Totem Building is one of the four gameplay scenarios in Indian Trading Post. The objective of the scenario is to stack totem pieces upon totem bases, or poles. Players use their units to pick up the totem pieces and then deposit them on totem bases by moving next to them. Players can attack the top piece on a totem pole if it belongs to one of their opponents. Totem pieces take damage as homesteads do, and a player loses the points from a piece that is knocked off (destroyed). Totem base spaces cannot be moved through by air units forcing them to fly around.
Like gold nuggets in Gold Rush, totem pieces are dispersed over a board at the start of a match. Totem pieces respawn as they are used, so that there is always at least one piece on the board (or being held by a unit)per player at all times. The totems come in small (Man), medium (Wolf), large (Orca), and crown (Eagle) sizes. A crown piece "caps" a totem pole, and prevents further pieces from being stacked on that pole. A crown piece also prevents more attacks to that totem pole. Small totem pieces have 60 hit points, medium totem pieces have 80 hit points, large totem pieces have the full 100 hit points. Repair cards can be used to heal totem pieces up to a full 100 hit points regardless of size.
A totem piece gives points to the player who placed it, based on its size, with larger pieces being worth more. Players only earn the points for the totem pieces still on poles at the end of the game: Pieces knocked off after being placed give no benefit.
- Small totem: 10 points
- Medium totem: 20 points
- Large totem: 30 points
- Crown totem: 40 points
- For having the most totems on a totem base: 50 points
Additional points are awarded for the height of totem pole (no matter which player the pieces belong to):
- Small totem: 3 points
- Medium totem: 6 points
- Large totem: 9 points
- Crown totem: 12 points
These points are awarded to all players with 1 or more pieces on the totem base.