Thursday 22 August 2019 | 8

Meeting with the Lummi Nation for Southern Orcas

Mis à jour le 11 November 2020

The San Juan Islands, Orca, Lopez, were the Lummi People's territory for more than 4500 years when the Europeans arrived. They were left only a piece of land on the mainland near to a swamp. These native American people, who are very in touch with Nature, considering the orcas of the South as their brothers and sisters "who live under water", this constitutes the Lummi nation. They invited us to a ceremony of rare depth.

Hr blog

We met with them shortly after filing a complaint for the release of Lolita, their sister who was taken prisoner in the waters of the Salish Sea in 1970 and has since been held at the Miami Seaquarium. They claim that it should be returned to them. For them, this capture is a theft from their heritage, and more. We told them of our concern about Inouk, and told them about our fight in memory of Valentin and Freya, who died in the pools of the French park Marineland. They greeted us generously and spoke words for them during the ceremony.

Brothers and sisters of the orcas

Shells poured from one hand to another, in a shamanic trance, Richard Salomon told us how the ancestor of his people went underwater dressed in a black and white coat like an orca, and lived their for a while. One day, he came back, put down his "orca coat", and became a human again. According to the legend, he asked his grand-mother if he could go back with the orcas. She agreed at one condition that he brought food to her every day. 

So, each year, at the same time, they visit him, with as an offering a wild royal salmon, called Chinook, just freshly caught and to whom they gave his freedom. 

A profound honour to attend this sacred ceremony

Invited to attend this traditional and very moving ceremony in tribute to the recently-deceased Southern Resident Killer Whales, Scoter (K25), Nyssa (L84) and Princess Angeline (J17) (Tahlequah's mother, bereaved, inconsolable of the death of her baby) we could see how dramatic the situation was. No royal salmon could be found near the fishermen that day because none had been caught. No southern orcas, either. And for good reason..

The extinction of the royal salmon entails the extinction of the Southern Resident Killer Whales

Between Seattle and Vancouver, off the coast of Anacortes, the Salish Sea has, over time, been drained of its abundant fish. The Lummi are also fighting against the construction of a pipeline wanted by Canada. The maritime area is already crisscrossed with tankers, which are so polluting and noisy ... We came across so many during the few hours of the ceremony that it was difficult to count them. They will be seven times more numerous once the pipeline is in operation.

With the last three deaths - officialised on August 6th, 2019 by the Centre for Whale Research - after a month without being seen anywhere, the last resident orcas of the South have gone from 76 to 73 individuals. Their survival is hanging by a thread

The ceremony still took place without salmon or orcas. A stone's throw away from the beach where his people lived for thousands of years, near a promontory which is a sacred burial site, surrounded by the Lummi police, a documentary team and our team, the shaman intoned the sacred songs, these calls and thanks to Nature accompanied by dances, movements taken from crabs with pincers raised up to the sky. A shocking moment in the face of the courage of this people who refuse to give up hope for those they consider their family. To save the orcas, according to the Lummi as for us, it is clear that humanity must listen to its heart and stop seeking profit at all costs.

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Here the ocean is dying and along with it the Southern resident killer whales

Comments 8

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Jocelyne | Thursday 22 August 2019


Karin erker | Thursday 22 August 2019

Stop die tierquäler und bestraft sie es ist furchtbar für die tiere

Touphane | Thursday 22 August 2019

Bonjour je soutiens votre association depuis des années à bientôt

trochu | Thursday 22 August 2019

C'est beau et émouvant et pourtant aucun gouvernement ne semble s'intéresser réellement et s'engager pour lutter entièrement en faveur de ces orques et de tous autres animaux voués à l'extinction si rien n'est fait. Pour tous les animaux exploités et emprisonnés, rendus esclaves par des humains et pour des humains. Que pouvons-nous faire afin de faire réagir et agir vite rien que déjà notre gouvernement ? Avec le réchauffement climatique, c'est la planète entière qui dépérit, qui se meure et avec elle un grand nombre d'animaux et ce n'est pas normal que rien ne soit fait et qu'un tel fléau n'entraîne pas davantage une prise de conscience de toutes les autorités concernées.