These figures watch for danger emanating from both the supernatural and the everyday worlds. Often positioned at the top of tall cedar totem poles in front of houses in Haida villages in Haida Gwaii, the watchmen give warning if a threat approaches.
For the artist James Hart, hereditary Chief of the Staast'as Eagle Clan, the function of The Three Watchmen is augmented here by the close proximity of the symbolic centres of the church and government. The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, the American Embassy and the Canadian Parliament buildings represent historical and ongoing relationships with the Haida. The ideals of mediation and resolution expressed by Reconciliation, the nearby monument to peacekeeping, provide further context to consider with The Three Watchmen.