Michio Hoshino Memorial Totem Pole, Sitka, Alaska

Anila Mitri in Albania and I had a Facebook conversation about totem poles.  I tried to explain that poles are not items of worship but are memorials to people, tell a story or a history.  I have been waiting for a fairly good day to get to Halibut Point State Recreation Area where a memorial pole to Japanese Wildlife photographer Michio Hoshino has been raised.

Michio Hoshino’s memorial totem pole sits across from Magic Island.  It honors Michio Hoshino, a Japanese photographer who was killed by a bear in Kamchatka, Russia.  Master carver Tommy Joseph carved the pole.  It was raised in 2008 on the anniversary of Hoshino’s death.  His widow was present.  The pole’s paint has weathered in the past 6 years.  At the bottom of the pole, the strong figure holding up the pole, is Hoshino holding a camera, as if we were looking into the lens.  Above him sits Raven, Hoshino was interested in the Raven legends.  Raven has a Japanese flag on his right wing and an Alaska flag on his left wing.  On top of Raven are the caribou and the whale, subjects of Hoshino’s best known wildlife photos.  On the top the rare glacier bear, a blue grey tinted bear that Hoshino sought to photograph for years.  Glacier bear is wearing a peace symbol.  This is a modern pole that honors a man who was well known in Alaska for his photographs that we all enjoyed.


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