EUGENE, Ore. — A totem pole built by Eugene elementary students has been in storage since its original home, Eastside Elementary, closed down.
But Wednesday, it got a new home.
Transplanting the totem pole was not a simple process. It took three years of preparation and Native American tradition to come together in a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.
Before, the installation ceremony was a more private one.
Joe Brainard with the 4J Native Program used sage smoke to cleanse students and tribe members participating in the procession to purify the ceremony.
After a word from one of the tribal elders and careful instructions from Brainard, the 12 chosen students lifted the pole and followed the tribe members into the school garden.
Four hundred of their peers watched and waited as this piece of Native American history became part of their school.
And while Brainard and the other tribe members are grateful for the pole’s resurrection, the school says it’s just as proud to be the pole’s new home.
From the thunderbird–the powerful protector–down to the loyal bear –the good fighter–Brainard hopes this symbol will help educate everyone who passes through the garden.
Eleven of the 12 students who carried the totem pole in have Native American heritage and said they were very proud to be part of the ceremony.