Haida chiefs 'on watch' at SJ Island Library

A 6-foot tall totem, entitled
A 6-foot tall totem, entitled 'Eagle with Three Chiefs' now stands near the Northwest collection of books at SJI Library.
— image credit: Contributed photo/SJI Library

Haida Totem Installed at Library

Eagle with Three Chiefs, an unusual carved totem, was installed in the San Juan Island Library on June 13.

The 91-inch tall totem was carved by Robert Horn, a noted First Nations carver, about 1940. Horn (or Horne) was from a family of well-known carvers.

The totem base is an unusual side-facing eagle: the eagle’s talons point east, the head faces south. The eagle is capped by a group of three chiefs, recognized by their three-ringed hats.

According to the book Totem Poles by Pat Kramer, the cluster of chiefs represents the Haida Watchmen, an ancient society entrusted with guarding Haida Gwaii, the ancestral home of the Haida Nation previously named the Queen Charlotte Island.

The library received the totem as a bequest from Patsi Daugherty. Daugherty was a stalwart supporter of the San Juan Island Library, volunteering in the Friends of the Library Treasure Cove store. She loved books and libraries.

Prior to her death at age 86, Daugherty lived for a time at the Village at the Harbour, where the totem previously graced the foyer.

“When Larry Daugherty told me about the bequest in Patsi’s will, I was very touched and excited," library Director Laurie Orton said. "The Library Art Committee vetted the acquisition and the Board of Trustees approved it on Tuesday.”

Carved from a solid piece of western red cedar, the totem is approximately 91-inches tall, 18-inches wide, and 12-inches deep. It is mounted, fittingly, at the end of the Library’s Northwest collection, near the fireplace.



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