The Lummi Nation of Washington held a blessing and send-off ceremony on Thursday for the 2016 Totem Pole Journey.
Master carver Jewell James created a 22-foot tall pole that will travel 5,000 miles to raise awareness of the impacts of fossil fuel development in Indian Country. One of the first stops will be the Camp of the Sacred Stones near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
“We need to be heard as many people and one voice,” James of the House of Tears Carvers said in a press release announcing this year’s journey. “We need to let them know they cannot in the name of profits do this to the people, the water, the land, and to the future generations. We will never give up. They must not pass!”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established the Camp of the Sacred Stones to protest the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which comes within a half-mile of the reservation. The pole is expected to arrive at the site on Tuesday, August 30, before departing on Friday, September 1. This year marks the fourth Totem Pole Journey It comes after the Lummi Nation successfully defeated a coal export terminal on its treaty territory in Washington.