Totem Bight State Historical Park, Alaska (with Map & Photos)

Totem Bight State Historical Park is a 33-acre (13 ha) state park in the US state of Alaska. It is located north of Ketchikan.

Totem poles can be found standing alone and in groups along the Pacific coast of the United States, the coast of British Columbia, and as far south as Alaska. They are reminders of the American predecessors, but you can enjoy them better if you know what you are seeing. Totems are complex artifacts with history and characteristics.

Totem Bight State Historical Park
Totem Bight State Historical Park


The phrase "totem pole" comes from a "totem" or symbol, from a tribe of Native Americans to the northwest. The early missionaries believed that the poles were false deities or objects of worship and asked their followers to burn them. However, totems are not religious artifacts, but rather as tombstone markers or signs. They are built to tell stories through them and to honor those who have passed away.


Southwest Alaska has a high concentration of totem poles, but most are found in Sitka National Park, in the southeast salient of Alaska; the Saxman Native Village, located in Ketchikan, Alaska; and at the Totem Bight State Historical Park, also located in Ketchikan. You can also find authentic totems in museums like the Smithsonian or in artifact collections in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

Totem Bight State Historical Park Map