The three figures in the middle of the totempole are aboriginal students. Surrounding them are two eagles, it signifies the students relationship with western education, both historically and contemporary.
One eagle is upside down, on this totempole it is meant to embarrass or humiliate the person or persons whom the figure represents. I mirrored the inverted figure in order to oppose the negative impact of western education. The students balance between the two trying to take what they need, leaving the rest behind, not forgeting, but not dragging it along either.
In non-native interpretations of totempoles the figure on top of the pole is the most important. In actual reality the figure on the bottom of the totempole is the most important (it is the easiest seen). On a nine foot totempole everything is easily seen, so there is less of a hiearchy amongst figures.
I am questioning what I should dwell on, the injustice of our educational history in this country or the opportunities that education now gives us. It's a complicated problem and I haven't yet decided for myself.
Western education was used as a tool for assimilation, is it still?