The southeast coast of Alaska Indians, the Tlingit and Haida Groups, enjoyed a rich tradition of stories and myths passed down orally from one generation to the next which helped to create and develop totem poles. Totem poles were carved and erected for different purposes or occasions. None of them involved worship in any sense. Some were memorial poles erected to honor important individuals upon their deaths or to commemorate a particular event. Whatever the type of pole, the dramatic carving on the column served to remind the native viewers of events, people, and legends from their collective history. With no written language, this was a significant contribution to the continuation of the culture. Totem poles are "story poles" only in the sense that the figures carved on them acted as symbols or memory aids to remind the story teller of the principal characters and events he was relating. After seeing several totem poles on one of my first trips to the northwest, I thought it would be a novelty to have one at home in Williams Township. The only way I could do that was to make one. In 1971 I did just that. Carved from an oak tree, after some time it showed signs of deterioration so I decided to replace it with two new ones. This time I made them with some more lasting material - concrete. That's what you are looking at now.
J. Rankin, 1998