Master Tlingit carver Wayne Price making healing totem for AWARE

Even the wood chips in Wayne Price’s ongoing project have meaning.

The master Tlingit carver and University of Alaska Southeast faculty member is deep into the process of creating a healing totem pole for Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Juneau’s gender-inclusive shelter for survivors of gender-based violence. The finished totem will tell a story created by Price’s wife, Cherri, but the cedar chips carved off the main log are symbolic, too.

“This came about when I had a vision in a sweat lodge, which led to my own personal recovery,” Price told the Capital City Weekly after putting some painting on pause in his UAS workshop. “In that sweat, I was granted a vision and told I had to create a healing totem or dugout, and I asked, ‘How does it become a healing totem or dugout?’ I was told by my creator, that keeps me sober, that each chip that comes off this totem represents a life that’s been affected by domestic violence or sexual assault. Of all the chips that come off this totem, there won’t be enough. That helps to bring awareness through my art to a pretty serious situation.” Read more here.