Belief in the kinship of a group of people with a common totem.
belief that a group has a special kinship with an object or animal
The belief in individual or clan kinship with an animal, plant, or object. This totem is sacred to those concerned, and they are forbidden to eat or desecrate it; marriage within the clan is usually forbidden. Totemism occurs among Pacific Islanders and Australian Aborigines, and was formerly prevalent throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Most Native American societies had totems as well.
Totem poles are carved by indigenous peoples of the NW coast of North America and incorporate totem objects (carved and painted) as a symbol of the people or to commemorate the dead.