Large Bear Mother Argillite Totem Pole

$19,900.00 CAD

This large Bear Mother Argillite Totem Pole by the Haida carver Henry White measures 24 inches including the base, up to 9 1/2 inches wide and 13 inches deep. The pole is signed and dated by the artist.

The pole illustrates the story of Bear Mother and also incorporates crests and legends from Henry White's Yahgu’laanaas of Daadans Raven Clan. Two bear cubs sit beneath Bear Mother and her long, protruding tongue at the bottom. Above her is another bear flanked on either side by beaver copper plaques. Frog sits beneath Volcano Woman crying tears of lava above. A human holding or eating a salmon sits above Volcano Woman. Dogfish or Dogfish Woman with a small human face at the front crowns the work with a sleek caudal fin and a three-potlatch-ringed cedar hat. Dogfish is an important crest and mythic being among the Haida.  

The Bear Mother story is a legend shared by many people on the Northwest Coast, most notably the Haida, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, and Coast Tsimshian. It tells the story of a woman who disrespected the bears when she was out berry picking, who was subsequently kidnapped and forced to marry the son of a bear chief. She gives birth to twin bear cubs who inherit a mix of human and bear features. The story emphasizes the importance of honouring and respecting animals, and deals with the subject of transformation and travel between the human and non-human world. -- The Bill Reid Centre, Simon Fraser University

Find more information about and examples of The Bear Northwest Coast First Nations symbol.

This piece was completed in 1990 and is one of Henry White's largest works in argillite. As argillite has to be hand-cut and backpacked down a mountain from the Slatechuck quarry on Haida Gwaii, this pole standing at 24 inches is one of the most monumental model argillite poles that Henry White carved. The pole is in very good condition.

Unless otherwise indicated above, the price for this item includes shipping to Canada and the continental USA. Please email us at for a quote to have the item shipped outside continental North America.

About Argillite

Argillite is a dense, black, carbonaceous shale known as kwawhlahl in the Haida language. It is found exclusively at a creek on Slatechuck Mountain (Tllgaduu randlaay) on Graham Island, the largest island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago.


Once the stone is cut from the hillside, it must be backpacked down the mountain on foot before it is carved. Argillite carvings have been prized around the world since the 1800s when the Haida began selling pieces to sailors. Today, Haida carvers continue the tradition.

For those who wish to know more about this beautiful and unique sculptural tradition, Carol Sheehan's book 'Breathing Stone' is an excellent resource on contemporary Haida argillite carving and is available in the gallery.

Please note, argillite is a fragile stone. Avoid knocking argillite against hard or sharp surfaces as it can scratch or chip. If handled with care, argillite pieces will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Shipping Information

We ship internationally!

Free shipping to the USA and Canada.

The Shipping times mentioned below are estimates for orders that we have in our inventory and are not guaranteed . Shipping to the USA or other international locations may be delayed due to national customs organizations, especially now due to the COVID-19 impact. These delays are not included in the shipping estimates mentioned and are out of our control.

If you have a specific shipping / delivery deadline, please call or email us, to make sure we have the item that you would like to order in stock.

Custom orders or orders for items that we don’t have in our inventory, or don’t have the exact size in stock, will take longer. It usually takes 2 – 4 weeks depending on the individual item and artist, to have individual items carved. Custom orders may take somewhat longer.

International Shipping - items may be subject to customs processing depending on the item's declared value.

Sellers set the item's declared value and must comply with customs declaration laws.

As the buyer, you should be aware of possible:

- delays from customs inspection.

- import duties and taxes which buyers must pay.

- brokerage fees payable at the point of delivery.

Your country's customs office can offer more details.

Regular Shipping:

We usually use Canada Post services without tracking information for our regular shipping option. The delivery standards for surface/air shipping are usually 2 - 9 business days (Canada), 5 - 12 business days (USA), 6 - 35 business days (Europe) and 6-35 business days to the other continents. If your shipping address is remote, delivery times may increase. These delivery standards are estimates and are not guaranteed.

Canada Post International Parcel Surface or Priority Worldwide Express Shipments:

If you would like to find a faster priority / express shipping service, than the ones mentioned in the shopping cart, or if shipping times are less important than the cost, please contact us for a custom shipping quote. Delivery dates mentioned below are approximations that do not include delays due to International Customs or unforeseen circumstances. The delivery standards for Priority™ Worldwide( Usually through FedEx ) are usually 2-3 business days (USA), 3-5 business days (Europe) and 4-6 business days to the other continents. The delivery standards for International Parcel Surface can be up to 7 weeks. If your shipping address is remote, delivery times may increase. These delivery standards are estimates and are not guaranteed.

Canada Post shipping services with tracking numbers can be tracked at the following website:


Return/Refund Policy

Returns / Cancellation of Custom Orders

If for some reason you are not 100 percent satisfied with the piece of art received, please contact us before you return it. We offer you the opportunity to return it, if you inform us within the first five days after delivery, that you would like to return it. 

This offer is under the condition that it is not a custom order, it was not worn, it is in the same condition it was originally shipped and we are informed about the return, before it is shipped back. We will send you a return confirmation.

Custom orders or personalized artwork (with personal message/engraving) are not returnable. Down payments for custom orders are also not refundable, if the artwork has been started.

If you return the item / items from outside of Canada, make sure you specify on the description for customs that it is a return, as well as that the item is made in Canada.

After receiving the returned piece of art, we will refund the full purchase price minus the actual shipping costs and any customs and/or brokerage fees we were charged. Customs and brokerage fees can usually be evaded if you return your purchase with your national postal service. Using FedEx, UPS or any other private shipping company will often lead to customs and/or brokerage fees.

We do accept that for Christmas gifts bought in November and December, the delivery date for our return policy will be December 25th, instead of the actual date your order is delivered. Please contact us on or before December 30th, if you would like to return or exchange your purchase.

To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging.

To complete your return, we require a receipt or proof of purchase.

Refunds (if applicable)

Once your return is received and inspected, we will send you an email to notify you that we have received your returned item. If everything is ok, we will also notify you of your refund.

If you are approved, then your refund will be processed, and a credit will automatically be applied to your credit card or original method of payment, within a certain amount of days.

Late or missing refunds (if applicable)

If you haven’t received a refund yet, first check your bank account again.
Then contact your credit card company, it may take some time before your refund is officially posted.

Next contact your bank. There is often some processing time before a refund is posted.

If you’ve done all of this and you still have not received your refund yet, please contact us at

Exchanges (if applicable)

We only replace items if they are defective or damaged at delivery. If you need to exchange it for the same item, send us an email at and send your item to:

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery, 2926 Back Road, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N 9G9, Canada. 


To return your product, you should mail your product to:

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery, 2926 Back Road, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N9G9, Canada

You will be responsible for paying for your own shipping costs for returning your item. Shipping costs are non-refundable. If you receive a refund, the original cost of shipping it to you will be deducted from your refund.

Always use a trackable shipping service and purchase shipping insurance.

If you return the item / items from outside of Canada, make sure you specify on the description for customs that it is a return, as well as that the item is made in Canada.

We can't guarantee that we will receive your returned item.