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We Decorate Our World - Totem Tales



We have begun our new unit exploring decorations from some First Nations' cultures and how these decorations tell us a story that helps us connect with one another.  Traditionally, totem poles are found in the Pacific Northwest and are used to commemorate an event, represent family lineage and/or history.  If you are interested in  learning more about totem poles, this link has great information.  http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/culture/totem-poles.html

Before we could begin learning about totem poles, I asked if the children knew what they were. Many have seen the totem poles situated at Stanley Park.  We looked at pictures and  discussed what the totem poles are made of and what they could mean. Most of the children felt the totems were decorations except for the ones that were not very colourful.

We read the story "Totem Tales" by Deb Vanasse.  It is an Alaskan story of how a totem pole comes to life and the figures have to reassemble in proper order before daybreak. For the totem figures to reassemble, they need to recall the story of how they are connected to one another. After the story, the children made their own totem either depicting the story or a totem representing their family.

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