The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has been carving totem poles for over 25 years. More than 35 totems grace their tribal campus in Blyn, seven miles east of Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. They are magnificent works of art providing a visual aesthetic for all who visit and drive by. They have become part of the signature for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe commemorating its history and legends while telling their story of the strong people, all while complementing the community.
The work of Master Carver Dale Faulstich
Master Carver Dale Faulstich began carving for the tribe 25 years ago beginning with the totem poles at the 7 Cedars Casino and adding to them around the campus over the years. As a dedicated student of Northwest artistic expression, he developed his craft, style, and own techniques. He’s always been dedicated to the integrity of the Northwest culture in his designs, using cedar, salmon, shellfish and more to capture the tribe’s culture and history in his art.
While he was working, several people began to apprentice with him—Bud Turner, Nathan Gilles, Dusty Humphries and Tim O’Connell. After Dale’s retirement, in 2016, this team has continued to carve majestic totems, which stand proudly around the tribal campus, including their most recent one in front of the newly opened 7 Cedars hotel.
Totems for two local communities
But they have also crafted and generously donated totem poles for two local communities. The first was a 30-foot totem pole carved from a 900-year-old cedar log. It was erected in 2015 on the Community Plaza in front of the downtown Civic Center. It tells the story of “Why the Sun Always Shines in Sequim.” LEARN MORE
The second was a totem pole erected in downtown Port Townsend in June 2019 in front of the Northwest Maritime Center. It pays homage to the community’s finely-crafted wooden boats and the artisans who build them, especially since the wooden boat building tradition began here long before the white settlers arrived. Each figure on the totem pole represents an element of history. LEARN MORE
Take a totem self-tour
When you’re next on the Olympic Peninsula, take some time for a self-guided walking tour of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s campus to see the impressive and beautiful totem poles honoring the strong people. Or check out the totem poles in Sequim at the Civic Center or downtown Port Townsend in front of the Northwest Maritime Center.
For further reading, see our blog, Olympic Peninsula Suggested Books, Volume 3 for information on the book “Totem Poles of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe”.