Totem pole myths and legends

Totem pole myths and legends contain many references to supernatural creatures and mythical beings with super powers.

Realms of existence between water, earth, sky realms include the land of beyond. Spiritual beings were believed to have the ability to interconnect with humans, birds, animals and other creatures.  The spiritual beings were thought to have the ability to pass among the three realms.

Otherworldly and Mythological Totem Creatures


  • The Dzunkwa or Tsnoqua cannibal woman is a forest realm dweller who is a bit like a boogey-man character that terrifies children, smells terrible and can't ever be killed.
  • Shark or Dogfish are featured prominently in shark clans such as the Tlingit tribe. Characterizations of the Dogfish, a small shark, also appears as an important family totem crest among Pacific Northwest Coast cultures. Native American Shark Mythology
  • Person of the Glacier is a creation of the Lingít people (People of the Tides). The rest of us know them as Tlingit, indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America.
  • The Raven/Sisiutl, or Two-Headed Whale/Sea Serpent occupies the Water realm. This mythical beast can turn people to stone with a single glance. The Siskiutl protects the under water realm by sinking attacking war vessels. The enemy of the Siskiutl is the Thunderbird (ruler of the Sky realm).
  • One-Horned Goat is a tale about Raven Boy who rescues an injured goat.  His village gets punished for harming the goat population through over-hunting.   The goats disguised themselves as humans then kidnapped all the children of the village.
  • Fog Woman introduced Raven and his slaves to salmon fishing. Eventually Raven got greedy and hurt Fog Woman who then returned to the ocean taking all the salmon with her. The folk tale Legend of the Fog Woman combines explanations about the comings and goings of fog and ties it together with yearly salmon migration.
  • Wild Woman of the Woods is another name for the Tsonokwa or Dzunuk'wa. She also is referred to as a Giant or Giantess. She is usually featured with wild, unkempt hair, protruding lips, wide eyes, facial hair, and sunken cheeks
  • Konakade or Dirty Skin Man lived in a cabin by a lake to find peace of mind,  He discovered a sea monster living in the lake so he used stone axes to cut a tree down and make a trap to kill the monster.  He is depicted splitting a sea monster in half so he could crawl into its skin.  This was so he could convince the tribe that he had mythical powers.