Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Frank Quimby 202-208-7291
For Immediate Release; September 20, 2004
Brett Eaton 703-601-2554, ext. 111
Secretary Norton Accepts Liberty and Freedom Totem Poles from Lummi Nation

WASHINGTON - Saying they represented the ideals of the men and women who were killed on 9-11, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton yesterday accepted the gift of Liberty and Freedom Totem Poles from the Lummi Nation on behalf of the president and nation.

"These totem poles represent more than a memorial of shared mourning; they represent a living memory in our hearts, and a spirit we must pass on together," Norton said at the ceremony. "The spirit rose in each of us on Sept. 11. That sprit and the values it represents are also infused in the Pentagon wall before us, a wall shattered on Sept. 11 and rebuilt as a memorial to those who were lost here."

The totem poles, carved from 600-year-old cedar, are dedicated to the 184 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon and veteran and current members of the U.S. military as a sign of unity and support from Native Americans.

Norton also read President Bush's Patriot Day Proclamation at the ceremony. Also speaking at the event were Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Director of Administration and Management Raymond F. DuBois. Lummi tribal members conducted the traditional blessing of the poles and a family member of the Pentagon victims and a representative of the U.S. military made remarks.

The poles were carved by the Lummi House of Tears Carvers, led by master carver and Lummi Councilman Jewell Praying Wolf James. They were carved at the behest of Abraham Scott, who lost his wife Janice in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The poles were prayed for and blessed by many members of a number of tribes during their journey across country.

The poles contain carvings and paintings of animals and symbols with spiritual meaning to the Lummi. Eagles on the cross-piece are symbols of the two peoples; Bears carved into the poles represent courage and strength.

The Liberty and Freedom Totem Poles are the third set of totems carved by Jewell Praying Wolf James. The first totem pole was presented in New York City on Sept. 7, 2002, and was followed one year later with the presentation of a totem pole in Shanksville, Pa.

Secretary Norton at the Pentagon with (from left) Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum, Interior Assistant Secretary David Anderson and DOD Director of Administration Raymond DuBois.



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