Nathan Jackson

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Named locations: Anchorage, Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, British Columbia, Seattle, Washington DC

Major themes covered:  The meaning of totem poles in southeastern Alaskan cultures; contemporary native art and its relationship to traditional native art and practices

Individuals Named: Bill Holm (artist and scholar of northwestern Indian art), Bill Reid (Haida artist), Robert Davidson Jr. (Haida, Tlingit artist) 
an interview that took place shortly after Jackson's work first appeared in the Smithsonian, probably part of the 1976 American Folklife Festival videotape project.

Nathan Jackson (b. 1938) is a member of the Sockeye clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe in southeastern Alaska. Jackson began carving miniature totem poles after an illness prevented him from doing his work as a commercial fisherman. He eventually attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he worked on his craft. His work can be found in museums all over the US, including the Smithsonian, the Peabody Museum at Harvard, and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Nathan Jackson continues to work as a carver and his son, Stephen Jackson is also a carver. His work is also housed in the collection at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. (Retrieved from:

On Totem Poles:  Originally an important part of the Potlatch ceremony, a feast with deep meaning to coastal First Nations, Totem Poles were once carved and raised to represent a family-clan, its kinship system, its dignity, its accomplishments, it prestige, its adventures, its stories, its rights and prerogatives. A Totem Pole served, in essence, as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry. (Retrieved from:

Other Useful Links:

See also in AIFG: The Totem Pole,  dir. S.A. Barrett,

Timber and Totem Poles,

--Emily Thomas, 2013