Story Pole Symbols

What Do the Symbols of the Wolfle Story Pole Stand For?

symbol: eagle


The symbol of freedom for the United States of America, the Eagle represents the knowledge and strength of the Wolfle staff.

symbol: orca


(Kloom-a-chin) – the symbol of the Port Gamble/Little Boston S’Klallam people, the Kloomachin represents all of the children from the S’Klallam Community.

The Kloomachin (the Orca Whale or Killer Whale) was chosen for the Port Gamble S’Klallam symbol because of a story from one of the Tribal Elders. Charlie was the person who had the Orca Whale as a “Spirit” known as a Tamanous. The S’Klallam people at that time lived on the beach at Point Julia. Charlie often called the Orca to the shore so that he could ride on its back in the water. One day he called the Orca and went in the water. The Orca dove down, and Charlie’s wife did not see him come up for a long time and feared that this time he had drowned. She was crying at the edge of the water, and everyone went to see why she was crying. She explained that Charlie rode the whale and never came back. They were consoling her when Charlie came walking along the beach. There is no moral to this story; it is believed to be a true story of a S’Klallam Elder, and thus is why the Orca is the symbol of the community.

symbol: watchman


Wearing a tall Chief’s cedar hat, the Watchman will watch over every principal, teacher, staff, child, and all who pass through Wolfle School. It is facing North towards S’Klallam country, the Northern Lights, and the North wind, which usually brings good weather. The Watchman is holding the David H. Wolfle Logo: a welcome to everyone. Ed Charles says that the Watchman is Chief Jacob Jones. The rings in the hat represent how many potlatches the Chief had.

symbol: seal


(Held by watchman / Chief Jacob Jones) This seal contains the David H. Wolfle logo: welcome to everyone.

Little Brown Bird

(Between the Kloomachin tail fins) This was a secret addition to the pole added by the Master Carvers, and its identity or story was not revealed until the Installation Ceremony.

Legend of the Little Brown Bird and the Eagle

Sometimes, animals and birds asked the Changer to make them faster, larger, or better hunters. The Changer told them they had to “show” him by their thoughts and actions what they wanted to be. Some of them went away sad because they did not want to try to be what they wanted to be: they wanted the Changer to do it for them.

One day the Changer saw a small brown bird looking down at him shyly from the branch of a tree. “What do you wish to be, small one?” asked the Changer. “Oh, Changer,” smiled the brown bird, “I am not worthy of any greatness. My wings are small, and I cannot fight the wind for travel. My eyes are poor, and I cannot see far. But, I am content to be as I am, for you are the Great Spirit, and you would have me this way.”

The Changer was pleased and reached out his hand and took the brown bird. “Because you are humble and do not wish to be better than your brothers,” he said, “I will make you great. Only royal people, chiefs, and princesses will wear your feathers. You will become a national symbol. You will be honored by everyone as you soar long paths in the sky and watch over the earth with your sharp eyes. And your name shall be … Eagle.”

He threw the brown bird into the sky and watched him become the Eagle he was meant to be.