Friday, July 27, 2007

Stories to tell

General Administration Building and Chief William Shelton’s story pole, West Capitol Campus

The mid-century style GA Building (1956) is scheduled for demolition in 2010 to make way for a new Heritage Center that will house the Secretary of State, the State Archives, and visitor facilities. The painted story pole was begun by Chief Shelton of the Snohomish Tribe and finished by other tribal carvers after his death. It was dedicated in 1940. This is not, strictly speaking, a totem pole:

A totem pole symbolizes a family’s history through the depiction of certain animals and their cultural legends. A story pole, on the other hand, puts its emphasis on teaching children community responsibility and cultural attitudes through the depictions of these same animal characters. Story poles are most often carved from the interior pillars of ceremonial longhouses. Therefore, this free-standing pole provides a rare look at carvings typically seen only within sacred structures of the Snohomish and other Salish tribes. The story pole features 21 beautifully carved figures, each teaching a certain life lesson.

--General Administration Website

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