Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe held a ceremony this morning focused on protecting sacred places.
KX News was at the event, where tribal members blessed a totem pole that will soon be heading to Washington D.C.
The Lummi Tribal Nation from Washington state is taking a totem pole on tour before reaching Washington, D.C.
The most recent stop, number 111, was at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Tribal leaders want to spread the message of protecting sacred places and that starts with taking better care of our environment.
“Protecting the rivers, protecting our oceans, protecting our seas, and our lands, and our mountains,” said Freddie Lang, Lummi Tribe.
Lummi Tribe member Freddie Lang said if people don’t start taking better care of the earth, bigger problems are ahead.
“There’s a purification happening. If you can’t recognize it by the drought, by the wildfires; look around us, there’s only one way to say this to the world. If you don’t take care of yourself, mother earth is going to take care of herself,“ Lang said.
That message was important to tribal members and the community as they came together for the event.
“For the Lummi Nation to bring this pole here today; it’s another gathering of our relatives to stand together with the unified voice to share that message with those that have the responsibility,” said Charles Walker, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Judicial Committee Chairman.
“This is the first time that I’ve attended an event that features a totem pole, and it’s an authentic totem pole from the pacific northwest. It’s really powerful hearing the message of unity and coming together,” said Ruth Buffalo State House Rep. South, Fargo.
This totem pole stands about 24 feet tall, and weighs about 5,000 pounds.
“If you look at the top, you see the hands that represent the missing and murdered indigenous women. You see the diving eagle which represents the strength of our leadership, whether it be community, national, political leaders, tribal leaders,” Lang said.
The journey to D.C. is made possible by donations.
“People would just come by and give us donations just to give us fuel to get across the country and that’s the way it’s been going for 20 years,” said Douglas James, House of Tier Carvers Lummi Nation.
The Lummi Tribe will take the totem pole to DC on June 28th to present it to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
“Presenting this to Washington, DC is something that we feel like Standing Rock needs to be on board with this for the simple fact that every one of our tribal nations has an understanding and connection to these lands. The land doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the land, ”Walker said.