By William Walker
Many of you probably have never seen or heard of a TV show called Flipper. I’m sure that there are probably clips of the show on YouTube if you’re interested in checking it out. This program aired back in the sixties and unfortunately was a huge hit for the three seasons it was on. Basically, it’s Lassie except with a porpoise instead. The unfortunate part was that the audience couldn’t get enough of these three trained porpoises that played Flipper in the show. Aquariums throughout the world soon wanted and acquired porpoises, dolphins, and smaller whales as attractions. These animals proved to be extremely smart and could learn any number of tricks that would astound an eager public to spend their hard-earned money to see them perform.
Back in the seventies, a great injustice was done to the orcas of Puget Sound, also known as the Salish Sea. A round-up commenced of J, K, and L pods in Penn Cove near Coupeville Washington. The purpose is to separate the young killer whales from their pod families to be eventually sold off to entertainment parks and aquariums around the world. A few of these whales died from the trauma brought on by this horrible act of greed on that day.
The Lummi Indian tribe of western Washington considers killer whales as their ancestral brothers and sisters. And has grieved over the loss of these members of their tribe ever since. The captured whales on that day are all gone except for one. Her stage name at SeaWorld in Orlando Florida is Lolita. Her Lummi name is Tokitae And she has been a captured ambassador of her species ever since.
Being a Green Party member also means being spiritually green for me as well. And as a writer for the Green Party, I hope to incorporate ideas that I feel can help to bring back balance and natural harmony to our shared experience. In this case, that means joining the Lummi Nation and all the tribes of Washington state in righting this injustice. And that injustice is to bring Lolita/Tokitae back home to live out the rest of her years in her ancestral waters where her maternal mother is still very much alive and still swims to this very day.
I propose an alliance between the Lummi Nation and the Green Party in an effort to make this happen. A nonbinding initiative in 2023 be brought to the people of Washington state demanding the return of Tokitae to the Salish Sea.
An initiative such as this, though lacking any enforcement power of its own, would still bring the matter of Tokitae’s forced entrapment in Florida to a national audience, and perhaps even a world audience at the same time. She deserves our support and the chance to live out the rest of her life, no matter how short or long, with her Salish Sea family. I know that we can make this happen for her so I’m asking for your support!