Totem poles are carved with crest figures that relate family history, glorify the living, or commemorate the dead. This section of a totem shows a grizzly bear holding his human wife while she shelters a small cub, symbolizing the protection of members of the clan. In the Bear Mother Legend, a chief’s daughter was abducted by a mythological grizzly bear who assumed a human form. She gave birth to twin cubs, which became human, and they are the ancestors of all clans belonging to the Bear totem lineage.
3x50@50: IMJ Collection Highlights, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015