A Native American tribe is travelling nearly 5,000 miles across Canada and the U.S. with a 22-foot-tall totem pole on a flatbed truck in a symbolic protest agains fossil fuels. The Lummi Nation hopes the journey will create a united front in the among tribes fighting plans for coal terminals and crude oil pipelines in their backyards. The 19-day totem trek started on Tuesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, and makes a stop on Friday in Longview, Washington, where a proposed shipping terminal would export 44 million tons of coal a year. The journey includes tribal blessing ceremonies at each stop.
We’re all trying to unite our voices to make sure we’re all speaking out
Jewell James, a Lummi tribal member and head carver at the House of Tears Carvers.
This is the fourth year of the symbolic totem protests, a sign of growing environmental activism among north American tribespeople. This year’s brightly painted totem weighs 3,000lb and is carved of western red cedar. An eagle with a 12-foot wingspan sits on top, and the pole itself features a wolf and bear — symbols of leadership, cunning and courage — as well as white buffalo and tribal figures. At a blessing at the entrance of a cathedral in Seattle on Thursday, Lummi Nation member Linda Soriano fanned smoke from burning sage, covering the pole in a haze as the sun beamed down.
Mother Earth has been hurting from all of the abuse that has been going on. The unsafe practices of the coal, and the mining and the transportation of energy
Lummi Nation member Randy Peters Sr