E Ala E! (Hawaiian for Arise/Awaken!)

Mar 1, 2022 | Beacon, Climate, News, Racial

Many of you will recall the day last July when the Lummi House of Tears Carvers blessed us by visiting East Shore bringing their totem pole and stories to share with us. Our site was one of the last stops they made before heading out East to deliver the 24 foot totem pole carved by Master Carver Jewell James to Washington DC. The Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey brought public attention to the need to protect Native American sacred sites, lands, and waters across the country. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, the first Native American to hold this position, received the pole, its vision and welcomed the message.

An important element of the journey was a commemorative mural created by Guatemalan social artist. Her collaborative creation involved hundreds of people who contributed images and words to the mural. If you were at East Shore the day of the Totem Pole event, you will recall the 18 x 18 foot canvas stretched out in front of the RE building. During and after the blessing, we were all invited to paint images, visions and symbols of what is spiritually central to our lives and how we connect to Mother Earth.

At the end of the Red Road to DC journey, the Lummi returned to Washington state while Melanie returned to Guatemala where she refined and finished this stunning painting. Its title, “E Ala E”, a Hawaiian expression, refers to the morning sun which awakens us to each new day when we can decide how we will live that day and do right by all—the people in our lives, the sacred earth, land, waters and all living beings.

To learn more about the process of its creation, you can watch this 2 minute video

If you are curious, you can also learn more about Melanie’s approach to her work which this piece expresses so eloquently by visiting her website at: https://www.melanieschambach.com/

Although this painting is finished, in future it will serve as the basis for further communication and events. For instance, plans are afoot to bring this painting to the UU General Assembly in Portland, Oregon in June of this year. Digitizing the painting and its many elements will provide opportunities to interact with, learn about and reflect on the themes it expresses. A coloring book with pages available on the website available for download is in the planning stage as well.

Everyone is invited to contribute to Melanie Schambach’s larger project by donating to the ongoing Red Road to DC Mural project. Please consider donating to:

Red Road to DC Mural
c/o Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
1207 Ellsworth St
Bellingham, WA 98225

If you write a check make it out to Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship and on the memo line write: Red Road to DC Mural Project.

For more information, contact Deb Cruz at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

by Marilyn Mayers, Indigenous Connections Team