By Jake A. Monlux, Troop 363
Nowhere in any civilization since the beginning of time has any culture carved totems such as those carved by the Pacific Northwest Indian. The coastal Indian's long houses and totem pole carvings extend from Alaska south to include Haida, Kwakiutal, Tsimshian and Salish tribes of B. C., Canada south to include Washington and Oregon to a lesser degree. Other tribes were involved inland, but the great carvings of totem poles are found in the Pacific Northwest.
Though early missionaries often thought otherwise and burnt them, the totem pole figures were not Gods to the Indians but a way to record a man's stature and clan in a society that had no written language. The Indian did not use books to record for generations how he felt about himself, other people, deeds, happenings, events and things. He ingeniously turned to carving about his culture on cedar poles. He created each totem pole figure with stories, and each figure gained great significance as a crest such as a family coat of arms. The crest was passed from one generation to another on the mother's side. The totem pole is the physical evidence serving as a cedar library about the expressions of the Pacific Northwest Indian.
It is only fitting that we pay homage to the great Indian culture and history of this area that is preserved in cedar by their carvers. We honor the scouting movement by bringing to the "Firemountain Scout Reservation" a pole representing key Indian Historical crests. These crests have a special meaning and each is adapted to the philosophy of scouting for this special purpose.
If God were to speak to a Scout at Fire Mountain Scout Reservation, the crest of a cedar pole would be the Indian symbols that he might have used on the pole:
- Thunderbird - a mythical weatherman over a band of thunder, lightning, rain and airborne phenomena that often greet scouts on location.
- Eagle - Symbolizing the guiding spirit and high idealism, he prods scouts to strive for distinction, especially a contained in Scouting's highest rank, Eagle.
- Whale - Symbol of strength through unison, for Scouts a figure international bonds through scouting activities.
- Bear - Symbol of the love and complexity of nature, a reminder Scouts that nature should be enjoyed not abused.
- Raven - Guardian of other natural elements such as stars, sunshine, and a puckish trickster who put black on the back of the skunk by directing him through a coal field and put pine needle in the sleeping bags of Scouts.
- O'Lady of the Woods - A disciplinarian who forced the wind through the trees and awaited Indian children who dared to stray too far afield. At Scout camp, the invisible discipline needed to keep activity humming.
- Beaver - like Eagle, another figure of idealism and for scouts the symbol of the Order of the Arrow whose spirit remains with Scouts always.
This "Fire Mountain Scout Totem Pole" is then dedicated to the Indian culture of the Pacific Northwest Indian, their carvers, the great master carver, to the Scout Order of the Arrow that typifies the joy, freedom, love, devotion and protection of the outdoor and to all boys that strive within themselves to develop high principle of Scouting in daily living.
In conclusion of the dedication of the "Fire Mountain Scout Totem Pole" I wish to thank Eagle and beaver for inspiring scouts and friends of scouts for carving me and erecting me at your campsite. As you go through your camping activity and life, may the Great Spirit maker of all things be always with you.