We Will Rise Again: Lummi Nation Totem Pole Journey

By Alex Craven, Our Wild America Organizer

In 2018, the Lummi Nation hosted a Totem Pole Journey to bring back Tokitae – a killer whale captured off the coast of Washington State decades ago, separated from her pod, and currently held in captivity at Miami Seaquarium. A totem pole was carved for Tokitae and the Lummi transported it from Bellingham to Miami to demand her return.

In city after city, hundreds of participants turned out to be part of events and connect with the ceremonies centered around Tokitae’s totem pole and the stories behind the journey.  

The work to bring Tokitae back to her native waters in the Northwest continues.

Next month, the Lummi Nation invites you to participate  in gatherings dedicated to the vision of qwe lhol mechen (“killer whale”). It is part of their Xa Xalh Xechnging (“sacred obligation”) to  free the captive killer whale Tokitae from the Miami Seaquarium,  and return her to her family. The gathering is also dedicated to the survival and revival of her imperiled extended family—the Southern Resident Killer Whale population that live in our Salish Sea (Puget Sound) and rely on California coastal waters. It is ultimately a vision of resilience, truth, belonging, and healing for the qwe lhol mechen and for us all in a troubled time from which we shall rise again.

The Totem Pole Journey will be hosting events in the following cities:

Sierra Club is proud to stand in solidarity with the Lummi Nation and support their work to restore salmon and orca, and we sincerely hope you will participate in an event near you. Email alex.craven@sierraclub.org with any questions.