By Julie Lerner
Cascadia Daily News 

Lummi-carved totem will travel 2,300 miles for salmon advocacy


Last updated 5/4/2022 at 2:46pm

Hailey Hoffman, Cascadia Daily News

Dozens of people put their hands on the Lummi totem during a blessing from local pagans during the sending off ceremony at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship on May 3.

A 14-foot totem pole sculpted by master carvers in the Lummi Nation will travel more than 2,300 miles over the next few weeks as part of an advocacy campaign for salmon restoration.

The totem, which features a child resting on an orca atop two large Chinook salmon, was blessed during a ceremony at the start of its journey Tuesday night. Faith leaders from churches around Bellingham joined representatives from the Lummi Nation to pray over the totem and salmon restoration in the region.

Hailey Hoffman, Cascadia Daily News

Siam'elwit sings the opening prayer.

The totem is part of a larger advocacy effort from Indigenous nations across the Pacific Northwest. Tribes are calling for the protection and restoration of the Snake River and the Salish Sea by breaching four dams currently on the lower Snake River.

"We are on our way to go to the lower Columbia River and to the Snake River to do what we all have been fighting for a while now, to remove those dams," said Siam'elwit, a totem artist from the House of Tears carvers of the Lummi Nation. "We need to restore the salmon runs. We need to replenish the food for orcas, our beloved relatives."

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