On April 24 at the Watershed Institute in Pennington, NJ, Friends joined a gathering of over 75 in support of clean water and the environment. Led by tribal elders, scientists, children, and museum representatives, the occasion was the opening ceremony for the “Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line” traveling exhibition which is to remain at the Institute until the end of August. Chief Perry of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, which has opposed the Pilgrim Pipeline, led with history, blessings and the beginning of a stone altar. Elder Doug James of the Lummi Nation from the Pacific Northwest led in the unveiling of a massive carved totem pole. Young children were excited to remove the cloth from the totem pole and wonder at its appearance. Elder James told stories of the components of the totem pole. On top is a carving which can be imagined in the full moon, of a person with two feathers in prayer. The next segment represents people of various skin tones. Bear, who was too greedy and almost wiped out the salmon, is represented in another segment. Freddie Lane, also of the Lummi, recommended the YouTube video “The Earth is Alive”
, a message from the Coast Salish People. Many scientists, in white coats, lined up in solidarity with water protectors in opposing the Penn East pipeline. A scientist from Princeton added to the concern for clean water, stating that we must recognize that all pipelines leak, methane is a greenhouse gas, and that construction of these pipelines locks us into fossil fuel use.
Chief Perry led in the construction of a stone altar to which the participants each added a stone, with each stone representing a personal prayer for the protection of water. The event continued indoors where numerous videos of contemporary fossil fuel related struggles were showing. The Lummi totem journey has been credited with defeating a major coal port. More information and pictures are available at www.thewatershed.org