Updates from the Road

August 9, 2021

Witness to the Climate Crisis: It is Time to ‘Draw the Line’

In this guest blog post, Indigenous ethnobotanist Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet/Métis), Ph.D. shares her observations, as a traveler on the Red Road to DC journey, on how the climate emergency is impacting Indigenous sacred places, and the need for urgent action. “What stands out most from the journey for me is the visceral, first hand experience of climate chaos happening right now on Indigenous lands and Indigenous peoples’ collective cry for action. It is time to ‘draw the line.’”

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Washington DC July 30, 2021

From the Washington Post: A 25-foot Native American totem pole arrives in D.C. after a journey to sacred lands across U.S.

A 25-foot totem pole, intricately hand-carved and painted by Native Americans, arrived in the nation’s capital Wednesday afternoon after a two-week cross-country journey from Washington state, as part of a campaign to protect sacred tribal lands. Hauled on a flatbed trailer, the roughly 5,000-pound totem pole was brought to the front entrance of the National … Read Update

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Washington D.C. July 30, 2021

We made it to DC!

A historic day: the Red Road to DC has brought the blessings, hopes, prayers, and urgent calls to action to the United States capital. The Red Road totem pole journey has connected and galvanized thousands of people, and has been welcomed and honored by dozens of tribal nations, Native grassroots groups, and allies. Today, the … Read Update

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Mackinaw City, MI July 29, 2021

From the road: Mackinaw City, MI / Stop Line 5

The Straits of Mackinac connect Lakes Michigan and Huron, and are sacred waters for tribal nations in the area, who have been fighting the existing Line 5 pipeline, as well as a plan to build a new pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac.

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July 27, 2021

Secretary Haaland to welcome totem pole in DC on National Mall

Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, will welcome a totem pole carved by Lummi Nation carvers at a ceremony and rally on the National Mall. The totem pole honors sacred Indigenous places and is a gift as well as an urgent call to action. Communities across the country are asking President Biden for immediate protection of … Read Update

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White Earth, MN July 26, 2021

The Water Strider: White Earth / Stop Line 3

According to the Anishinaabe’s Seven Generations and Seventh Fire prophecies, we are in the time when we have a choice between two paths. One path is well worn, scorched and leads to our destruction. The other path is new, green and leads to mino-bimaadiziwin (the good life). We must choose to walk the new path by saying “no” to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline and other fossil fuel investments, and “yes” to renewable energy investments. The path must be grounded in Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and a deep reverence for our Mother Earth.

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White Earth, MN July 26, 2021

From the road: White Earth Reservation / Stop Line 3

This territory is the headwaters of the Red River and the Mississippi River; the territory of the Great Lakes. For thousands of years, the ancestors of the Anishinaabe people lived here well. Now, the Canadian corporation, Enbridge, is proposing a new route for their Line 3 replacement across a pristine water-rich environment. Line 3 is a clear danger to the climate, water, and land in Minnesota, and would undermine the Indigenous treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people.

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Standing Rock July 25, 2021

From the road: Standing Rock

This weekend, our caravan was met by Bigfoot riders, their horses descended from the war ponies of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The riders escorted the totem pole to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Government Office, where council members talked about their efforts to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline and reclaim treaty lands … Read Update

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Standing Rock July 24, 2021

Íŋyaŋ Wosláta: Standing Rock

Íŋyaŋ Wosláta by Danielle SeeWalker (Hunkpapa Lakota and Citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) 12”x16” acrylic on canvas paper Website:  www.seewalker.com Instagram: @seewalker_ART From the artist: “Many know the name “Standing Rock”, but how many know how our tribe got that name? STORY TIME: Years ago, a Dakota man married an Arikara girl and they had … Read Update

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Standing Rock July 24, 2021

The Sacred Remains: Desecration & Resilience at Standing Rock

This video features conflicting perspectives on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s impact to cultural and sacred sites from the State of North Dakota’s Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). Their conflict–relevant to the Tribe’s ongoing lawsuit challenging the pipeline–illuminates some of the deeper tensions at play in struggles to protect … Read Update

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Black Hills July 22, 2021

From the road: HaSapa (Black Hills)

The Black Hills stretch across western South Dakota, northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana and constitute a sacred landscape for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Omaha. To the Lakota, they are the Paha Sapa, or “black hills.” These sacred lands were the casualty of one of the most blatant land grabs in U.S. history and continue to be the site of a legal and political confrontation.

