9/11 Healing Pole Will Stand Tall in Monroe Park

Monroe, September 4, 2002

It has been wending its way across the northern United States on a trailer for almost two weeks now, a one-ton symbol of strength and renewal for families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11.

It's a colorful, 13-foot-tall totem pole, carved by members of the Lummi Nation in northwestern Washington state, near the Canadian border. Its final destination, 3,000 miles from the reservation, is Arrow Park in Monroe, where it will stand beside a lake.

The "healing pole," as it's called, was designed by Jewell Praying Wolf James, a Lummi master carver. He and ten other tribe members, working in front of his house on the 12,500-acre Lummi reservation, spent one month this summer crafting the totem pole from a 140-year-old cedar log donated by an Oregon timber company. Chris McKenna, Times Herald-Record, Read Full Article



The pole was raised beside Arrow Lake. Families who lost loved ones on Sepember 11 were invited to attend. Arrow Park was chosen partly for its proximity to Sterling Forest State Park, and being just one hour north of Manhattan. The location had significance because the Lummis have been involved with groups that worked to preserve Sterling Forest. It is a connection that evolved with similar activities to preserve Arlecho Creek Forest near their reservation, located one hour north of Seattle in Washington State.

Arrow Park was also deemed an appropriate site for the healing pole because programs for the bereaved have been held there both before and after the World Trade Center attacks. Arrow Park has long been a place of retreat for firefighters, first responders, police forces, caregivers, memorial and heritage groups, numerous other organizations and individual families.

During the ceremonies of the day, white pine trees were planted in Arrow Park in memory of the victims with family members participating. And, the Lummi Indians held a ceremony with members of other American Indian tribes to dedicate the healing pole.

Two additional Healing Poles were also carved by the Lummi Tribe honoring the victims of the New York Tragedy. In 2003, they delivered an Honoring Pole to the Shanksville, PA site where United Flight 93 crashed after the passengers tried to take control of the hijacked plane from terrorists. A third, actually a series of totems, Liberty and Freedom Poles, were received at the Pentagon in 2004. It now resides in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.



Arrow Park continues to be a place for healing, solace, memorial, remembrance and bereavement. The Lummi Memorial on Arrow Lake puts a stamp on that fact, highlighting Arrow Park as “a place of sanctuary, beautiful light, quiet and private reflection for families and children.” For the Native Americans, and everyone... it serves as a sacred place. Like all forests the memorial site is filled with the chaos of trees fallen by disease, sudden death from lightening or heavy snows and other causes. But the forest is also filled with rebirth, new life and hope - the essence of a sacred landscape.”

– Orange County Trust


Excerpt from Dedication Day Program




In 2011, the Lummis carved a special healing totem which now resides in the herb garden of NLM (National Library of Medicine), Bethesda, Maryland. As the totem traveled from one side of the country to another, stops at Native Reservations and  existing memorial sites were made. The Bethesda NLM pole made it's stop at Arrow Park September 30. (Video Courtesy of Native Voices)

Planting pine trees, 2002.

Courtesy: United States Forest Service

Offerings at the unveiled totem, 2002.

Courtesy: United States Forest Service


Many events on the grounds of Arrow Park are meant for “families only” – no politicians, no press nor general public. If you happen to be on the property during an event, please be respectful and courteous. Always stop by the Main Office (located in the Mansion) when entering the property so that we are aware of your visit. It is advisable to call ahead.