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Sunday, October 11, 2015

NATIVE AMERICAN DAY




Chief Lelooska's Elk Point totem
Not the best photo but the best I could do when I took it on a rainy day a couple years ago. 


Since 1992 there has been a movement to rename and replace the federally sanctioned Columbus Day as Indigenous People's Day. This movement is the result of Columbus's negative legacy. Presently four states do not celebrate Columbus day. Those states are Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota -- South Dakota calls the day Native American Day

When I recently learned of Indigenous People's Day I thought of Chief Lelooska, the native American carver that carved a large totem around 1959 to 1961 for Elk Point near Twilliger Parkway in Portland, Oregon



The Smithsonian identified the animals represented on the Haida-style totem pole as follows starting at the bottom --  beaver, grizzly bear. raven and topped by four watchmen. (Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum). I noticed that the Smithsonian did not name several of the totem animals.

Below are a few close-ups of parts of the totem


GRIZZLY


 BEAVER


UNIDENTIFIED


WATCHMEN
(Captured this photo a few weeks after I took the photos above)



The backside of the totem is flat as was the style of indigenous carvers. Unfortunately modern day carvers have found this flat back as a place to leave their name in history! 

What do you think about replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day? Or as Native American Day as South Dakota has done? To find out more about the day click here




20 comments:

  1. I think it's an idea whose time has come. There may have been many other explorers who also attempted to make it to the North American continent form Europe (i.e. the Vikings). But we sure have dealt the Natives of this land a poor hand, and need to make efforts at restitution, like the attempts for Civil Rights for blacks.

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    1. Barbara -- I agree 100% with your comment.. Women are even still fighting for equalization in this country and more so in many other countries. This is easy to say "we all need to recognize the good in each other," but when will this happen? thanks -- barbara

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  2. I have to say I agree with the comment from Barbara Rogers. It is time we take a realistic look at history.

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    1. Michelle -- Barbara's comment strikes home with many folks such as yourself. And yes, a realistic view of history would be welcome -- thanks -- barbara

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  3. I believe Columbus Day lost its raison d'etre long ago. But slipping what should be a thoughtful observance into its place defeats the purpose of a "Native American" celebration. Native Americans should have a voice, both in wanting to recognize the day, and establishing its date.

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    1. Joanne -- You have some good points about celebrating Native American Day, It really should be a day selected by the Native Americans if possible. It is a movement that I will be following over the next couple of years. Big changes don't seem to happen quickly in this country. thanks -- barbara

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  4. That wood holds up very well as does the paint. It is such a powerful figure as most totems are.

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    1. Tabor The word you used to describe the totem is perfect. This totem emits a very "powerful" spirit. It is located in a very beautiful wooded setting. thanks -- barbara

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  5. I am very much in favor of dropping Columbus Day -- he wasn't the only one who reached this continent -- and the very first ones did so long, long before Columbus (those who populated both North and South America. While I agree the Native Americans should have a voice in such a change, I think it's way past time for some apology (the Canadians and Australians have most symbolic apologies to their natives). So if our Congress would change the designation of the holiday at least everyone would have a bit more awareness of Native Americans and kids in school might learn a little actual history. It would be a step in the right direction.

    In general I see three-day weekends as excuses to bring people into stores to buy things they really don't need -- in this case junk with a Halloween theme that will be sent to the land fill in three weeks.

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    1. June -- That is a very interesting point about the Canadians and the Australians that they made symbolic apologies to the Native Americans of their countries. We were really disgusting of our treatment of Native Americans in the past and are still, in some ways, continuing to treat Native Americans in a biased way. Why is it this country claims freedoms for all while at the same time if you are of the wrong ethnic make-up you can be treated very poorly. Our future can be changed if we could adopt new ways of acceptance of all. -- thanks -- barbara

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  6. Love your close-ups of the faces on the pole.

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    1. Birdman -- When you get to Portland on one of your NW trips try and stop by and visit this totem -- I think you will appreciate it -- thanks -- barbara

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  7. That top photo conveys a very northwest mood, I think. It's actually quite good.

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    1. Hattie -- Thanks -- perhaps it does set the NW mood but I wasn't quite satisfied -- found it difficult to photograph -- barbara

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    1. Lori -- thanks for dropping by -- I appreciate your comment -- barbara

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  9. And now I see a comment from Birdman, above...As I just wrote to you, I am so sad, I cannot believe that he is gone from this world....
    Anyway, yes, a good idea but I would call it Native American Day, because the way of our culture is to keep names simple and clear...Or, wait: Maybe, let's have a separate Native American Day, I think it's too special to just have as a replacement, it merits its own day.
    This sculpture is incredibly powerful!

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    1. A good idea to give Native Americans their own day not as a replacement for Mr Columbus -- at the same time I am not for a day named after Columbus either. Yes it is sad that Birdman is gone -- you were fortunate to have met him --- barbara

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  10. Having just gotten back from Quebec, there was the news up there of how native women, especially in rural areas have been treated. It's only now being made public..it make take awhile for restituion and solution, but it is a step...

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    1. Rita -- I have not heard about this problem. I will do a search online about it. thanks -- barbara

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