Smoke Shops Chiefdom August 10, 2011

Someone took a stump and carved this statue resembling a Pale-faced Native American Chief. Who knows how long ago, where, or when it was created, or how many coats of paint it has received, but there it was, staring timelessly out into space.

I find the whole concept of Wooden Totem Poles depicting the American Indian rather intriguing. Maybe it reflects a time when the Indians would be seen hanging around the Trading Posts bordering the new frontier.    After the Indians were rounded up and confined, and the wide spread belief that, "the only good Indian is a Dead Indian", was held by the multitudes expanding Westward in Manifest Destiny Mode, scarecrows like this (stereotypical savage heathen in a war bonnet)  were harmless replacements for the, "Real McCoy" so to speak.  Who knows what emotions it evoked in people...throughout time.

He looks like he wants to speak (or maybe send smoke signals), or cry a thousand tears; possibly from the fact he's stuck outside the barred windows of some seedy smoke shop in Downtown L.A.'s Arts District. 

The more I stared into his wooden nickel eyes, I imagined wanting to sit down with him, smoke a peace pipe, and listen to this grandfather's stories about what it was like to live on the land.

Smoke Shop Totem
Image: T. Van Stein