Stevan Harrell, Burke Museum and Anthropology

Contact stevehar@u.washington.edu 35-3010

Totem Poles: A Chinese Teaching Video

This is a class project that I am supervising for five anthropology
undergraduate students from Sichuan University in Chengdu, who are
spending the academic year at the UW: Wang Yuanyuan, Cao Linlin, Sun
Weiguo, Li Yiyuan, and Tang Jing. They have previously made a VCD of a
funeral in a tribal village in Sichuan, and now propose to make a similar
video for teaching, approximately 30 or 35 minutes, on the topic of totem
poles.

The topic of totem poles was chosen for three reasons:

a) they are visually striking and famous
b) there is nothing available in China or in Chinese on this important
anthropological and artistic phenomenon
c) the Burke Museum is mounting a year-long exhibit on totem poles,
complete with carvers carving in the museum.

There is as yet no set script for the video.  Topics that may be included
would be:

Totem poles in and around Seattle
Totem poles in the Burke Museum exhibit, 'Out of the Silence,' and in its
collections
The process of carving totem poles
The people, Indian and non-Indian, who carve poles, and why they do it.
Ceremonies locally or in Alaska that involve totem poles.

Right now, the students need more material on all these topics--both 
background
information and video footage-- before they begin the process of 
formulating
and editing the video.