Lummi Nation protests outside Miami Seaquarium for release of Lolita

Miami Seaquarium insists orca would never survive journey home

MIAMI – Members of the Pacific Northwest Lummi tribe, who are fighting to liberate Lolita the killer whale from captivity were marching again Friday at Miami Seaquarium.

To the Lummis, Lolita is family. They consider her to be a member of their tribe and say those who took her violently ripped her away from her family and sold her to the Seaquarium, which violated their treaty rights. 

They now want her home where they said she belongs. 

Delegates from the Lummi Nation were joined Friday by South Florida animal rights activists who've lobbied for Lolita's release from the Seaquarium for more than 20 years. 

Lolita is now 53 years old. She's been held at the Seaquarium for 48 years in the smallest whale pool in the country.  

The Lummis will travel cross country with a special 16-foot totem pole they carved last year dedicated to this mission. 

They say they are resolved to giving Lolita back the life they say was stolen from her in the Pacific Northwest and want to see her swim with her mother and pod again, as well as be able to eat fresh salmon.

"This is our sacred obligation to bring her back," said Freddie Lane, a Lummi Nation council member. 

Miami Seaquarium insists Lolita is well-cared for, and would never survive the journey back to the waters where she was captured. 

About the Author:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.