The purpose and meaning of a totem pole varies by culture. In some cultures, totem poles symbolize beliefs, while others serve decorative purposes.
The designs of some totem poles are created to memorialize important and noteworthy events. This was a way for tribes and people to keep records to share with future generations.
Totem poles were erected by Indians to symbolize unpleasant events, which were not spoken about freely. This included murder and violent quarrels.
In some cultures, totem poles depict pictures and writing of tales and legends shared for several generations. The poles were often carved from wood and painted with vibrant colors.