Friday, September 25, 2015

The Mosier Totem Pole

Art in Public Places

After living here for only four months, I already know who loves this totem pole and who doesn't.  Public art does this to a community:  Initiates dialogue and reflection.  Disagreements have been on a friendly basis.  There are no angry birds around here so I've been able to voice my opinion without getting crushed to a pulp.
This is not a tribal pole; it is not on tribal land.  But this 30 foot cedar beauty, nevertheless, was sculpted by a local artist.  Jeff Stewart teaches art at the Columbia Community College in The Dalles and lives in Dufur, Oregon.  It symbolizes the region's past and depicts the wildlife of the Columbia River.  That he borrowed an art motif from Native Americans is absolutely befitting and even ingenious.

This land is your land this land is my land 
From California to the New York Island . . .

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway . . .
                                            Woodie Guthrie

Mosier is a tiny little town on the Columbia River with a population of 432.  There are people who have lived here all their lives, but most of us have come from distant lands.  Some of us have Native American blood; most of us do not.  All of us, however, have fallen under the spell of this beautiful place.  We meet under this totem pole for picnics, coffee breaks or simply to soak up the view.  We soar with the eagles.  Swim with the salmon.  Hike with the squirrels.  Protect our young like a mother bear.

I have only one suggestion:  That the artist return and carve me at the base!
The guardian and advocate of public art.


  1. It's a beautiful totem of sorts. And you make a lovely guardian. ;)

  2. Very nice totem! Lovely photos. :)