Amid smoke, fire and destruction, a massive turtle leaps from misty depiction of the earth, a forested landscape upon its shell.

Smoke Signals: Messages from Mother Earth

Monday, October 9, 2023

Wex'liem Community Building
Lummi Nation, Bellingham

Celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day 2023

Join us in celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day as we learn from and honor the enduring leadership of Indigenous people near and far in caring for our Mother Earth. All are welcome to attend this free community event.

Event Schedule

5:00 p.m. Salmon Dinner

Free for all attendees 

Community vendors & artists

6:00 p.m. Event Program

  • Opening ceremony – Blackhawk Singers 
  • Youth Speaker – Santana Rabang
  • Keynote Speaker – Dr. Evan Adams
    • Coast Salish physician, and actor starring in the movie “Smoke Signals”
  • Closing ceremony – Blackhawk Singers 

If you don’t live in the area, we invite you to join us virtually and experience this cultural event with us. Please join the virtual audience at the Children SSP Facebook page or the YouTube stream.

Evan smiles wearing a black open necked polo shirt outside in the dappled sunlight.

Dr. Evan Adams

Evan Tlesla II Adams is a Coast Salish actor & physician from the Tla’amin First Nation near Powell River, BC, Canada. Evan stars as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in the hit movie, “Smoke Signals.” He has won multiple awards including two Best Actor awards. In addition to his career in the arts, Evan has a Medical Doctorate from the University of Calgary, a residency in the Aboriginal Family Practice program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC and a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. He served as the first-ever Aboriginal Health Physician Advisor in the Office of Provincial Health, served as the Deputy Provincial Health Officer for the province of BC, and is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority. In his spare time, Dr. Adams is a motivational speaker who offers perspectives from Indigenous realities, academia, medicine and the performing arts.

Santana, a smiling woman adorned with colorful Native American jewelry earring and matching necklace, stands outside on a sunny day.

Santana Rabang

Santana Rabang identifies as being from Lummi Nation, Nooksack Tribe, and First Nations Shxwhá:y Village. She is enrolled at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies where she will design her own major for the Bachelor of Arts Degree. This will allow her to create something that speaks to all her passions as an Indigenous woman. Her goal is to bring each of her interests together such as Indigenous Rights, Identity, Belonging, Environment Justice, and Decolonization to create a cohesive whole.

Currently, Santana works at Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC), where she serves as the Executive Assistant to the Secretary. She has always been interested in tribal politics, specifically Federal Indian Policy and the impacts it’s had on Indigenous identities. Santana is committed to finding ways to dismantle laws, policies, or ideologies that cause harm and further perpetuate systemic violence on Indigenous Peoples and their ways of being. She also wants to simultaneously create law and policies that protect and uphold Indigenous Rights. 

“Speak from the heart” is her life motto. Santana has spoken and emceed at many events including Indigenous Peoples Day, The Totem Pole Launch by Lummi House of Tears Carvers, Lummi Nation High School Graduation, Shuksan Middle School 8th Grade Tea, and the Washington Youth Challenge Academy Commencement. She’s also been interviewed by ABC News, CNN, King5, Seattle Times, Indian Country Today, and the Bellingham Herald. She is humbled at any opportunity to use her voice and grow her understanding of Indigenous knowledge, people, and place.

Future plans include furthering her education in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy, continuously creating a space where all Indigenous Peoples feel safe and heard, and overall finding ways to be an asset to her workspace, community, and her people.

Event Details


Wex’liem Community Building, 2100 Blackhawk Way, Bellingham WA  (360) 312-2000

Directions to the Wex’liem Community Building

From I-5 and Slater Road (Exit 260)

  1. West on Slater Road for 3.6 miles.
  2. South on Haxton Way for 6.5 miles.
  3. Continue on Lummi View Drive  for 0.9 miles
  4. Northeast on Blackhawk Way for 0.1 miles

Typical Travel Times

  • From Seattle WA: 1 hr. 50 min.
  • From Vancouver BC: 1 hr. 35 min
  • From Bellingham WA: 25 min

Free Shuttle Bus

Take the free community shuttle bus from Whatcom Community College.

  • Whatcom Community College Campus Map.
  • Free parking is available at Whatcom Community College located in the Blue Lot near the Auxiliary Building (ASB). 
  • Shuttle buses depart at 4:30 p.m. near the Auxiliary Building (ASB) and will arrive at the event at 5 p.m. in time for dinner.
  • The event is expected to end at approximately 8 p.m. Shuttles will depart Wex’liem for Whatcom Community College 15 minutes after the event concludes.

The Wex’liem Building is fully accessible. For additional accommodations, including interpretation and translation services, contact in advance of the event. 

Supporting Partners

This event is sponsored by the Community Consortium for Cultural Recognition. Many thanks to the partner organizations who contributed to this celebration.

Pull Together Swinomish, Swinomish Education Logo

Ferndale School District Logo

Whatcom Community College Logo
Bellingham Public Schools Logo
Bellingham Technical CollegeLogo
Western Washington University Logo
City of Bellingham Logo
Peace Health Logo
Northwest Indian College Logo
Children of the Setting Sun Productions  Logo