It’s Time for a Change: Farewell to the Hantesa Totem Pole

May 11, 2023

This weekend, Camp Hantesa will officially retire and remove the totem pole installed outside the camp dining hall, Clayton Lodge. The totem pole was carved by long-time Hantesa volunteer and supporter Harold Adams in 1973. Harold and his family participated in Camp Fire events for years, as well as volunteered to teach campers about composting. They even allowed campers to fish on their nearby property!

The totem pole was financed by donations from Hantesa WoHa’s as a decorative and environmental improvement for Hantesa campers’ enjoyment. The animals which were chosen to appear on the pole include a bear, beaver, owl, frog, rabbit, fox, and eagle. They represent species originally native to Iowa, many of which can still be found around camp today! 

On May 13, the Hantesa totem pole will be removed, and plans have been made to return the piece to Harold’s surviving family. Totem poles, in Indigenous cultures, are special monuments to commemorate ancestry, historical events, and people. They are characteristic of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest but not representative of cultures native to the Midwest. The decision to retire our pole comes following our national Camp Fire commitment to removing culturally appropriative practices, iconography, and ceremonials from all programming.

We are so thankful to Harold for the support he provided to our program during his lifetime. We remain thankful to his family for their understanding and continued support as we endeavor to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all people.

Lastly, if you are interested in attending the removal, please join us for our Volunteer Day on Saturday, May 13th.

Work, Health, Love

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa Staff

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