The carvings on this bench depict a story from the Salish people of the northwestern United States and British Columbia, Canada. The story teaches respect for natural cycles, represented by the salmon annual migration upriver from the sea to freshwater breeding grounds. Salmon Woman created the cycle when people who depended on the fish for food took the year-round abundance for granted and abused the resource. After Bear defied warnings not to harvest the fish in their breeding grounds, all salmon except the steelhead (the only one he had not disturbed) died. Today, it is only the steelhead that survives spawning and returns year after year to breed, while other salmon species die in the spawning beds. The proper time to catch the salmon is based on the tides that are controlled by the Moon.
This bench and carvings are from a western red cedar tree used for the 9/11 Pentagon totem pole.
Symbols and colors in this bench:
Moon: ???Protector and guardian of the earth by night
Salmon: ?Dependability and renewal—the provider
Bear:?? ???Strength, learned humility, motherhood and teaching
Red: ??? ??Blood, valor
White: ???Skies and spacious heavens
Yellow: ?Sun, light and happiness