New Seattle totem honors native woodcarver

Volunteers carry totem

Paced by drums, volunteers carried the 34-foot-long totem more than a mile.

On Sunday, the first totem raised in Seattle in 100 years was installed near the Space Needle. A beautiful tribute to John T. Williams, a native wood carver shot by a Seattle policeman in 2010, the event drew hundreds of supporters.

The totem, which weighed 3,500 pounds, was carried by more than 90 people from the Puget Sound pier where it was carved to Seattle Center about a mile-and-a-half uphill.

First Nations people from across the Northwest turned out for the totem dedication. Hoisting the totem into position was done with poles and ropes—an amazing and hair-raising thing to watch.

mother and daughter in native garb

A mother and daughter in traditional button blankets and cedar-bark hats at the totem raising.