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The Haida meaning The People once were numbered at over 10000 Theyoccupied the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Colombia Their numbers were numerousand their life was prosperous In 1774 there was the first European contact Gunn andthe Haida unknowingly let the lion out of its cage they let white man enter theirterritory The Europeans brought trade but they also brought colonization A word theIndians did not know would cause them such horror Smallpox and many other epidemics ravaged the Haida clan and decimated their population to 6500 Gunn The Haida hasgotten to as low as 588 clan members Gunn but are now slowly working their way up The Haida along with six other tribes that make up the Northwest Coast Pacific culturalunit are known as the Totem Pole Carving People GunnTotem poles are what we would refer to as monumental art This definition givesno justice for the amazing beauty spirituality significance and importance of the totempole to the Haida There were different reasons for designing and erecting totem polesThe main types of poles were house posts house frontal poles memorial poles mortuarypoles grave markers and welcome figures The house posts supported the main beams ofa house The house frontal poles were in the front of the house usually part of the openingto the house The memorial poles were there in honor of a person who had died and wereusually erected by the successor of his name Halpin The mortuary poles contained theremains of the dead which were usually in grave boxes incorporated into the pole Gravemarkers were carvings placed where people were buried and usually represented theperson in some way by family crest or by telling a story And the welcome figures werepoles placed on the beach welcoming arriving guests that would come by canoe You canimagine what the village looked like with all of these large artistic poles everywhere TheEuropeans referred to them as grotesque Keithahn when they first encountered themNow that people
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