Beavers featured on Native American totem poles symbolize determination, protection, overseeing and building. Totem poles feature animals and mythical creatures believed to have spiritual significance to families, tribes or clans.
Totem poles also feature family crests. The meaning of totem poles varies among tribes. Some totem poles recount legends, notable events or the lineage of the tribe. Some poles are used to celebrate cultural beliefs or are for artistic purposes. The order of symbols can also vary, with some cultures placing the most important at the bottom of the pole while others place the most important at the top. European explorers mistakenly thought totem poles were religious idols that were worshipped.