Eagle Crest Panel by David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian
Eagle Crest Panel by David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian hand carved red cedar, pigment 24" tall x 8" wide x 1" deep
Eagle is a symbol of power to the Native People of the Northwest Coast, who share their environment with these majestic birds. Eagle is a sacred and wise bird, representing power and prestige, and good times to come. The Eagle is one of the most important birds represented in First Nations art and mythology, and most often is a clan or crest symbol of Chief lineage families.
Many myths and legends surround Eagle; Eagle down, considered sacred, is used in ceremonies to welcome someone in friendship. Down is sprinkled on the ground before an important visitor comes into the tribe. Eagle feathers are used for smudging and praying. The feathers are also given as symbolic offerings to bestow honor for acts of courage and wisdom.
There are four clans of the Tsimshian at Metlakatla, Alaska: Eagle, Raven, Killer Whale and Wolf. David's clan is Eagle. Depicted in this panel is a human figure on Eagles back. This represents the human personification of Eagle, or a member of the Eagle clan.