July 28, 2011

Seneca and eagle carved from tree

Castile tree carving honors history of Senecas

By Matt SurtelJohn Thomas cited William Prior Letchworth as he looked over his new and giant piece of artwork Monday morning.

The statue depicts an eagle lifting a Seneca Indian into the spirit world. And it’s getting its share of onlookers at his Liberty Street home.
And:He notes the eagle is the highest totem. The Indian wears a Hiawatha belt and turtle necklace. It also carries a spear, with a stone tip donated by the Thomas’ friend Ken Wallace.

“It has one feather because that’s Seneca,” Thomas said. “Western New York being Seneca, I thought it would be in reference to what went before us.”
Comment:  Compare this statue to The American, which also shows an Indian with an eagle perched on his arm. This statue is better for a couple reasons.

One, the Seneca Indian seems to be dressed authentically. He isn't a stereotypical half-naked brave.

Two, the eagle is actually doing something per Seneca beliefs. It isn't just perching there because it looks cool. Or because Indians supposedly have a mystical connection with eagles, wolves, and the rest of nature.

For more on the subject, see Is The American Worth It? and Is The American Still Feasible?

Below:  "John and Cathy Lee Thomas commissioned a statue of a Seneca Indian and eagle at their Castile home. It’s about 18 feet tall and was hewn from an old spruce tree." (Mark Gutman/Daily News)

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