The Natural History Museum, a museum that partners with Pacific Northwest tribal nations, has announced an outdoor exhibit and IMAX-style film screening of “Whale People: Protectors of the Sea,” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, at the Lummi Nation Stommish Grounds, a park in Whatcom County.
The exhibition and screening are a homecoming for the exhibit and award-winning film, which has traveled the country and is now returning to the place and people who visioned and inspired it.
The founder and executive director of the museum, Beka Economopoulos and Jason Jones, its creative director, are a married couple who moved from New York to Vashon last year, in large part to be closer to their Lummi collaborators, they said.
Economopoulos and Jones collaborated with another island artist, Oi Durahim, to fabricate the outdoor exhibition space and IMAX-style projection venue for “Whale People: Protectors of the Sea” at the Lummi Nation Stommish Grounds. Next spring, they said, they hope to bring the exhibit and film to Vashon.
“Whale People: Protectors of the Sea” features a 3,000-pound killer whale totem, underwater orca footage, multi-channel film projections, and footage from the First Nations-led protests against the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Narrated by the late Chief Tsilixw James of the Lummi Nation and Amy Ta’ah George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the exhibit and film tell the story of the environmental emergency through the figure of the killer whale. It also tells the story of the leadership of Native Nations in protecting the Salish Sea, its orcas, salmon, and humanity’s collective future.
On Oct. 2, the exhibit will start with a program of songs, blessings and Lummi leaders who will speak to the latest efforts to protect the sea, the orcas, the salmon, Indigenous lifeways and treaty rights, in the context of the climate and biodiversity crises.
The opening will be live-streamed at www.facebook.com/TheNaturalHistoryMuseum. For those who attend in person, COVID protocols include mandatory mask-wearing.
Launched in 2014, The Natural History Museum is a mobile museum that offers exhibitions, expeditions, educational workshops, and public programming. Unlike traditional natural history museums, it makes a point to include and highlight the socio-political forces that shape nature. Find out more at thenaturalhistorymuseum.org.