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Totem Pole Tour Stops in Chief Timothy to
Bring Awareness to Dwindling Salmon Population

by Brady Frederick
KLEW, July 15, 2021

Shoshone-Paiute Tribal Councilman Thomas Arnold participated in a sacred ceremony and tribal teaching at Shoshone Falls, the natural uppermost limit of Snake River salmon. CHIEF TIMOTHY, Wash. -- Thursday morning, young canoers from multiple Pacific Northwest tribal nations rowed out to the Chief Timothy Bridge. They welcomed a hand carved totem pole, arriving all the way from Bellingham, Wash., and Greeted by a crowd of hundreds.

The totem pole is touring sacred sites on its way from Washington to Washington DC. Each of the symbols on the pole represent a different issue faced by indigenous people.

Once the event begins, songs and prayers fill the atmosphere, speakers tell stories, artists paint a tapestry, and there's a ceremony honoring military veterans.

Before the day wraps up, the totem pole is blessed, before trekking forward to the nation's capital.

“They bring the totem, and they bring their support," said Julian Mathews, an organizer with NimiiPuu Protecting the environment.

Whether that be the protection of lands, or the plight of Native peoples.

Taking center stage today, the salmon of the Snake River.

“Its really dangerous for them," said Shannon Wheeler, Vice Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe. “We're one or two emergencies away from losing from losing a lot of (the salmon)."

Attendees showed support for breaching the four lower snake river dams. Environmental impacts have dwindled the salmon population, and as a result, the orca population.

Congressman mike Simpson's Columbia Basin Initiative has gained steam as a possible solution to the problem.

"It's a complex issue, with complex problems," Wheeler said. “I think we need to definitely educate one another on the needs of each of us."

He said these events help bring more awareness to their cause.

“Being able to share our stories and explain what the salmon are experiencing, and what our people are experiencing," he said.

After the event, the totem poll hit the road to Bears Ears, Utah. It will arrive in Washington DC on July 29th. You can learn more about the journey at

Brady Frederick
Totem Pole Tour Stops in Chief Timothy to Bring Awareness to Dwindling Salmon Population
KLEW, July 15, 2021

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