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Chaco Canyon July 22, 2021

Video: Protect Greater Chaco

On July 18th the Red Road to DC caravan joined local organizations at the Counselor Chapter House in New Mexico for a live-streamed program and totem pole ceremony to highlight sacred sites at risk due to oil and gas drilling. We met with local hosts from the Diné CARE, Native American Voters Alliance Education Project, All Pueblo Council of … Read Update

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Bears Ears July 20, 2021

Totem Pole and Ancestors Meeting: Bears Ears

From the artist: “I wanted to show sacred land by depicting old broken pottery of our ancestors that lived on Bears Ears land.”  Michael Haswood is the current artist in residence for Utah Diné Bikéyah. Find him on Instagram under @MichaelHaswoodd TOTEM POLE AND ANCESTORS MEETING; Color pencil and acrylic black paint pen (2021) 

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July 20, 2021

Video: From the Ancestors to the Grandchildren

This video is featured in an exhibition about the Lummi totem pole journeys, on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Narrated by Phreddie Lane of the Lummi Nation, the video provides some context on what the red line, or Red Road, references.

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Chaco Canyon July 19, 2021

From the road: Chaco Canyon

On Sunday, the Red Road to DC totem pole journey joined local organizations at the Counselor Chapter House in New Mexico as part of our efforts to honor and protect sacred sites that are at risk due to development and infrastructure projects. We displayed the totem pole by Lummi Nation carvers and met with local … Read Update

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Chaco Canyon July 18, 2021

Woven Landscape: Chaco Canyon

WOVEN LANDSCAPE: CHACO CANYON by Darby Raymond-Overstreet (Diné) From the artist: This land is Sacred. Protection of the Earth is woven throughout our cultural teachings as Diné, and through this piece I want to share this vision of collective responsibility to protect what is sacred. As the land gives freely and abundantly to us all, … Read Update

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Snake River July 18, 2021

VIDEO: Free the Snake River

The House of Tears Carvers and Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment held a blessing ceremony at Chief Timothy Park by the Snake River on Thursday, July 15th, 2021. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers and their tributaries, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We … Read Update

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Bears Ears July 18, 2021

From the road: Protect Bears Ears

Day 3 of the Red Road to DC is in the books! A 12-hour travel day from Twin Falls, Idaho to Sand Island in Bluff, Utah. We were first received just outside Salt Lake City by representatives of Utah Diné Bikéyah who brought us food, made prayers for our journey and escorted us to Sand … Read Update

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Chaco Canyon July 17, 2021

Support from the All Pueblo Council of Governors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 16, 2021Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org The All Pueblo Council of Governors Stands in Solidarity with the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey to Protect Sacred Sites Albuquerque, N.M. – Journeying across the United States of America in Protecting Sacred Landscapes is a Totem Pole carved by the House of Tears Carvers … Read Update

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Snake RIver July 16, 2021

From the road: Freeing the Snake River

Today was a good day, on traditional Nimiipuu territory—the first stop on the #RedRoadtoDC. The salmon, central to Nimiipuu culture, are facing an extinction crisis due to aging dams and warming waters. Native grassroots organizers, elders, and Nez Perce tribal leaders called for the removal of the Snake River dams at this moving totem pole journey … Read Update

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Lummi Nation July 15, 2021

CNN coverage of the Red Road to DC

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.

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Virtual Journey: Alaska June 30, 2021

Salmon People: Indigenous Resistance and Resilience in Alaska

Join us at 5pm Pacific on Wednesday, June 30th for the first virtual event on the #RedRoadtoDC. Be sure to RSVP via zoom at this link to join us online for this special event. Salmon People: Indigenous Resistance and Resilience in Alaska: “Since time immemorial, the salmon have been sacred to the identities, traditions, and … Read Update

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June 22, 2021

Washington Post on the Red Road to DC

From the Washington Post: “For master carver Jewell “Praying Wolf” James, a Lummi Nation citizen, the totem pole is “a reminder of the promises that were made to the first peoples of this land and waters.” He said he hopes that people will “share in their responsibility to safeguard the sacred sources of life — Earth, water and sky.”

