Totem Poles (Dodems)


See a detailed video of a Totem Pole on YouTube.

These poles were hand carved by Tom Paquin, and painted by his wife Sally Paquin. Three Pines Studio can have a specially designed pole carved for you.  Tom is a member of the Sault Ste Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians.  DCR #5210


A totem pole is carved to represent the dodems (totems) of the clan system of the Ojibwa-Odawa tribes.  A dodem is read from the bottom.


The first figure is Ah-ji-jawk, the Crane.  The Crane shared leadership abilities with the Loon to provide a balanced government.  The Crane planted the first fish at Ba-wa-ting (the rapids at Sault Ste Marie) to feed the people.  He has an old feather design on his breast.


Above the Crane is Pizhew, the Lynx.  The Lynx clan is one of the many who divided from their original clan.  He was the traditional enemy of Nanabozho, the trickster.  He is decorated with old designs representing pinecones on his fore legs and rabbits foot on his temples.


Next is Gee-goon, the fish.  The clan is the water clan.  They were the intellectuals, always in pursuit of meditation and phillosophy.  They settled disputes between the leader clans if a deciding vote was needed.  He has the old design for crab claws on his temples.


At the top is Mi-gi-zi, the Eagle, head of the bird clan, known for their intuition.  He carries messages to the Creator, watching over the people to see they keep the proper traditions.


We can special order a pole especially made for you and your family with animals that reflect special meanings for you.  A list of animals and their meanings is available. Possible totem animals include Crane, Hawk, Seagull, White-headed eagle, Brant, Black-headed eagle, loon, Sparrow hawk, Bear, Wolf, Lynx, Caribou, Beaver, Marten, Deer, Muskrat, Whitefish, Pike, Cat-fish, Sturgeon, Sucker, Turtle, Rattle snake, Frog, Black snake, Otter.  Call or E-mail for more information.


Last modified March 13, 2011

If you have any comments or questions or wish to be placed on our mailing list please email Three Pines Studio.