Arrival of Coastal Totem Pole at Stand off at Standing Rock Brings Hope

By Ben West, Journey Organizer

Standing Rock — Instead of visiting a community in Northern Alberta’s Tar Sands the First Nations Totem Pole Journey tour schedule has changed so that they can join a community in North Dakota in the midst of a big scale fight of their own with a Canadian oil company and the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Many First Nations from across Canada have come down to Standing Rock in support locals in the community. “The is about unprecedented unity.” said Rueben George from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in Vancouver, Canada.

“When we arrived at the stand off at Standing Rock the tribal police escorted us in. When the totem came through the multiple barricade and made it to the camp people had tears in their eyes because we are coming together to stand up for what is right, for justice for indigenous people”.

Rueben along with has son 19 year old son Cedar and his 17 year old daughter Kayah are accompanying master carver Jewell James from the Washington State based Lummi Nation House of Tears carvers on much of this 5,000 mile Totem Pole Journey. Rueben and his family have travelled from their home in Vancouver. They are from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the people of Inlet. Rueben is the grandson of the famous Chief Dan George, Academy Award nominated actor and accomplished First Nations leader. Rueben is a spiritual leader and a family counsellor but has now spent years of his life dedicated to his First Nations communities Sacred Trust Initiative. This campaign is dedicated to stopping the drastic expansion of oil tankers in their traditional waters as the result of Houston based Kinder Morgan’s new proposed pipeline in BC.

The Totem Pole Journey tour will end with three days of events from Sept 5th to 7th in Winnipeg leading to the delivery of the stunning totem pole to First Nations elders and Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. The Winnipeg area has the largest First Nations population in Canada. Many First Nations people in this are involved in the fight against the highly controversial Energy East Pipeline.

You can follow Rueben and his family’s journey at:  Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Sacred Trust Initiative

We need to be heard as many people and one voice,” said Jewell James, Master Carver of the House of Tears Carvers. “We need to let them know they cannot in the name of profits do this to the people, the water, the land and to the future generations. We will never give up. They must not pass!

You can follow Jewell James and the House of Carvers Totem Pole Journey at the Shared Responsibility Facebook page:  Our Shared Responsibility Facebook

Or here:

Our Shared Responsibility Website

“Coast to Coast on both side of the border and around the world people coming together saying these projects are a problem for everybody. There is a better way for our future and for our families and that’s renewable energy and clean-tech which can solve so many of these problem. So why is anyone taking the side of these oil companies who are really just only benefiting the 1%” said George.

“I wont be from the generation that stops fighting. Everywhere you look we are winning! What a time to be alive.” said 19 year old Cedar Park, son of Rueben George.

Photographer Nancy Bleck has been accompanying the journey. Her powerful photos can be viewed at:  Nancy Bleck Facebook

For More Information contact Rueben George, Tselil-Waututh Nation – Sacred Trust Initiative Manager – Currently at the stand off at Standing Rock-with his family – (604) 720-4630
or
Ben West – Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative Communications Coordinator – Vancouver – (604) 710-5340
or
The Totem Pole Journey Media Hotline – (208) 907-1985 – Paul Anderson – Media Contact