Totem Pole Journey 2014
The Totem Pole Journey, scheduled for July through September 2014, is one response to the many fossil fuel projects throughout the U. S. and Canada. These projects include the Keystone Pipeline, the Kinder-Morgan toxic tarsands pipelines (Alberta to ports in British Columbia) and the coal/oil/gas export projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. The largest of these being the coal export facility proposed at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) in the traditional homeland territory of Lummi Nation, home to an ancient burial ground with a 3,500-year old village site and is crucial to the health of the Salish Sea fisheries. These projects will have significant and adverse impacts on Native and non-Native communities, alike.
This Totem Pole Journey will unite three compelling communication projects (the Mural, the Totem Pole and China Express Exhibit) that will appeal to the emotional and intellectual through visual arts.
The Mural. On July 1st, the mural will begin its journey under the direction of Melanie Schambach. A group of Coast Salish participants will complete the first layer of the 16’ by 20’ mural and over the next month, the mural team will work in nine communities that would be impacted by the proposed fossil fuel exports projects. At each community, youth, young adults, and elders will get an opportunity to translate their message onto the mural. It is expected to be completed by the end of July and will then accompany the Totem Pole as it begins its journey in August.
The Totem Pole. The totem pole, one of the oldest forms of North American storytelling, still serves to remind us of our place within nature, of our responsibility to future generations, and of our connections to each other and to our communities. Lummi Elder and Master Carver Jewell James carries on this tradition of raising totem poles, sharing them among indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This sharing, will inspire communities do more than rally, galvanize, inform, and engage. Those who see and touch the totem pole experience the message as it will speak to the heart of the matter and the moral conscience of cultural diverse communities. The 18-foot totem pole will begin its journey on the west coast in mid-August and culminate in early September when it will be raised at Peace River, in the heart of the tarsands territory in Alberta. Along the way the journey will highlight Native and non-Native communities in the path of the coal, Bakken oil, and tarsands oil throughout the U.S. and Canada. It will incorporate Native American traditional values and knowledge, cross-cultural dialogue with the broader community on what is at-risk, and informational meetings and rallies with local leaders and community members.
China Express. Photographer Carlan Tapp traveled the train routes to British Columbia, photographing everything from the open-pit coal mines in Wyoming to Pacific Northwest towns and Indian reservations. Tapp’s black-and-white images of the frost-covered firs and mist-shrouded hills along the route are starkly beautiful but marred by the consistent presence of the train tracks. Opportunities to show the exhibit can be scheduled for August in Minneapolis, MN, Olympia and Seattle.
The convergence of the totem pole, the mural, and the exhibit will have an enduring and profound impact on all.
As one of many communities being impacted by these projects and because we have expressed our support in protecting Xwe'chi'eXen, the faith community is being asked to help support the Totem Pole Journey by providing the financial support to meet feeding the Totem Pole Journey crew. The cost of feeding the 5-member crew during the mininum 15 days they will be traveling is estimated at roughly $4,000. Please ask your community to become a part of this monumental movement to engage communities throughout the U.S. and Canada in sharing the responsibility of preserving the land, air and water that is precious to us all.
Contributions are to be made out to "Lummi Nation Service Organization - Totel Pole Journey" and mailed to Beth Brownfield, 3820 Fielding Ave., Bellingham, WA 98229 by July 28th as the Journey crew leaves in August. In the memo line, please write the name of your faith community. Contributions will then be hand-delivered to Lummi in order to track the faith community's participation.
Feel free to contact either of us with any questions: Beth Brownfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deb Cruz (email@example.com). We will contact you when Journey events and activities will be taking place with an invitation for you to attend and participate.
Thank you for all your support!