Kwel Hoy': We Draw the Line - A Totem Pole Journey to fight Big Coal!

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In September, the Lummi community will undertake a Totem Pole Journey to raise awareness and opposition to a proposed coal terminal on their sacred lands.
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Cathy Lehman
Environment
Bellingham, Washington
United States
5 Team Members

Kwel hoy': We Draw the Line

The burial grounds and treaty rights of the Lummi Nation are threatened by a proposal to build North America's largest coal terminal on their sacred landscape at Cherry Point (Xwe’chi’eXen.) If built, coal would be dumped on a historic burial site and would pollute the nearby fishing grounds. The Lummi community needs your help to stop this!

Cherry Point is a high bluff above the Salish Sea overlooking the San Juan Islands of Washington State. The waters below are home to one of the best crab fisheries along the coast and provide food for salmon and Orca whales. This fishery sustains many tribal families but those jobs would be lost if up to 55-million tons of coal is shipped over the waters.

And so the Lummi Nation has said 'no' to big coal. 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’.

A Totem Pole Journey

Help the Lummi Nation stop coal export by supporting this campaign!

The 'House of Tears' carvers of the Lummi community 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 Lummi Nation’s Master Carver, Jewell Praying Wolf James, will carve a Totem Pole of spiritual healing. 

The Totem Pole and witnesses will travel 1,200 miles from September 15-29, from the coal mines in Montana to the proposed coal terminal on the coast in Washington, connecting communities and asking for blessings along the way. Journalists, photographers and a documentary film crew will be invited along for the journey. 

The Journey will conclude in British Columbia, where the totem pole will be placed in the homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, demonstrating unity with the Canadian First Nations’ position opposing the transport of Tar Sands by pipelines across their territories. There, Tribes and First Nations that have travelled from all directions will meet the totem pole. It will be placed as a means of reinforcing the message: Kwel hoy.’ “We Draw the Line.”

We Need Your Help

You can help the Lummi Nation stop coal export by supporting this campaign! We are looking for $35,000 from this IndieGoGO effort, although full Journey expenses are roughly $190,000 with much of that being in-kind contributions. All funds raised here will go directly to Journey expenses and to carving and transporting the Totem Pole. 

In addition, we need to spread the word far and wide about this important and timely story of the Lummi Nation. Please make some noise! Take a moment and use the IndieGoGo share tools to promote our link on social media, and ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues to join you in support of the Lummi Nation’s opposition to Big Coal!

Together, we can help the Lummi Nation say, Kwel hoy’: “We Draw the Line!”

Join us along the Journey

Please join us at one of the powerful events along the way:

  • Northern Cheyenne: September 18, 10:00 a.m. 
  • Missoula: September 19, 4:00 p.m. Missoula County Courthouse, 200 W. Broadway, Missoula.
  • Spokane: September 20, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Tribal. The event is open to the public from 11:00 - 12:00. Havermale Point, east end of Riverfront Park, Spokane.
  • Celilo Village: September 21. Tribal, closed to the public.
  • Yakama Nation: September 22. Tribal, closed to the public.
  • Portland: September 23. 5:00 p.m. Cathedral Park in Portland. N. Edison St & Pittsburg Ave in N. Portland.
  • Olympia: September 24. Noon to 1:00. Tivoli Fountain, northeast of the Legislative Bldg, alongside Capital Way on the west campus.
  • Tacoma: September 25. 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. St. Leo Catholic Church, 710 South 13th St, Tacoma.
  • Seattle: September 26. Time and location in progress.
  • Xwe'chi'eXen/Cherry Point: September 27. 5:00 p.m.

The Full Story

Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) is a sacred landscape in NW Washington that has deep spiritual and cultural significance to the people of the Lummi Nation. Overlooking the world-famous San Juan Islands, it includes ancient reef-net sites and a 3,500 year-old village site. The Hereditary Chief of the Lummi Nation, tsilixw (Bill James), describes it as the “home of the Ancient Ones.” It was the first site in Washington State to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Coal interests plan to construct North America's largest coal export terminal on this site, above the "home of the Ancient Ones." This proposal would haul 55-million tons of coal, from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, to this bluff overlooking the San Juans. These long, heavy rail cars would travel through Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington, up the Columbia River gorge and through Tacoma and Seattle to the NW Washington coast. Once there, coal would be loaded onto some of the largest bulk carriers in the world to ship the coal up the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, to China.

Construction of this massive coal terminal will result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with Lummi Nation burial grounds and treaty rights, and irreversible and irretrievable damage to their traditional fishing waters and spiritual values.

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’.

Please visit www.totempolejourney.com for more information. 


Find This Campaign On
$16,660USD
raised by 303 people in 1 month
48% funded
0 time left
Verified Nonprofit
$35,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 27, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Kick off the Journey!

    • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos of Master Carver Jewell Praying Wolf James at work. • Receive status updates from the Journey. • Invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    33 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $25USD
    A Groundswell of Support!

    • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos of Master Carver Jewell Praying Wolf James at work. • Receive status updates from the Journey. • Invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    70 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $50USD
    Carry Us Along Our Way!

    • Postcard of Master Carver at work, mailed from the Journey. • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos, status updates from the Journey, and an invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    32 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $100USD
    Sustain Us On the Journey!

    • A 5x7 photograph of the Totem Pole Journey by photographer Paul Anderson (www.paulkanderson.com). • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos, status updates from the Journey, and an invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    33 out of 500 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $250USD
    Ensure Our Success!

    • A signed, limited edition 8x10 Paul Anderson photograph of the Totem Pole Journey (www.paulkanderson.com). • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos, status updates from the Journey, and an invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    2 out of 100 claimed

    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $500USD
    Stand with the Lummi Nation!

    • 16x 20 archival quality, limited edition photograph by noted photographer Paul Anderson (www.paulkanderson.com), to be mailed after the Journey (unframed). • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos, status updates from the Journey, and an invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    5 out of 50 claimed

    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Say NO to Big Coal!

    • A 9x12 oil sketch (unframed) of one of the landscapes along the way by artist Lisa McShane (www.lisamcshane.com). • Listed as a sponsor on the Journey website (optional). • Email of thanks with behind the scenes photos, status updates from the Journey, and an invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    0 out of 2 claimed

    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $2,500USD
    Draw the Line!

    • Invitation to ride in the cab with Master Carver Jewell Praying Wolf James on any 1 day along the tour (travel not included). • Listed as a sponsor on the Journey website (optional). • Email of thanks, status updates, and invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    0 out of 5 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $5,000USD
    Kwel 'hoy!

    • You and a guest will be invited to join us as witnesses at one of the powerful and moving Totem Pole Blessing ceremonies on one of the reservations (closed to the public, travel not included). • Listed as a sponsor on the Journey website (optional). • Email of thanks, status updates, and invitation to join us at our Cherry Point celebration on September 27th.

    0 out of 2 claimed

    Estimated delivery: September 2013
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