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THE LUMMI HEALING POLE

AT ARROW PARK

Reprinted from the Dedication Day Program

September 7, 2002

 

Written by

Jewell James

Lummi Tribe Master Carver

THE COLORS

The colors of red, black, white and yellow are traditional paints of the Pacific Northwest Totem art. Red came from heated red earth (clays). Black came from various plants that were burned to a charcoal black. White came from various plants that were burned down to a white powder. Yellow came from the pollen off of cattails. All the plants were turned into a fine powder. This was then mixed with the oils from salmon eggs. The four colors represent the "four races" of humanity that were victimized in the attack upon the World Trade Center.

FIGURE 1: THE BALD EAGLE

The Eagle is the sacred symbol of Native American spirituality. It is also the symbol chosen to be representative of the original States that joined the Union. In its claws will be the thirteen arrows which represent the lessons learned by the 13 Colonies from the Iroquois Confederacy: strength through unity. The Bald Eagle is the figure that represents the sky power (Father Sky) of the Mother Earth religion of Native America. This figure, then, is "male." This figure will represent the fathers that died in the September 11th Attack. The figure will have the four colors incorporated to reflect the members of the four races that perished that day.

 

FIGURE 2: THE BEAR

The second figure is a Mother Bear. Walking on four legs, the Bear Mother is dependent upon Mother Earth and symbolizes the female aspects of creation. The Bear Mother represents the "mothers" that died in the September 11th Attack. All four colors will incorporated into the design to reflect the four races of women that died that day, and the fact that all four races contribute to our creative power.

 

FIGURE 3: BEAR CHILD

This figure is folded into the front of the Bear Mother. Her paws are resting upon the Bear Child's shoulders. Incorporating all four colors, the Bear Child represents all four races of children victimized by the attack. The Bear Child figure also represents the nurturing vision of healing through hope and the gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

RAISING THE POLE

All four races will participate in the pole's raising. A short pole raising ceremony will be conducted by the Lummi Indian Nation guided by the House of Tears Carvers. Underneath the pole will be placed red powder to symbolize the contribution of Native American people to the vision of democracy. Added to this will be Eagle feathers to proclaim the sacredness of the vision of government by and for the people. Once it is raised, the Lummi carvers will tell the story of what the pole symbolizes.

 

THE SACRED STAFF

A Sacred Staff will be carved and accompany the Healing Pole in its journey across the country. This staff will have the names of the tribes that come forward to bless the Pole with their ribbon and their tribe will added to the staff. It stands for the belief that conflict is never the solution and that peace and brotherhood between all people must be the legacy we leave for all the children.