Lummi Nation raises environmental awareness by bringing totem pole to Capitol Hill

A 22-foot totem pole made one of its first stops on a 5,000-mile journey Thursday night at Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s.

The Lummi Nation House of Tears Carvers brought the pole to St. Mark’s Cathedral to celebrate the nation’s victory against coal export at “Xwe’chi’eXen” — Cherry Point.

Seattle City Council member and former chair of the Washington chapter of the Sierra Club Mike O’Brien spoke at the event that brought together Lummi Nation members, environmentalists, representatives of Earth Ministry and the Sierra Club, and interested members of the public for a ceremony and celebration.

“The work that’s happening here today gives me hope,” O’Brien said.

The pole is carved from western red cedar features a bald eagle, a buffalo skull, a wolf and coyote side-by-side and an Indian chief and a medicine man sharing a peace pipe.

Its journey is meant to bring attention to the threat proposed fossil fuel terminals, oil trains, coal trains and oil pipelines bring to tribes and communities.

“We’re all in this together,” said Freddy Lane, Lummi Nation Tribal member.

Noel Miller, a Seattle resident who attended the annual event for the first time this year, said he felt the event brought more awareness to environmental issues, and that it was interesting to learn what the Lummi Nation has been working on.

“It’s really wonderful to see the authenticity of people working hard to save what we have here,” said Amy Haugerud, who also attended the event for the first time.
The totem pole’s journey began on Tuesday in Bellingham, and the final destination is Winnipeg, Manitoba.

You can learn more at totempolejourney.com.

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