Lummi healing pole rallies coal opponents

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 26, 2013 

Lummi Nation carver Jewell James, center, with hat, is welcomed Tuesday at the Tivoli Fountain on the Capitol Campus. Jewell designed a 22-foot totem pole he is helping haul by truck as part a 16-day, 1,700-mile protest along SSA Marine-proposed coal export routes. He started in Wyoming and will end in British Columbia.

LUI KIT WONG/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

LUMMI NATION - A healing pole created by Lummi carver Jewell James and the House of Tears carvers will be welcomed to Northwest Indian College Friday, Sept. 27, near the end of a 16-day journey from Wyoming coal fields to British Columbia.

Events begin at noon with drumming and other ceremonial observances. Lummi fishermen as well as non-Indian supporters of the tribal position on the Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility are scheduled to speak.

The event is not sponsored by the Lummi Indian Business Council, but some council members plan to participate. The sponsoring organization is the Native American Land Conservancy, an intertribal organization.

After the ceremonies at the college, located at the east end of Kwina Road, the pole will be hauled to Cherry Point, near the coal terminal site, for a blessing ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. Lummi leaders say the site is a sacred home of their ancestors as well as an important present-day fishing area.

During the journey west, the healing pole and its creators have made a number of stops at other Indian nations to rally opposition to coal exports and coal trains.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or john.stark@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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