A special introduction to the journey

This Wednesday at 7:00 pm, the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship is graciously hosting a public introduction and benefit in support of Our Shared Responsibility: A Totem Pole Journey. This is a special opportunity for community leaders, people of faith, and local activists to learn more about this year’s journey and how they can stand with the Lummi community in support of their work to stop the coal terminal and protect sacred tribal sites. Here are the event details:

A Sacred and Shared Responsibility: Introducing and Supporting the Totem Pole Journey
Wednesday, July 23rd – 7:00 pm
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
1207 Ellsworth Street, Bellingham, Washington

Even if you cannot attend the event, please click here to support the journey.

Continue reading

Our Shared Responsibility: The Land, The Waters, The People

We are honored and pleased to announce the second Totem Pole Journey, which will be taking place this August. The Journey will connect communities all along the rail line from the Bakken oil fields and Powder River Basin coal mines, through the Salish Sea and up into Canada’s tar sands.

Click here to support this powerful journey now.

The scheduled events are listed here. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. This schedule will be confirmed with times for each event shortly, so please subscribe to our mailing list to be sure you’re notified when the journey is passing through your community.

  • Sunday, 17 August, 9:30am: BELLINGHAM — Inaugural Blessing at the Lummi Nation
  • Sunday, 17 August, evening: VANCOUVER — Tsleil-Waututh blessing in British Columbia
  • Thursday, 21 August: White Earth, Minnesota — Blessing, tribal only
  • Friday, 22 August, morning: MINNEAPOLIS — Blessing ceremony and mural display
  • Saturday, 23 August: Yankton, South Dakota — Blessing, tribal only
  • Monday, 25 August: BILLINGS — New stop, venue to be announced
  • Tuesday, 26 August, 11am – 12:30pm: SPOKANE — Ceremony and statement of the clergy at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral
  • Wednesday, 27 August: Yakama Nation — Blessing, tribal only
  • Thursday, 28 August, morning: OLYMPIA — Blessing and ceremony in memory of Billy Frank, Jr.
  • Friday, 29 August — 11am – 12:30pm: SEATTLE — Blessing and ceremony at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill
  • Events in Canada to follow, 31 August through 6 September, more to be announced soon.

These events will incorporate Native American traditional values and knowledge as well as a cross-cultural dialogue with the broader community about what’s at stake with fossil fuel extraction, export, and consumption. The Journey will offer opportunities for informational meetings and rallies of support with local leaders and community members.

Thank you for following this Totem Pole Journey. We are blessed to have your support.

Join the Mailing List

Recent Press

28 September 2013: The Bellingham Herald, “Totem Pole Provides Anti-Coal Focus at Cherry Point

26 September 2013: The Bellingham Herald, “Healing Pole Serves as Rallying Point for Anti-Coal Movement

26 September 2013: NPR / OPB / KUOW, “Lummi Tribal Carver takes Giant Totem Pole on Healing Journey

25 September 2013: The Olympian, “Tribes Travel to Protect Sacred Land

25 September 2013: video of Olympia ceremony

25 September 2013: Journal of the San Juans, “Lummi Wield Art in Battle against Coal

24 September 2013: The Pacific Northwest Inlander, “Protest Song: Northwest Tribes Unite to Decry Coal Development Projects

23 September 2013: USA Today, “Montana, Washington Tribes Join Ranchers to Fight Coal Mine

23 September 2013: Yakima Herald, “Yakamas Join Oppoistion to Coal-transport Proposals

21 August 2013: The Islands’ Sounder, “Lummi Nation Stands Out against Coal Terminal

Homecoming: blessings and ceremonies on Lummi land

Friday, 27 September: Free and open to the public

12:00 noon – 4:00pm: Northwest Indian College, details below

5:00-6:30pm: Xwe’chi’eXen / Cherry Point

The Kwel hoy’ Totem Pole Journey is a 1,700-mile, 16-day trip following the coal train rail lines from the Powder River Basin to British Columbia. The Journey’s goal is to raise awareness of the cultural, spiritual, social, and environmental consequences of the proposed transport, storage, and shipment of coal on Pacific Northwest Communities.

