The Lummi Nation’s 22-foot long totem pole calling for environmental advocacy and celebrating a recent victory against a proposed coal terminal made a stop Thursday in Seattle.
About 300 people gathered for the Lummi Nation House of Tears Totem Pole Journey celebration at Seattle’s Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral Thursday afternoon. The Lummi Nation, whose reservation is on Puget Sound north of Bellingham, uses their annual totem pole journey to raise awareness of the fossil fuel industry’s negative environmental effects.
The 22-foot western red cedar totem pole, carved by Jewell James of the Lummi Tribe and of the House of Tears Carvers, is making its way from the Lummi Nation’s reservation to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Other stops along the way include the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
Thursday’s ceremony also celebrated the tribe’s recent victory against a proposed coal terminal in Cherry Point, which was denied a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The corps ruled the project would have infringed on the tribe’s treaty protected fishing rights.
At the event, speakers from the Sightline Institute, Sierra Club, Washington Interfaith Power and Light, Earth Ministry and the Lummi Indian Business Council urged audience members to stay informed and take action against fossil fuel projects that threaten the environment, specifically on indigenous lands.
“The Northwest will play a very big role in protecting the future of the planet’s climate,” said Tarika Powell, Senior Research Associate at the Sightline Institute.