This beautiful man graces the main street through my little town of Niwot on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Niwot was platted in 1875 (17 years after gold miners arrived in this area), as the Colorado Central Railroad extended it's tracks northeast of Boulder. Long before it was platted and laid out in a grid to accommodate the iron horse that charged down the ribbon of steel rail that now runs along the edge of the highway, this land was inhabited by the Arapaho people, and Chief Niwot was a tribal leader whose name translates to "left hand".
Last year the town of Niwot commissioned artist Eddie Running Wolf (a Northern Cheyenne descendant) to carve the first of three old willows that had died along Niwot road. In the spirit of bridging cultures, the town worked with the Northern Arapaho Language and Culture Commission to come up with both the concept and the name of the sculpture. HIs name is Biitoheinen, which means Spirit Lodge Man and was a spear carrier. The spear carriers were the protectors of the the tribe, responsible for policing the camp, supervising communal hunts and enforcing decisions of the chiefs.
This amazing, strong hand reminds me of another. I can almost feel the blood pulse beneath his skin.