Totem Pole Tells Sunset Lake Story

Monte Church once took a two-year course in Native carving. He shared this skill through the years, along with traditional meanings of authentic Native art, through the years at youth camps where he led young people in carving foot-long totem poles.

He had never carved a full-sized totem pole until a year ago, when Sunset Lake Camp commissioned Church to encapsulate the summer camp story in a totem pole. Church, who serves as North Pacific Union Conference native ministry coordinator, installed the finished totem pole on July 8.

“The overall concept is that those who attend the camp are lovingly watched over and genuinely cared for by camp administration and staff,” says Church.

Each feature of the hand-chiseled cedar totem pole tells a story. The eagle represents the watchfulness of camp leadership. The wings have green circle symbols for the conference, union office and camp counselors.

The knees of the eagle are black reminding all that camp leadership should be on its knees in prayer. A Sunset Lake symbol at the center is surrounded by feathers representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The base of the totem features a camper with a golden crown symbolizing that this person is a child of the King. The camper is holding a canoe paddle with Pathfinder pledge symbols representing the propelling principles of our spiritual lives.

“We are thrilled to have this piece of art as a part of our camp,” says David Yeagley, Sunset Lake Camp director. “Our goal is to create a village that is representative of the Native people of the Northwest. Our hope is to be able to teach Native history during outdoor education classes and in our summer program.”

By the Colors
Green: watchfulness, wisdom, energy
Black: caring, asking God for help, call to prayer
Gold: every child is a prince or princess
Red: love
Blue: loving obedience

By the Feature
Eagle: camp administration
Black Knees: a call to prayer
Large Wings: camp staff
Three Little Wings: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Camper: every child is a prince or princess
Canoe Paddle with Pathfinder Pledge: propelling principles in our spiritual lives

August 28, 2014 / Washington Conference