2017 Totem Pole Journey – Onward to Pittsburg

By Matt Fulcrumb

2017 TPJ Museum statueAfter a week of blessing ceremonies here in the PNW, Freddie Xwenang Lane, Jewell James and Doug James are now barrelling across the country to bring the newest House of Tears Carvers totem pole and an art exhibit to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, where Jewell will be speaking at the annual conference of museum directors and where the totem pole will begin three years traveling in an exhibit connecting Indigenous sovereignty and resistance to fossil fuel industries to our need to come together as communities to protect our future generations and the well-being of our Mother Earth.

The theme of the conference this year is the “Anthropocene” or era of human-influenced planetary change, a word that many critics point to as blaming our entire species (including “third world” nations, etc.) for climate change when, in fact, it has more accurately been a number of elites/elite nations, giant corporations and capitalism over the last 100 years which are most to blame for directing our planet down this perilous path.

2017 TPJ Museum BannerOne of the goals of this insurgent, Indigenous exhibition is to get the museums to reconsidering their investments in fossil fuels and to hopefully make it less tenable for fossil fuel industry types to sit on the board of directors of these museums and institutions. Another is to inspire those who witness the exhibit to rally together with their communities to take action to confront this global challenge. Did you know that more people visit US museums every year than attend ALL the big national sporting events combined? Wow, right?

It was great spending the last several days traveling with my friends Jewell, Freddie, Doug, Victoria Leistman, Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky and Dr. Kurt Russo to the PNW blessing events and to see so many passionate, engaged and active communities standing up to protect their neighborhoods, cities and the ecosystems around them. Wishing Fred, Jewell and Doug safe travels and clear vision as they bring the message of the Totem Pole Journey to the eyes and hearts out east an I look forward to seeing you guys when you return . . .