The totem pole, carved by House of Tears Carvers, was born on Lummi land.  There will be blessings and ceremonies as the totem pole and carvers comes back home for a day. Events will be held at the Northwest Indian College and also at Xwe’chi’eXen / Cherry Point, which is  the proposed site of the coal port and, too, is a fishing grounds and sacred landscape for the Lummi people.  After being blessed here, the totem pole will continue on to British Columbia, where it will be raised to stand sentinel over the Salish Sea.


WHEN: Friday, September 27, 2013

12:00 noon – 4:00 PM at Northwest Indian College – Parking available on-campus, behind St. Joachim Church

  • Meet & Greet Carvers
  • Invocation, Al Scott Johnny
  • Welcome by Candice Wilson, Vice Chair, Lummi Indian Business Council, & Justin Guillory, NWIC President
  • Blessing Song by Solomon Family
  • Interfaith Solidarity Statement, Deborah Cruz
  • Lummi Fisherman: Jay Julius, Elden Hillaire, Larry & Ellie Kinley, John Felix, Vernon Lane II, Rena Priest

4:30PM – Leave NWIC and Caravan with Totem Pole for a Blessing at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point)

5:00PM – Blessing Ceremony, Water Ceremony

6:30 PM – Depart from Cherry Point

Driving Directions to Xwe chi’eXen | Head West on Slater Road (Towards Barleans Seafood) | Right on Lake Terrell Road | Left on Mountain View Road | Follow Y to the right on Rainbow Road | Follow Straight, it turns into Henry Road | Left on Gulf Road/Powder Plant Road | Parking Attendants On-Site

Journey Schedule Announced

Events are confirmed for the following locations and dates. All ceremonies, events and blessings are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Details regarding exact location will be forthcoming.

  • Wednesday, 18 September, 10am: Northern Cheyenne blessing at Otter Creek
  • Thursday, 19 September, 3pm: ceremony in Missoula
  • Friday, 20 September, 11am-12pm: Spokane blessing and event
  • Saturday, 21 September: Celilo Village (tribal only)
  • Monday, 23 September, 11:30am-1:00 pm: Portland ceremony, Cathedral Park on the Willamette River
  • Tuesday, 24 September, 12pm noon: Olympia ceremony, Olympia Water Fountain
  • Wednesday, 25 September, 11am-1pm: Tacoma ceremony, St. Leo’s Church
  • Friday, 27 September, 12noon: Northwest Indian College event
  • Friday, 27 September, 5pm: Xwe’chi’eXen/Cherry Point blessing, 4600 Gulf Road
  • Sunday, 29 September: Tsleil-Waututh blessing in British Columbia

Our Jerusalem: Jay Julius

Does anyone believe that we would ever stand by while our sacred ground – our Arlington, our Jerusalem – is sacrificed for profit? Those who are promoting this ill-conceived project should understand the Lummi Nation will not step out of the way: kwel hoy’ (“we draw the line”).                                                                                  Continue reading

An Introduction

The Lummi people have  created a tradition of carving and delivering totem poles to areas struck by disaster or otherwise in need of hope and healing. Now it is Lummi Nation’s own sacred landscape, Xwe’chi’eXen, that needs hope, healing and protection. The most imminent threat to the burial grounds and treaty rights associated with Xwe’chi’eXen comes from a proposal to build North America’s largest coal port on this sacred landscape. The terminal would result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with treaty rights and irreversible and irretrievable damage to Lummi spiritual values. As a result, in 2012 the Lummi Nation adopted a formal position opposing the proposed project. As Lummi Councilman Jay Julius, in opposing the proposed coal port, has said, Kwel hoy’: “We draw the line.” The sacred must be protected. Treaty rights must be honored. Kwel hoy.’