The Northwest Coast
The societies of the Northwest coast of North America developed in relative isolation between the Coastal Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Living in small communities on islands and in fjords, they utilised the huge cedar forests to construct the elaborate heraldic structures now known collectively as totem poles.
The enthusiasm for carving stretched far beyond the poles, to encompass all areas of life on the coast and their ornate canoes could travel across hundreds of miles of ocean in search of fish, whales, trade or war. Control of the sea allowed chieftains to amass considerable wealth which they distributed to followers at elaborate feasts known as potlatches.
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