JOURNEYS MATTER-AND SO DO STATE LAWS
July 2, 2021
On Monday, June 28, I was privileged to be a witness. I wanted to share what I saw and heard.
For 10 years, I enjoyed living among the Lummi and other Coast Salish people in the Pacific Northwest, during which time I served them as President of Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Nation.
As Tribal Nations, we all have our distinct cultural practices, and the unique practices of the Coast Salish people include witnessing. Individuals are selected to bear witness for a variety of reasons, including status in the community, family relationships, and the ability to share the news in many places. I was reminded of this when I learned that my good friends Jewell James and Fred Lane, both Lummi citizens, would be bringing a totem pole made by the House of Tears carvers at Lummi for the Biden administration through Denver as part of their pre-journey trip to Washington, D.C., which begins in mid-July. I am happy I was able to visit with them, to meet the others travelling with them, and to pray with the pole, because it carries the vision and dreams of so many Indigenous people and our allies to the Biden administration in the hope that they will act in ways that fulfill our dreams. That visit reminded me of the value of witnessing and of sharing what I saw.