— [Historic Congressional Cemetery] —
Peace - War
[Rendering of the Healing Totem Poles]Liberty - Freedom
The cross piece at the top carries two eagles: Peace, a female, faces east; War, a male, faces west. The eagles are symbols of courage and great vision, held up by the strength and endurance of the bears, reminding us that as we move forward with courage as a united people, we must use our great vision to make the right choices to protect our liberty and freedom.
A male bear [carving on pole at left] represents Father Sky above the Grandfather Sun.
A female bear [carving on pole at right] represents Mother Earth above the Grandmother Moon on the Turtle's shell.
The Symbolism in the Poles
begins with its basic structure, a framework representing a house, reminding all Americans that we live under one roof; we are one family. The colors red, yellow, black, and white are united in these poles, representing the four races here in America.
A Healing Pole is a celebration of culture
that connects the past and present. While it may commemorate a tragedy or honor the dead its power reaches beyond the loss to actually touch each viewer with the power to heal grief.
"Native people know what grief is. We know what pain and suffering is. But we also know how to put our arms around one another" Jewell James, Master Carver.
The Turtle is a representation of Turtle Island, a symbol often used for North America.
The Lummi carvers of Washington State felt a spiritual call to add the turtle to the healing pole as they were carving, but did not understand why they felt called to include this symbol.
It was not until the end of the 4,500 mile journey across the continent when the poles were delivered into the care of the Piscataway Tribe of Maryland, that the deeper connection was revealed: the Turtle is also the Piscataway clan symbol and the Anacostia riverbank was their homeland, where the Healing Poles now reside.
The Totem's Journey to Our Nation's Capital
"Freedom" & "Liberty" were carved from an old western red cedar, felled at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington, by Jewell Praying Wolf James, master carver of the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Indian Nation, Billingham, Washington.
Created to help our Nation heal from the wounds of September 11, 2001, the poles made a spiritual journey of 4,500 miles across the country, stopping 13 times along the way for blessings from local Indian tribes.
The poles were temporarily raised for a welcoming ceremony at the Pentagon on September 19, 2004 and then permanently upon these historic grounds on September 23, 2004, as part of the City's September 11 Memorial Grove.
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:] "Open Spaces - Sacred Places"