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Transcript: Tree Blessing

Jewell James
We’re up here in Mt. Baker, Snoqualmie, the United States Forest, and behind me is an old-growth western red cedar. At one time the cedars went all the way to the shoreline, and they’re a couple thousand years old. The trees were so thick, you couldn’t walk through the forest – the old growth – but most of the forest has been logged and so – there’s quite a few old-growth cedars yet, but they’re hard to come by, and so we worked with the US Forest Service here, and there’s one tree that fell from this spot. It got undermined by all the wind and the rain and the snow and it finally fell.
But this tree behind me is also going to fall, and it’s undermined – about 60 percent of its root wad is exposed to the elements so when we talked to the Forest Service, they said we could have this log for the National Library of Medicine project as well, and so we’re really fortunate to have some elders from the Lummi nation and some trained traditional young persons from the Navajo nation that have come here to help us pray for this this tree here and the one that’s already down.
An elder
We come here today to pay honor. This man that’s going to take you home, not to take your life but to give you new life, to transform you that you will bring home peace to our people throughout the nation.
When we come and take a tree out of the forest, we’re supposed to be appreciative. We’re supposed to be respectful, and we’re supposed to humbly ask permission to take this tree, because the forest is full of medicine and the cedar tree is just one more of the medicine people.

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Discover the interconnected relationships between health, illness, and cultural life in Native communities.