Alaska village.[11]

Construction and maintenance

Erection of a totem pole is almost never done using modern methods, even for poles installed in modern settings on the outside of public and private buildings. Instead, the traditional ceremony and process of erection is still followed scrupulously by most artists, in that a great wooden scaffold is built, and hundreds of strong men haul the pole upright into its footing, while others steady the pole from side ropes and brace it with cross beams. Once the pole is completed, a potlatch is typically held where the carver is formally paid and other traditional activities are conducted. The carver will usually, once the pole is freestanding, perform a celebratory and propitiatory dance next to the pole while wielding the tools used to carve it. Also, the base of the pole is burnt before erection to provide a sort of rot resistance.

Dancing at a pole-raising celebration in Klawock, Alaska
Totem poles are typically not well maintained after their erection. Traditionally once the wood rots so badly that it begins to lean and pose a threat to passersby, the pole is either destroyed or pushed over and removed. Older poles typically fall over during the winter storms that batter the coast. A totem pole rarely lasts over 100 years. A collapsed pole may be replaced by a new one carved more or less the same as the original, with the same subject matter, but this requires a new payment and potlatch and is thus not always done. The beliefs behind the lack of maintenance vary among individuals, but generally it is believed that the deterioration of the pole is representative of natural processes of decay and death that occur with all living things, and attempts to prevent this are seen as somehow denying or ignoring the nature of the world.
This has not, however, prevented many people from occasionally renewing the paint on poles or performing further restorations, mostly because the expense of a new pole is beyond feasibility for the owner. Also, owners of poles who are not familiar with cultural traditions may see upkeep as a necessary investment for property, and ignore the philosophical implications.


Each culture typically has complex rules and customs regarding designs represented on poles. The designs are generally considered the property of a particular clan or family group, and this ownership may not be transferred to the owner of a pole. As such, pictures, paintings, and other copies of the designs are often seen as an infringement of possessory rights of a certain family or cultural group. Many Native artists, Native organizations and Native governments note that the ownership of the artistic designs represented on a pole should be respected as private property to the same extent that the pole is property. They ask that public display and sale of pictures and other representations of totem pole designs should be cleared with both the owners of the pole and the cultural group or tribal government associated with the designs on the pole.
Totem poles in general are not the exclusive cultural property of a single culture, so the designs are not easily protected. The appropriation by art and tourist trinket worlds of Northwest Coast American culture has resulted in production of cheap imitations of totem poles, executed with little or no knowledge of the complex stylistic conventions demanded by Northwest Coast art. These include imitation styles made by other First Nations and Native American peoples in the various parts of Canada and the American Southwest. This proliferation of "totem junk" has diluted the public interest and respect for the artistic skill and deep cultural knowledge required to produce a pole.
In the early 1990s, the Haisla First Nation of the Pacific Northwest began a lengthy struggle to repatriate a sacred totem from Sweden's Museum of Ethnography.[12][13] Their successful efforts were documented in a NFB documentary by Gil Cardinal, Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole.

Totem poles of note

The world's tallest totem pole, near Alert Bay
The title of "The World's Largest Totem Pole" is or has been claimed by several towns along the coast:
There are disputes over which is genuinely the tallest, depending on constraints such as construction from a single log or the affiliation of the carver. Competition for making the tallest pole is still prevalent, although it is becoming more difficult to procure trees of such heights.
The thickest totem pole ever carved to date is in Duncan, British Columbia, carved by Richard Hunt in 1988, and measures over 6 ft (1.8 m) in diameter. It is carved in the Kwakwaka'wakw style, and represents Cedar Man transforming into his human form.
Standing a total of 173 feet (53 m) tall, the world's tallest totem pole is composed of two pieces of 168 and 5 feet (51 and 1.5 m). This one is in Alert Bay, British Columbia.

