The tall slender pole stands down the hill from the longhouse site and has been without a name for many years as its oral traditions faded. Longtime lodge member Tom Bingaman stepped forward and identified the pole as belonging to the Tillikum Chuck chapter. Tillikum Chuck means Water People. This chapter broke away from the Hyas Eena Chapter and served the Renton, Maple Valley and Tahoma School districts in the 1970s'. Later it was reabsorbed into the Hyas Eena Chapter and the history of the pole began to fade.
The Figures on the pole are:
At one point we thought the first pole may be the Ashuk T'Salil pole, however we found a written description of Ashuck Tsalil's pole and it did not match. The Tillikum Chuck pole is toped by an eagle holding two salmon in its talons. The great bird is catching the salmon from the bounty of the Cedar River, also the name of the district that Tillikum Chuck served. The Eagle is feeding the salmon to Frog, who represents man to some Pacific Northwest 1st peoples groups. The bottom figure is that of Beaver, the symbol of Hyas Eena, from which Tillikum Chuck split.
A Chapter totem pole that is in good condition and still stands at the longhouse site remained unidentified until 2009. Several people had inklings of the origin of the pole but none were very confident of their information. Using the Lodge website, T'Kope Kwiskwis put a general call out there for T'Kope alumni to step forward and help provide some of the missing history of the Lodge, the Longhouse and its totem poles. Several totem poles were unidentified, that is until last weekend when former Lodge Chief Rod Field identified one of the poles.
Man Holding Copper
The beautiful pole is crowned by an Orca over a man holding a copper. The bottom crest is a beaver. Mr. Field said the pole was raised during his tenure as Chapter Chief of the Kwahnice Chapter in 1972-73. Kwahnice was later merged into Teenas Chakchak, which serves the West Seattle, Burien and Des Moines areas.