"People are attracted to Northwest Coast art for many reasons. It is distinctive, compositionally complex, geographically specific and beautiful to look at. For some, it is an integral part of their identity and a source of cultural pride. For others, it is an art form that is highly valued for its designs and craftsmanship. In both cases, whether they understand the history and cultural context within Northwest Coast Indigenous is created or not, most buyers and collectors are intrigued by the symbols, the composition, and the techniques used to create individual pieces." - From "Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry" by Alexander Dawkins

Many figures and animals associated with Northwest Coast Art are derived from family crest symbols, which communicate a persons' genealogical linage. Primary crests organize cultures into Clans and sub crests often clarify social relationships within the clan. Symbolism of crest figures differs from culture to culture and the meaning of its figures often changes according to context.