The Legend of Totem Teddy
Start journey
Totem Pole Start journey

When a UNC alum gifted the university with a totem pole, he also gave the school its Bear mascot. That totem pole—nicknamed "Totem Teddy" by students at UNC, resided on campus for nearly a century, enduring tarring, feathering, and kidnapping from opponents and being covered and protected by UNC students with everything from paint to metal vests. With its sacred beginnings in Alaska, adventures in Colorado, and its return to the tribe it belonged to, this beloved icon is layered with stories. Read on to discover the meanings, the memories and the myths that surround Totem Teddy.

  • Photos at UNC
  • Photo in Alaska
  • Publications