For the House of Tears Carvers, totem poles are more than masterful works of art — they’re a medium for storytelling, for raising consciousness, for healing. The group of artisans from the Lummi Nation, one of the original inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest, has for decades hauled its masterful works of art around the country to unite communities around issues of local and national concern.
This year, they’re taking a 25-foot, 5,000-pound totem pole all the way to the nation’s capital. Organizers are calling the journey the “Red Road to DC,” a two-week national tour that will begin July 14 in Washington state and culminate in Washington, DC. Along the way, the House of Tears Carvers plan to stop with the totem pole at a number of sites sacred to Indigenous peoples.
Their goal: To protect those sacred sites from the existential threats of the climate crisis and extractive industries — and to ensure tribal nations have a seat at the table when decisions affecting them are made.