The Red Road is the path we walk when we want a direct relationship with Gitchie Manitou, the Great Mystery. A road full of ritual, prayer, and gratitude. A path one takes to know themselves more, in relationship to the world around them. Original Man walked the Red Road when Creator lowered him to Earth and gave him instructions to travel the world and discover what life has to offer and how everything is connected. To be grateful for life, all that it brings and teaches us.
Living life based on the Seven Teachings of our grandfathers, the Ojibway walk the Red Road through Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom.
These teachings give us a road map for a divine connection to ourselves, nature, and one another.
RED ROAD to DC
The House of Tears Carvers envisioned a journey across the U.S. to bring recognition to the need to save our sacred sites.
A 24-foot-tall totem pole was carved from a 400-year-old western red cedar tree. It symbolizes the challenges facing the earth and her people, especially the Native Americans whose stories are told during the dedication presentations in cities all over the country.
House of Tears Carvers are indigenous artists from the Lummi tribe in Washington state. In 2021, they are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Totem Pole Journey in the Spirit of Healing, Honor, Hospitality, Respect and Protection.
Our elder, Tom Sampson on Vancouver Island in 2002 reminded us, ‘The totem pole isn’t what is Sacred. It’s the gathering of the people around the Pole — that is what is Sacred.’ he said.
The pole was delivered to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Biden-Harris Administration to draw attention and action to sacred sites and Indigenous rights.
The fact that we are all here is not insignificant. When our nation’s capital was established, its policies were intended to exclude us, to assimilate us. Laws and policies were written without considering Indigenous communities’ challenges or their strengths, and we are working hard to undo so many consequences of these actions,” saidDeb Halaand, the nation’s first Native American Cabinet secretary.
July 14 Departure for the National Red Road to DC Tour
July 15 Snake River Dams, ID
July 17 Bears Ears National Monument, UT
July 18 Chaco Canyon, NM
July 20 Bear Butte, SC
July 22 Missouri River (Fort Randall Casino)
July 24 Standing Rock, ND
July 25 White Earth, MN
July 26 Bay Mills Water Ceremony
July 28 Washington DC
Tribal communities and Native peoples have been forced to defend the land, waters, and resources, from destruction and degradation for all of us. Sacred sites across Indian Country have been desecrated by development projects that move ahead without the consent of affected Native Nations or communities.
This has created a very real and growing crisis.
There is no time to waste to protect the most sacred places where Indigenous peoples pray, gather traditional foods and medicines, get drinking water, and visit to remind themselves of the ways their ancestors lived since time began.
We call on President Biden and Congress to direct all federal agencies to require the meaningful engagement and consent of affected Native Nations, early in the planning process, and before a project is approved.
Native Nations must be a part of the decision-making process. No more oil pipelines threatening water supplies without the consent of tribes. No more oil and gas drilling in ancient burial sites, without their permission. No more large-scale projects without tribes’ participation in planning and consent.
The U.S. must uphold the rights of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior & Informed Consent, as set forth by the United Nations.
Sign our petition telling President Biden and Congressional leaders to recognize the traditional, legal, and moral rights of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect sacred places.TAKE ACTION HERE, SIGN THE PETITION HERE
I was able to attend the ceremony in Washington DC on the 28th at Diamond Teague Park. The Earth Corps. hosted the totem pole on the pier. We prayed and sang songs of life and unity, charging the pole with energy for healing and protection of each other and our sacred sites.
The Power of Art
What an amazing statement of the power of art! This whole project started in the mind of group of people and unfolded through their visions, sweat, blood and tears. Listening to a video of Jewell James discussing the process and idea behind the #RedRoadtoDC really touched me as an artist and art educator. This is a great example of how listening to our hearts and taking our imagination seriously will help us shape and create the world we wish to see.
Aside from the beautiful totem pole, there was a large mural that had traveled the journey from Washington as well. People from all over the United States added their mark to this amazing mural which asks the question of us how do we connect with ourselves, each other, and nature.
Artivism marks a meaningful message in a public space. As it attracts people, it invites them to engage and sometimes get involved. The act of getting messy and play with paint sets an example of how we can break through our fears with spontaneity, trust, commitment, and creativity.
Melanie Schambach is the artist behind the idea of the mural. Her passion is in bringing people together in the name of sacred expression, through participatory painting.
How do we build capacity
to understand we are all interconnected?
“I believe societies and the environment are facing extraordinary challenges while the speed of change is faster than ever. New methods of engaging people, radical collaborating, and courageous processes that uplift the spirit through self-discovery, are some of the ways to contribute to positive change. With this body of work, I aim to challenge and re-discover the narratives of who we are, how we relate to one another, how we belong to the earth, and what is our shared responsibility.”Melanie Schambach
Migwetch to everyone who attended the ceremonies and who have signed the petition. Our sacred sites are powerful and necessary places to assist us in remembering our connection to the divine. This journey is one of remembrance. Lets remind ourselves what it means to be connected to one another, and to the divine.