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What's with all of the totem poles in Washington?

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Charla Bear
/
KPLU
Replica of a Tsimshian pole in front of the Burke Museum. Carved by Bill Holm, Curator Emeritus of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the museum, after the originals were destroyed in a fire.

With all the totem poles in Washington State, it might surprise you to know the cedar monument isn’t from this region.

Though some local tribes now carve them, they didn’t originally.

In fact, the first one here was pilfered from another state.

Read More on I Wonder Why ... ?

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.