News
Brownies support whales and dolphins

15 June 2018

Totem Pole's Long To Support Captive Orca

The Lummi Totem Pole journey for ‘Tokitae’ the orca (also called Lolita) held captive at Miami Seaquarium, it’s final stop. The Lummi Nation tribe has travelled more than 3000 miles to Miami to raise support for the release of Tokitae, the last surviving member of the endangered Southern Resident orca community held in captivity.

Tribal members were not allowed to enter and so were forced to stay outside Miami Seaquarium with their specially-carved totem pole, dedicated to Tokitae. They sang and spoke to her in their language and played recordings of her orca family's vocal calls. 

Tokitae was taken from her family in the wild and has been in captivity nearly 48 years.  She is in her 50s now and should be the matriarch of her own extended orca family in the wild, but instead she has been forced to live in solitude, without the company of another orca, since 1980 (38 years).

Tokitae totem pole

The Lummi Nation supports the ongoing effort to retire Tokitae to a sea sanctuary in her home waters, and recently joined the legal battle to secure her freedom.   The Lummi tribe consider orcas as their kin (orcas are the people under the sea) and view it as their duty to bring Tokitae home and return her to her family.

The Totem Pole protest group made stops in major cities along its route to Miami to participate in events and blessings raising awareness for Tokitae, her family, and their plight.  The Seaquarium continues to reject efforts to retire Tokitae and insists she is happy and healthy in the smallest orca tank in the USA.

More News