Indigenous leaders, pipeline critics to welcome sacred totem pole to Winnipeg

Today, Indigenous leaders will accept a sacred totem pole from the Coastal Salish peoples at Odenna Circle.

Lummi Nation gifts 1,300 kg totem pole to Treaty 1 people opposing proposed Energy East pipeline

Large banners and signs were prepared over the weekend to be used as part of a ceremony in Winnipeg Monday, where a sacred totem pole from the Coastal Salish peoples will be accepted. (CBC)

Indigenous leaders and activists will accept a sacred totem pole in Winnipeg Monday and hope to remind the prime minister of his commitments to First Nations and the environment.

The totem pole comes from the Coastal Salish peoples of the Lummi Nation in Washington. It has been gifted to those living on Treaty 1 territory who are opposed to the development of the Energy East pipeline, said Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with global climate movement 350.org.

"The totem pole has been journeying across the continent, stopping at various pipeline protests and different Indigenous-led fossil fuel protests," Thomas-Muller said.

The totem pole is coming from North Dakota, where it has been used during ongoing pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

Thomas-Muller said the arrival of the sacred totem pole provides a great opportunity to bring people together to talk about climate change and what can be done to stem global warming.

Clayton Thomas-Muller is a campaigner with climate justice movement 350.org. (CBC)

"We're going to march down Main Street with all kinds of 14-[foot] puppet effigies, beautiful banners carrying our message to remind Prime Minister Trudeau about his climate commitments, and about his commitment to renew the nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations," Thomas-Muller said.

"That certainly doesn't include expanding the Alberta Tar Sands or building more fossil fuel infrastructure like the proposed Energy East pipeline."

One of many anti-pipeline signs that will be carried through the streets of Winnipeg Monday. (CBC)

The seven-metre tall, 1,300-kilogram pole will be honoured during a ceremony at Odenna Circle at 3:30 p.m. and remain on Treaty 1 territory.

TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would ship crude from Alberta to New Brunswick. (Canadian Press)