New Totem
for the hotel

Tribal Carver, Nathan Gilles, talks about the process and story behind the latest totem.

 

Totem poles have long been used to share the rich history of the Jamestown S’Klallam people and tribes throughout the Northwest. To help us tell the next bright chapter of our story, the 7 Cedars Hotel, we’ve been working with tribal carver Nathan Gilles on our newest Totem: The Sea to Sky Totem. Inspired by the unique and beautiful setting of the tribal lands at the head of Sequim Bay and the animals that live there, this 42.5 ft. Totem has been carefully carved into a 400-year-old Western Red Cedar to honor the deep sense of place felt on the property.

At the base of the Totem is the Killer Whale, which represents life in the salt waters of the Salish Sea. In its mouth is an Octopus to represent the underwater ecology of the sea. As the Totem transitions to land, it honors the Wolf. The Wolf is an animal of great significance to the Jamestown S’Klallam people and honors the past ecology of the Olympic Penninsula in a time when Wolves inhabited the area in large numbers. The Sea to Sky Totem then honors the Black Bear, with a spawning Chum Salmon in its mouth. The Bear represents strength and wisdom and plays a critical role in the health of the local environment. The salmon is of tremendous significance to tribes throughout the Northwest, and the Jamestown S’Klallam are no exception. Salmon provides critical sustenance to peoples and animals of the Olympic Peninsula. The Salmon also honors the tribe’s commitment to environmental stewardship that includes the restoration of salmon habitat. The Mountain Goat and the Marmot represent the animals of the Olympic Mountains. The Mountain Goat’s wool and horns were highly sought after for clothing and objects of significance for the Jamestown S’Klallam people. The Totem also includes a set of wealth rings to symbolize the anticipated success of the 7 Cedars Hotel. Sitting atop the Sea to Sky Totem is the Thunderbird. Representing the Sky World, the Thunderbird and its spirit are said to inhabit specific peaks in the mountains. The Thunderbird taught the S’Klallam people how to whale and even provided weapons to the warriors of old.