On July 29, NDN Collective joined the Red Road to DC cohort presenting the 25 foot, 5,000 pound totem pole to Secretary Deb Haaland. Numerous tribal delegations, leaders and community members gathered to welcome the totem pole, voicing the necessity of protecting sacred sites and uplifting the need for free, prior and informed consent by Indigenous peoples of Indigenous land.
The journey, which started on July 14 in Lummi, Washington with the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation, made stops at sacred Indigenous sites around the country, including in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where NDN Collective hosted a ceremony to bless the totem pole and the spirit of the journey.
You can view pictures of the final stop of the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey here.
“We are stepping into a new era of Indigenous policy and power. The delegation that traveled from across Indian Country made their way to DC with the goal to make it clear that we expect consent over our lands, water, and wildlife. Indigenous voices are not an just opinion, they are a decision, said Lycia Maddocks, NDN Collective’s Political Director. “Getting Indigenous lands back into Indigenous hands is achievable and it’s already happening with the recent bison range restoration and so many more examples. We hope our representatives heard us loud and clear - pass into law the requirement for free, prior, and informed consent with this nation’s Indigenous people.”
“It was a pure blessing to support and capture the final moments of the Red Road to DC Journey alongside our partner organizations Illuminative and Native Organizers Alliance. I was deeply moved to be one of thousands to experience the masterfully hand-carved and painted work of our Lummi Nation relatives in person, said Steph Viera, NDN Collective’s Social Media Manager. “What an honor it was to feel the deep spiritual healing and share the energy of those relatives who led and facilitated this journey from the start. Undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable moments in 2021 for Indian Country.”
"The Red Road to DC totem pole not only carried the prayers of those who laid hands on it throughout its long journey, but truly called everyone together who was in attendance yesterday. The mere sight of all the tribal delegations vocalizing the need for this administration to uphold consent by Indigenous peoples when it comes to our land is so crucial,” said Brandi Douglas, NDN Collective’s Senior Communication Associate. “It was such an immense honor to have been able to play a role in helping to capture the voices of tribal youth and elders alike who are a part of this collective effort. The knowledge, passion and ambition of our people has and will always serve as catalysts for change.
About NDN Collective
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.