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Totem pole stops by Central Coast on tour heading to Washington, D.C.

Totem Pole heading to Washington, D.C.
Posted at 10:46 PM, Jun 08, 2021

A hand-carved totem pole stopped by the Central Coast Tuesday on its way to Washington, D.C.

Jewell James, a member of the Lummi Nation in Washington state, carved the totem pole in honor of Deb Haaland being appointed U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Haaland — a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe in New Mexico — is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary.

The totem pole is being towed on a flatbed and will be delivered to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

James hopes it will also remind Biden Administration officials and the general public of the issues facing Native American nations, including sacred sites being vandalized, water contamination and missing indigenous women and children.

"We're trying to create an awareness amongst the viewing public and were trying to get people more emotionally involved," James said. "I think the pandemic has pacified a lot of people and a lot are just now starting to come out but the issues havent gone away and we have to continue to work on these matters."

The tour to the Smithsonian Institution began in San Francisco and will continue to Los Angeles this week for another event.

James carved totem poles from Western Red Cedar trees and some can take up to 1,000 hours to finish.