28 November 2011 | Sitka, AK
This totem pole, along with many others, commemorates native Tlingit and Haida cultures at the Sitka National Historic Park. The forest touches the beach at Sitka Sound, and trails take you wandering through to enjoy the natural beauty and native monuments.
Centuries ago, the Tlingit had located a fort on this site, which was attacked by the Russians in 1804. The fort, made of local spruce, was so strong that it withstood heavy bombardment from Russian ships. A bloody battle happened ashore, and the Tlingit repulsed the Russians under the leadership of War Chief K'alyaan, who fought hand to hand wielding a blacksmith's hammer. The Tlingit were never defeated in battle, but abandoned the fort after the siege wore on and their gunpowder ran low. You can see K'alyaan's Raven war helmet preserved at a local museum, and imagine his fierce defense of this beautiful homeland.