Members of the Lummi Nation carried a whale totem pole all the way from Washington state to Florida. Photo courtesy Our Shared Responsibility: A Totem Pole Journey

'Bring our sister home': Lummi Nation calls for release of orca in Florida



Carrying a totem pole from Washington to Florida

By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor
nativesunnews.today

MIAMI -- Members of the Lummi Nation carried a whale totem pole all the way from Washington State to Florida, arriving May 26 for events designed to raise awareness about the orca Tokitae taken from her Salish Sea habitat and held in captivity here for 47 years.

The 3,000-mile trek from the far northwest to the extreme southeast of the United States culminated with a “Children of the Waters Walk” to the Miami Seaquarium, where Lummi Chair Jay Julius, members of Lummi’s tribal council, Florida school children, and Miami residents took part in the mobilization.

“It is our sacred obligation to bring our sister, Tokitae, home to the Salish Sea to be with her family,” Julius pronounced. “Tokitae was stolen from her family, from her people so many years ago. She is a precious part of our family and important to the Salish Sea ecosystem. We must bring her home to be safely reunited with her family.”


During the walk and a gathering at Florida International University, posters abounded demanding “Free Lolita,” referring to the stage name given to her at the Miami Seaquarium, where she performs for audiences two times a day.

Some attribute her survival to her location near the ocean, with sounds and smells similar to her original home. She is the sole survivor of a 20th Century rash of young orca captures in the Salish Sea. The captives were shipped around the world to work in parks.

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