Orca Tokitae's remains return home to Washington, Lummi Nation to scatter ashes in Salish Sea

The remains of the beloved orca Tokitae have returned to her native Washington state and the Lummi Nation held a private event to commemorate her homecoming.

Tokitae's sudden passing at the Miami Seaquarium in August marked the end of her more than 50 years in captivity, during which she was initially captured off Whidbey Island.

Tokitae died as plans were being made for her return home to Puget Sound.

On Saturday, Lummi Nation police will escort the cremated remains of Tokitae to Fisherman's Cove in Bellingham, where a traditional water ceremony will take place to scatter her ashes.

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Lolita the killer whale, also known as Tokitae and Toki, performs a trick during a training session inside her stadium tank at the Miami Seaquarium on July 8, 2023, in Miami. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


The chairman of the Lummi Nation, Tony Hillaire, expressed the community's desire for privacy during this solemn weekend ceremony.

"Her entire life, she was taken from us and showcased in a small tank," Hillaire said. "We don't want her to be on show anymore. We'll be spreading her ashes throughout the Salish Sea, and I'm not sure what specific area or areas that will be yet. We're going to follow the guidance of our elders."

While the Lummi Nation is planning a public event to celebrate Tokitae's life, the details of that gathering have not yet been released.

Tokitae's timeline