By Richard Jehn, Journey Chronicler
Totem Journey 2016 visited Vancouver on August 23, stopping at Grandview Park in east Vancouver at 5 pm. The ceremony was punctuated by fiery words and challenges to the world that we are in crisis and that we must come together, one heart, one soul, to stop and then repair the damage we do to Mother Earth. About 400 people were in attendance at the event hosted by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
Rueben George challenged the entire audience and beyond to continue their judicious work to stop the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, as well as to join with the greater effort to protect Mother Earth and to end fossil fuel extraction activities that are so severely damaging our planet. Tsleil-Waututh environmental lawyer, Eugene Kung, spoke about all the work he has done to bring the legal challenges for the Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan pipelines.
Doug and Jewell James sang their song of the whale, Aich Shwalowem Siem, and then Jewell provided the audience with the most inspired and spiritual address about our sacred responsibility to the Earth.
Environmental activist Ben West had some encouraging words about the work to stop the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, which included a clear explanation of the origins of the company. He termed them “Enron in BC.”
Vancouver City Council member, Andrea Reimer, came as representative of Mayor Gregor Robertson. She told of all the city of Vancouver has accomplished to reduce waste, reduce water usage, and reduce fossil fuel use in the past 7 years since the city committed to be the greenest city by 2020. And she was clear that the Kinder-Morgan pipeline project would wipe out all of the progress the city has made.
Chief Phil Lane, Jr., Hereditary Chief of the White Swan Dakotas, continued the inspired words to action for us all. At the close of his powerful words for action in the fight for the environment, he urged us to remember that we are all sacred and we must all be treated and respected as sacred.
Actor Dwayne Howard, from Nuu-Cha-Nulth First Nation, spoke about his desire for greater spirituality to help us all with reconnecting to Mother Earth and to the Creator.
Cedar Parker of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation represented with his words as a teenager who faces the serious challenges that our use of fossil fuels is leaving for his generation.
The event culminated in a drum circle that continued for an hour as participants came to touch the pole and share their blessings and prayers with the pole and each other. It was a profoundly moving event with intense memories that will last a lifetime for anyone who attended. And the event inspired many to take action to ensure a future for their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s grandchildren.
Our deepest thanks to all who attended and for all you are doing in this struggle for our future.