Petersburg Pilot -

Totem craftsmen clean and preserve poles


Kyle Clayton / Petersburg Pilot

Tommy Joseph is in town to clean and preserve the totem poles he carved 14 years ago.

Tlingit carver and wood conservator Tommy Joseph and his son Joe Joseph are cleaning debris off and weather-guarding the pair of totem poles in town.

Tommy, who crafted the totems 14 years ago, and Joe are in Petersburg from Sitka. They’ve been strapped onto scaffolding and scrubbing off algae, moss and lichen that’s been accumulating on the 35-foot totem poles for nearly 14 years. Tommy credits his son for much of the work.

“Heights are really not my thing,” Tommy said. “I’ve never been on a five-story scaffolding before. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do yesterday that’s f...

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