The Tsimshian are native to parts of Alaska and western Canada. Like other Native American groups in those areas, they’re known for their wood carving skills. For hundreds of years, Tsimshian carvers have used red cedar trees to make canoes, masks, and more.
Many Tsimshian carvers are especially proud of their totem poles, which they call pts’aan (puh-SAN). These tall columns have carvings of animals and other figures. They are created to tell stories, record events, or honor people or families.
“They have an important place in our culture,” explains Clifton.