Similar structures

Poles similar to totem poles are also found elsewhere in the world. Due to their similarities to totem poles, they are often described as being totem poles.[citation needed] Notable cultures with such example of having a totem pole-like objects are those by indigenous people of Jilin, northeast China; the Koreans; the Ainu, indigenous people of north Japan; and the Māori, indigenous people of New Zealand.
Mundha is a one-piece decorative wooden pillar carved by a Madia Gond bridegroom in India after he is engaged. It is kept in front of the community dormitory (ghotul) during his marriage ceremony. The Madia Gond are residents of Bhamragad Taluka, of Gadchiroli District, of Maharashtra, India.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Malin, Edward (1986). Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-295-1.
  2. ^ Pat Kramer, Totem Poles p.22
  3. ^ Keithahn, Edward (1963). Monuments in Cedar. Superior Pub. Co.. pp. 56.
  4. ^ Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka, AK. Accessed 23 August 2011
  5. ^ a b Haugland, Shannon (21 September 2010), "Totem Square, Pole to get Safety Upgrades", Sitka Sentinel. (subscription required)
  6. ^ ""Going Down" photo caption", Sitka Sentinel, 20 October 2010. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Sutton, Anne (8 June 2008), "Top man on totem pole could get his clothes back", Anchorage Daily News, retrieved 8 December 2009
  8. ^ "Shame Pole Mocking Exxon is Planted in Cordova", Anchorage Daily News, 25 March 2007
  9. ^ Rothberg, Peter (27 March 2007), "Exxon's Shame", The Nation, retrieved 8 December 2009
  10. ^ Emily, Moore (31 March 2012). Decoding Totems in the New Deal (Speech). Wooshteen Kanaxtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu / Sharing Our Knowledge, A conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans: Haa eetí ḵáa yís / For Those Who Come After Us. Sitka, Alaska. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  11. ^ Graves, Jen (10 January 2012). "A Totem Pole Made of Christmas Lights: bringing superwrongness to life" (in English). The Stranger (Seattle, United States). Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Back in pole position", Vancouver Sun, 27 April 2006, retrieved 4 May 2010
  13. ^ "G'psgolox Totem returnS To British Columbia" (Press release). The Na Na Kila Insititute. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  14. ^ http://trti.mah.nic.in/static_pages/frm_HandiWood.htm#Columns_erected_during_marriage_ceremonies_and%20_memory_of_the_dead


  • Barbeau, Marius (1950) Totem Poles. 2 vols. (Anthropology Series 30, National Museum of Canada Bulletin 119.) Ottawa: National Museum of Canada.
  • Garfield, Viola E., and Forrest, Linn A. (1961) The Wolf and the Raven: Totem Poles of Southeastern Alaska. Revised edition. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-73998-3.
  • Reed, Ishmael (ed.) (2003) From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry across the Americas, 1900-2002. ISBN 1-56025-458-0.

Further reading

  • Averill, Lloyd J., and Daphne K. Morris (1995) Northwest Coast Native and Native-Style Art: A Guidebook for Western Washington. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Brindze, Ruth (1951) The Story of the Totem Pole. New York: Vanguard Press.
  • Garfield, Viola E. (1951) Meet the Totem. Sitka, Alaska: Sitka Printing Company.
  • Halpin, Marjorie M. (1981) Totem Poles: an illustrated guide. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Hassett, Dawn, and F. W. M. Drew (1982) Totem Poles of Prince Rupert. Prince Rupert, BC: Museum of Northern British Columbia.
  • Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane (1990) Totem Pole. New York: Holiday House.
  • Huteson, Pamela Rae. (2002) Legends in Wood, Stories of the Totems. Tigard, Or: Greatland Classic Sales. ISBN 1-886462-51-8
  • Keithahn, Edward L. (1945) Monuments in Cedar. Ketchikan, Alaska: Roy Anderson.
  • Macnair, Peter L., Alan L. Hoover, and Kevin Neary (1984) The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre.
  • Meuli, Jonathan (2001) Shadow House: Interpretations of Northwest Coast Art. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.
  • Smyly, John, and Carolyn Smyly (1973) Those Born at Koona: The Totem Poles of the Haida Village Skedans, Queen Charlotte Islands. Saanichton, BC: Hancock House.
  • Stewart, Hilary (1979) Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre.
  • Stewart, Hilary (1993). Looking at Totem Poles. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97259-9.
  • Wherry, Joseph H. (1964) The Totem Pole Indians. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.

External links

I really enjoy looking at totems. The north has many First Nations villages and most, if not all, have totems. Some are easily seen and other less so.




No comments:

Post a Comment