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Salmon Legends Totem + Beaver Legends Totem

David Boxley

Beaver Lake Park

Carved and painted figures tell stories in the Ts'msyan (Tsimshian) tradition.

David Boxley. Salmon Legends Totem, 1992. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

Before the Ts'msyan people of Alaska and British Columbia had a written language, they used totem poles to help pass stories from one generation to the next. Ts'msyan master carver David Boxley used cedar logs to create this pair of totems for the glen at Beaver Lake Park in Sammamish, WA. Boxley developed both totems during an artist residency that provided thousands of people with an opportunity to learn about Ts'msyan culture.

Painted carvings on Boxley’s 30-foot Beaver Legends Totem tell two stories from two Beaver legends: the top three figures recount The Beaver and The Bear, a tale about a young Beaver woman who uses wisdom to outwit a hungry bear. The lower figures depict The Hunter’s Wife Who Became A Beaver, which is about a woman who goes swimming after a fight with her husband and, not wanting to return to him, slowly dams the river to form a lake while transforming into a beaver.
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David Boxley. Salmon Legends Totem, 1992. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
David Boxley. Beaver Legends Totem, 1992. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
David Boxley. Beaver Legends Totem, 1992. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

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Beaver Lake Park


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