By ICTMN Staff September 5, 2011
On Monday, September 12, at Semiahmoo Park near Blaine, Washington, the Lummi Nation will bless the Healing Totem before it begins its 5,000-mile journey to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland. There it will be installed as part of an exhibit called “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness.” The NLM is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Healing Totem is being carved by Jewell Praying Wolf James, who is head of the House of Tears Carvers and a longtime leader of the Lummi Indian Nation.

The exhibition at the NLM will open October 6. James has previously created Healing Totems to commemorate the victims of 9/11 that stand today in Sterling Forest, northwest of New York City, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and in Washington, DC’s historic Congressional Cemetery.

For more information on the project, and to follow the progress of the Healing Totem, visit the Healing Totem Journey blog at(wordpress)

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I recommend you check out the link for wordpress that goes along with this news report. The Healing Totem Journey page on wordpress is very informative and has the full chronicle of the creation of the NLM Healing Totem and the stories that go with it.
I really enjoyed reading about this master carver Jewell Praying Wolf James and the work that is going into this Totem preparing it for it's long journey.

Installation of the Healing Totem at NLM

Bethesda, MD. (October 2, 2011) - The healing totem was raised in the herb garden in front of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Some clouds and rain did not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of the people that gathered to bring the healing totem to its final home. The installation included those who traveled with the healing totem during its 5000 mile journey to NLM and persons who attended to welcome the totem to NLM .

The day started early in the morning with the arrival of the NLM Exhibitions Program team, NLM Building Operations, and the Bonsai Fine Arts installation crew who began preparing the site for the installation. Joining with the artist, Jewell James and his team, the fine arts installation crew carefully prepared the healing totem for removal from the truck. The totem was wrapped in blankets to protect its painted and carved surface, strapped securely, and with the help of a 95 foot crane slowly lifted from its horizontal position on the truck to a vertical upright position.

It looked beautiful against the blue and cloudy sky. Then, the totem was carefully walked across the herb garden, positioned above its metal bracket, and slowly lowered into place.

Following the placement of the healing totem, a prayer ceremony was held for all who were part of the journey and a part of the installation of the totem. A prayer was given by Emerson Gorman asking permission of the ground and the spirits to place the healing totem on this spot.

Prayer ceremony after the healing totem installation.
A sense of peace, happiness and completion was felt by all who attended and participated. The healing totem’s journey came full circle from its beginnings in Semiahmoo, Washington to its final home at NLM.

Jill Newmark

Exhibition Registrar

National Library of Medicine

Photos by Deshaun Williams


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