“It’s going to carry the spirit of the land it visits and the power and prayers of the people along the way to the symbolic heart of the nation,” said Beka Economopoulos, Director of The Natural History Museum in Washington State. She said keeping the pole in D.C. would make it a “monument to the protection of sacred places and a way of relating to the land.”

Judith LeBlanc, director of the Native Organizers Alliance said bringing the pole to the nation’s capital will encourage national leaders to “recognize what their ancestral responsibilities are.” “We sat nation-to-nation and signed agreements,” LeBlanc said. “We gave up land that mattered in order to receive health care, education and housing. Those treaty rights have been denied all through history.”

LeBlanc said she hopes the White House will “create a whole new reset with tribal nations by bringing us to the table to not just consult, but to come up with solutions” to protect land and water resources on sites sacred to Native Americans.”

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Bears Ears National Monument June 14, 2021


Washington Post on protecting Bears Ears

Sunset at the Toadstool Hoodoos in Kanab, Utah. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)   The appointment and confirmation of Secretary Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior (DOI) is historic in its own right and is one of the reasons the House of Tears Carvers, Se’Si’Le, The Natural History Museum, and Native Organizers Alliance … Read Update

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May 31, 2021

Red Road West Tour: Chehalis Tribal Days

The House of Tears Carvers and the #RedRoadtoDC totem pole made one final stop in the Pacific Northwest before heading south for the Port Angeles to Los Angeles (PA to LA) leg of the Red Road West Tour. The carvers were welcomed by the Chehalis Tribe for their Tribal Days, where they engaged community members … Read Update

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Bellingham, WA. May 24, 2021

Red Road West Tour: Friends and Neighbors in Bellingham, WA.

Neighboring the Lummi Indian Reservation, the city of Bellingham has played host to numerous Totem Pole Journey blessing ceremonies over the past two decades, consistently bringing out strong support from faith-based organizations, environmental groups, and everyday citizens. The House of Tears Carvers has longstanding ties with members of the Bellingham community, who stood by the … Read Update

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Seattle May 23, 2021

Red Road West Tour: Blessings and Ceremony in Seattle, WA.

On Saturday May 22nd, the Totem Pole Journey team and the House of Tears Carvers brought the #RedRoadtoDC totem pole to the streets of Seattle for two events and blessing ceremonies as part of the Red Road West Tour, which offers communities an opportunity to visit the pole before it embarks on the Red Road … Read Update

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Chemewa Indian School May 15, 2021

Interconnections: Residential Schools and the Totem Pole Journey

Master Carver Jewell James often speaks about the legacies of colonial violence in Indigenous communities. It does not take much to connect the dots between what happened in the residential school systems across North America, including the theft of thousands upon thousands of Indigenous children from their families and communities, to assertions of First Nation … Read Update

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May 14, 2021

Red Road West Tour (May 25 – July 9, 2021)

The House of Tears Carvers continue on the #RedRoadtoDC drawing attention to sacred sites and Indigenous rights with some blessing ceremonies in the western US ahead of the national tour to DC in July. For the most up to date list of events, locations, and times, please visit the Totem Pole Journey Facebook page. Tuesday, … Read Update

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Pacific Northwest April 29, 2021

Red Road West Tour (April 23 – May 24, 2021)

The House of Tears Carvers will host a regional tour this Spring to pay respects and offer an opportunity for Northwest tribal and non-tribal communities to visit and pray with the pole. All locations can be found on our Google map and event details and live-streams are posted on the Totem Pole Journey Facebook page. … Read Update

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Lummi Nation April 23, 2021

The #RedRoadtoDC National Journey (July 14th – 30th)

After much discussion, the #RedRoadtoDC planning committee has decided to push back the original cross-country journey dates due to the pandemic. COVID has been surging in Utah and New Mexico, and Navajo Nation went back on lockdown in April. The federal government also pushed back the date of opening things up for in-person meetings. With … Read Update

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