Totem pole placed at Eugene school

      Watch KVAL 13 TV News at 5 and 6 Wednesday, May 30, for more on this story

      EUGENE, Ore. - A decade ago, students at the now-closed Eastside Alternative Elementary School carved a totem pole as part of a class about the culture and art of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.

      A coastal tribal elder led students at Spencer Butte Middle School on Wednesday as they carried the totem pole to its new home on the south Eugene school's campus.

      The totem pole was handcarved in the style of the Haida people, with the knowledge and permission of local native groups. Vic Hansen, the teacher who worked with students to create the pole, attended the ceremony.

      Ten years ago, before students set the first chisel to the donated cedar log, they learned about the culture and art of northwest tribes; were taught to safely use wood carving tools; and voted on which totems to depict.

      The students chose eight totems to carve, from top to bottom:

      Thunderbird - powerful protector, made thunder and lightning with his wings, could see a long way

      Wolf - good hunter, loyal to his pack

      Eagle - powerful eyesight, a good hunter and flyer

      Frog - powerful swimmer and a source of food to many animals

      Warrior - good speaker, loyal to the tribe

      Beaver - good home builder and powerful swimmer, dams created a rich habitat for many other animals

      Killer Whale - powerful swimmer, ruler of the ocean

      Bear - powerful enough to hold up all the other totems, a good fighter, loyal to his family and tribe