Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Gorge residents touch the 22-foot cedar totem pole carved by Bellingham carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation.
As of Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Gorge residents touch the 22-foot cedar totem pole carved by Bellingham carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation, in its visit Tuesday to Hood River.
Following a one-hour gathering of speakers and music at Riverside Community Church, the congregation of about 100 people moved outside to State Street for a blessing of the totem on its journey.
The journey from Bellingham to Wyoming is designed to raise awareness of fossil fuel exports. Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, and Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network hosted the visit.
Speakers included Lana Jack of Celilo Village, who provides outreach to Native villages through her group, Columbia River Indian Center, who compared the potential damage from the coal industry to the destruction of the sacred Celilo Falls, east of The Dalles, from inundation when the Dalles Dam was built in 1957.
With her are Lorraine Bays of Seattle, from the Cherokee nation, and carver Jewell James and, far right, his brother, Doug James. The totem being donated by the Lummi Nation’s House of Tears Carvers and will make stops at each of the proposed coal ports in Oregon and Washington as well as in tribal communities and places of worship.
It also stopped at Celilo Village and Boardman. The totem pole is destined for the Power River Basin, the source of the proposed coal that would be transported across the Pacific Northwest to Montana. The totem pole journey began Aug. 21 in Vancouver, B.C..
The Lummi and supporters are trying to stop the proposed coal export terminal from being built at Xwe'chi'eXen, or Cherry Point, near Bellingham, the ancestral sites and traditional fishing grounds of the Lummi Nation. On Tuesday, a Lummi song and prayer were also said in front of the salmon memorial banner, installed in front of Riverside on Tuesday as part of the totem visit.