Creation: 1987 - 2017
Medium: Carved Wood
Dimensions: 25’ x 7’ x 7’
Former Location: Shute Park, 800 SE Maple at 10th Ave (TV Hwy), Hillsboro, OR
Artist Peter Toth, created a series called “The Trail of Whispering Giants” for which he carved a statue in tribute to Native Americans in each of the 50 states. In each community, he donated his talent and time and found local businessmen and individuals who donated supplies and materials. The statue in Hillsboro was carved from a donated 25' Douglas fir log weighing approximately 33,000 pounds. Transportation and raising of the log on its concrete base was provided entirely by volunteer labor.
The namesake, Chief Kno-Tah, was the leader of the Tualatin band of the Kalapuya group of Native Americans at the time that band signed a treaty with the US government to cede their ancestral home on the Tualatin Plains to pioneer settlers. Students at the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, selected the name from submissions from local residents.
The Chief Kno-Tah statue was on display for 30 years until damage from a winter storm, extensive rot and insect infestation resulted in its removal.
Peter "Wolf" Toth was born in Hungary in 1947, fleeing with his family during the 1956 uprising and settling in Akron, Ohio. Toth’s early personal experience with injustice in Hungary fostered in him a deep sense of kinship with, and empathy for Native Americans. It was his hope that through these monuments, people would remember that the Indians were, and are, a proud race of people who inhabited America long before the arrival of Europeans.
Toth completed his goal of a statue in each of the fifty states in May 1988 with a statue of a Polynesian in Haleiwa, Hawaii. In Oregon, one Toth statue remains in Astoria. The artist continues to create artwork at Art World Gallery in Edgewater, Florida.
Photo by Rick Paulson.
Check out more photos of Hillsboro's Public Art Collection in our Flickr Gallery.