I'm wondering if we belong here. I linger behind the group, transfixed by a tall pole. "She's the Bear Mother, my favorite pole," a voice says. I turn to meet James Williams, the head watchman. He has a New York Yankees cap pulled low on his brow, and his red jacket zipped up to his chin. "She's a mortuary pole," he says, pointing at a cavity on the crown. "Once a chief 's bones are placed there, his spirit is part of the pole. The spirit isn't released until the pole falls." Over the next few hours, James shows me around the old village. We walk past grassy depressions that were chiefs' homes. Deeper in the forest, James kneels down and delicately peels a blanket of moss from one of the many fallen trees. A face stares up at us. All these trees on the forest floor, I realize, are sleeping totem poles.