Totem pole at Sheldon High sends message of perseverance

On Tuesday, members of the Indian Education Natives Program gave the pole a ceremonial blessing and performed a traditional Cheyenne warrior song.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 6:47 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2019 12:45 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A new totem pole was placed in the front lawn of Sheldon High School on Tuesday.

Two other poles, at the south end of the DeFazio Bridge and at Amazon Pool, were restored last year. However, the pole raised at Sheldon High School, originally located behind the Sheldon Community Center, had to be completely redone. It was too worn to be repaired.

Students with the Indian Education Natives Program helped make the pole, which was carved out of a donated cedar tree. It stands 24 feet tall.

The totem pole is a symbol of representation for the native tribes of Oregon. There are an estimated 60 native tribes represented at the high school.

On Tuesday, members of the Natives Program gave the pole a ceremonial blessing and performed a traditional Cheyenne warrior song.

KEZI 9 News talked to member Erika Moe, who graduated last year and was part of getting the totem pole made.

“It feels really great,” Moe said. “I couldn’t really picture in my mind what it would look like. I mean, we had drawings of it, but now that it’s actually here, I can see it and it’s just really cool.”

The pole has a beaver at the bottom and a raven at the top. It also has a whale holding a salmon.

Overall, the pole is meant to send a message of perseverance and good decision making to students.

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