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Ancestral wisdom for a healthy long life

This statue of Chief Seattle is in my neighborhood. I like to sit in the square
by the fountain. The Chief’s name was actually Ts’ial-la-kum’ in his native
Salish language,but settlers could not wrap their tongues around it. Nonetheless,
the Chief befriended the settlers and signed a treaty granting all the land for
what is now my hometown to the US. The settlers named Seattle in his honor.
They gave Chief Seattle many reasons to regret his generosity and cooperation,
but, I think, today he is happy.

Nearby, at Seattle Center, the 1962 World’s Fair Grounds and now the cultural
and community heart of the city, Chief Seattle’s lineal nephew introduced the
selected the ancient red cedar for the pole, (It had fallen in the nearby forest),
designed, and carved the healing totem for the NLM’s Native Voices exhibition.

I was honored to participate in this first of nine ceremonies planned to bless the 20 ft tall totem pole
as James hauls it on a 4438 mile journey from the land of the good rain across the country to its
permanent home on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. James said the
purpose of the totem pole and its journey is to bring healing, peace and hope to all people throughout
the nation. The exhibition intends to protect and preserve traditional knowledge and medicine.
For example, James said,

Healing is intertwined with self-respect, family, spiritual balance and connection to the land,
so individual health cannot be separated from community wellness.

Each individual is responsible for his/her health. And community is the source of healing.

You can follow the journey at http://nlmtotem.wordpress.com/

Native Voices: Native People’s Concepts of Health and Illness presents in one hundred interviews with
tribal members, Hawaiian and Alaskan natives the Nation’s ancestral wisdom on prevention, treatment
and a long healthy life. It opens October 6. ss
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