My Heart Soars

by August 27, 2015

Listening to Jewell James — a descendant of Chief Seattle — speak at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon recently, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the leader of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in North Vancouver, British Columbia is the grandson of famed Hollywood actor Chief Dan George. Along with Lummi Nation leader, orator and master carver Jewell James, Chief Reuben George has been in the news, leading the fight to prevent Kinder Morgan from destroying the Salish Sea with Tar Sands bitumen.

Accompanying James on a 1,300-mile totem journey from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in British Columbia to the Northern Cheyenne Nation in Montana, is Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) president Fawn Sharp of Quinault Indian Nation, that is leading the fight against developing major oil train terminals on the Pacific coast of Washington state. As noted in my April 2015 editorial Railroading Racism: Warren Buffett vs Northwest Indians, ATNI in May 2013 adopted a resolution opposing export of fossil fuels in the Pacific Northwest.

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In addition to fighting Crude Zones, Sharp has been active in the international arena, both as a diplomat to the Global Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway, and to the United Nations headquarters in New York during the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, as well as at the 2008 UN climate change conference in Poznan, Poland.

As an actor and diplomat, Chief Dan George “worked to promote better understanding by non-aboriginals of the First Nations people.”

His spirit travels with the totem journey.