Totem Poles were a tradition of the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Built from Oregon to Alaska, the Totem Pole is a visual representation of various tribal legends or important occurrences.
While not worshipped, Totem Poles were often revered as symbols of wealth and common heritage. Yet some Totem Poles acted as warnings, rather than testaments. "Shame Poles" could be constructed to remind a tribe of a particular debt or offense. One particularly controversial pole, now found in the Alaska State Museum, bears the image of President Abraham Lincoln. Some claim that the "Lincoln Pole" was built to honor the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, while many believe that it was built to mourn the wealth lost by the Tlingit tribe when forced to free their slaves.