Williams, John T.

John T. Williams (1960 - 2010) was a member of the Nuu-chah-Nulth First Nations. He was a well known and very well liked Master artist, designing and carving his totem poles for many years downtown in Seattle. He was fatally shot by a Seattle police Officer while walking with a knife near downtown. In February 2012, some 90 people carried the John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole from Pier 57 to Seattle Center — a mile and a half — using little more than their own strength and the encouragement of hundreds of onlookers Sunday. After several hours, the 34-foot monument was raised into place at Seattle Center near Fifth Avenue North and Broad Street, just yards from the Space Needle.

The event, which occurred on the eve of what would have been Williams’ 52nd birthday, followed Native tradition, with the pole carried to its final destination amid singing and dancing to drums. “I put all my heart and soul into it, but I’m not going to take credit for it, because it wasn’t just me,” said Rick Williams, the deceased carver’s brother.

Rick Williams, one of the project’s main carvers, said of his brother’s shooting, “They took something beautiful; let’s give Seattle something just as beautiful back.”

Old Totem Pole, by John T Williams

Old Totem Pole, by John T Williams

Large Totem Pole by John T. Williams


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