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3/13/2019
Chief Kyan Totem pole moved for cleaning and maintenance
Photo by Stacey Williams/Ketchikan Museums


KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Chief Kyan Totem Pole was removed from Whale Park on Monday for cleaning and maintenance.

The move was completed by Marvin Hills’ Wildcatters LLC and Ketchikan Museums staff. Ketchikan Museums anticipates that the pole will be returned by May.

The original Chief Kyan totem pole was carved in Ketchikan in the early part of the 20th century, according to Ketchikan Museums information. The pole stood in Barney Way near the present site of the Tongass Historical Museum until the late 1920s, when it was moved to the Pioneer Hall.

“The original pole belonged to Tongass Tlingit Chief Yaansein, who also was known as George Kyan and whose Brown Bear crest can be seen on the Chief Kyan pole, according to Ketchikan Museums. Chief Kyan was a member of the Tantakwaan.

The figures on the pole represent the Crane, the Thunderbird and the Brown Bear.

In 1964, the aged pole was removed, and Tsimshian carver Stan Marsden used photographs of the original in carving the reproduction of the 26-foot pole in 1966 as a statehood centennial project, according to Ketchikan Museums.

The pole was raised at the top of Main Street. In 1986, Israel Shotridge repaired the pole, and, in 1997, it was moved to the Totem Heritage Center for preservation.

The City of Ketchikan commissioned the third version of the Chief Kyan pole, according to Ketchikan Museums. The pole was carved by Tlingit Carver Israel Shotridge in 1992 with the assistance of apprentice Edwin DeWitt.

The rededication and pole raising occurred on July 3, 1993.