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Agoura Hills, California: Statue of Chief White Eagle

14-ft. tall concrete statue of Indian Chief has been visited by the TV Tonto and the "don't pollute" crying Indian.

Lewis Rd, Agoura Hills, CA
Atop "Mt Estrella" above the intersection of Lewis and Agoura Rds. US 101 exit 35. Drive south on Palo Comado Canyon Rd to Chesebro Rd. Turn right onto Agoura Rd, then left onto Lewis Rd and drive up the hill. On private property, behind fence. Be considerate, ask at house for permission to visit the statue.
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Statue of Chief White Eagle

Jean de Strelecki was an immigrant who claimed to be a Polish count. In 1939 he began sculpting a 14-foot-tall, 13-ton Indian out of concrete, atop a hill he named "Mt Estrella" in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking US 101. Exactly why he did this is a mystery, although some speculate that he was inspired when he heard of a local resort named Seminole Hot Springs. Even if this were true, the Indian that he sculpted --- which he named Chief White Eagle -- looks nothing like a Seminole, who lived thousands of miles away, nor does it resemble the Chumash, who actually lived around here. Instead, de Strelecki sculpted a stern-faced Plains Indian wearing a heavy robe and a flowing feathered headdress.

During the construction, Native American celebrities Jay Silverheels (an actor who played Tonto) and Iron Eyes Cody (who starred as a crying Indian in a famous "don't pollute" commercial), drove over from Hollywood and signed the wet cement, leaving their handprints as well. When de Strelecki unveiled the statue on May 5, 1940, he made sure that a group of local Indians were on hand to witness the event. They were reportedly honored by his good intentions, and politely kept their opinion of his artwork to themselves.

[ Team, 06/08/2007]

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