The Totem Pole Journey, an Indigenous-led environmental project, begins its tour with a series of events co-sponsored by the Environment Initiative and the Center for Environmental Futures.
Led by members of the Lummi Nation and the House of Tears Carvers, the Totem Pole Journey is a Pacific Northwest community experience that engages participants through ceremony, art, science, ancestral knowledge and intercultural collaboration.
This year’s events, titled “Se’Si’Le Snake River to the Salish Sea – Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey to a Solution”, and related art, media and events are the latest of a dozen trips of this type over the past 20 years. . The first trip began with a successful campaign to oppose fossil fuel projects in the region. Events in 2022 support the removal of dams from the Snake River and the restoration of the river’s salmon tracks, which is important to the Southern Resident Killer Whale community, known as Skali’Chelh in the Lummi language.
“The 2022 voyage builds on, strengthens and reaffirms the growing Indigenous-led environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kurt Russo, an event organizer with the Se’Si’Le. “The totem’s journey will engage intellect, emotion and imagination through an inspiring blend of generational voices and collective vision.”
Events at the University of Oregon begin May 5 and last through May 8:
- Science in Ceremony Symposium: 2-4 p.m. May 5 in the Erb Memorial Union Gumwood Hall.
- Art, Activism and Ceremony: a lunchtime presentation from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (packed lunches provided) on May 6 in the EMU Ballroom.
- “Whale People and Totem Pole” exhibition and IMAX-style film screenings: 8 p.m.-10 p.m. May 6 and 7, EMU Green.
Amplifying Indigenous voices in the conversation about environmental justice is a guiding principle of the Environment Initiative, which seeks to work directly with and within diverse communities.
“I am thrilled to play a part in supporting this incredible event that allows the UO community to benefit from the expertise of Lummi’s elders and cultural producers,” said Adell Amos, Executive Director of the Environmental Initiative. “The Environmental Initiative is deeply committed to tribal sovereignty and fostering reciprocal relationships that meet the needs of tribal nations.”
The Environment Initiative and the Center for Environmental Futures co-sponsor events on campus, along with several other groups and departments, including the Office of Sustainability, Department of Landscape Architecture, Department of art and architecture, the Department of History. , the Environmental Studies Program and the Department of Philosophy. Student-led partners include the Student Sustainability Center, the Native American Student Union, and the UO Many Nations Longhouse.
For more information on events, exhibits and presentations, check out the Center for Environmental Futures website.
—By Emmily Bristol, Provost’s Office