This totem pole, which took ten weeks to carve, can be regarded as the Native American counterpart of our family crests/coats of arms. Social status was very important to the Nuu-chah-nulth and the totem pole was a way of showing this status. The eagle, for example, is a Totem which carries high status.
There are two animals represented on the pole, which hold special significance for the Native American people of the West Coast. They feature in many legends and are honored in ceremonies. They are called Totems. The Eagle, common to Vancouver Island, symbolises strength and power. The whale has its nose to the ground with a blowhole in the middle (represented by an upturned face).