Lummi Nation Opposes Coal Terminal

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Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 9:53 am  //  John Servais

Folks gathered on the beach at Cherry Point at the Lummi Nation's invitation. In the background a ship unloads bauxite at Intalco.

Photos added - 9 pm - Tip Johnson has posted photos he took today and has added captions. 

Updated - 1:30 pm - from texts from Tip Johnson who is attending.  

Lummi speakers at the community meeting at Cherry Point - going on now - are saying everyone needs to pull together, not just the tribes.  The message today is to unite to protect these beautiful lands and waters.  Lummi ancestors will be honored by our actions and their messages will be shared.  The Lummi do not want to say "no" just to have the coal port go somwhere else, but feel they have a sacred obligation to protect Cherry Point.  And they are saying NO to coal.  

Al Scott Johnny is the main speaker, speaking the native language and then repeating what he has said in English.  Billy James is telling old stories of the importance of this event and Cliff Cultee is speaking of the need for all to work together.  

Tip notes that all of us residing in Whatcom County should be aware the Lummi are probably burning a check for untold millions of dollars the coal powers might have paid them, whether in cash or other projects.  This action by the Lummi is courageous and considered.  

Ceremonial Chief Jewel James admonished all to remember this historic day and be witness to what has been said.  

Craig Cole attended but left early.  He is the local fellow Goldman Sachs and the coal companies are paying to shill for them in Whatcom County.

Tip here, 10:39pm - Correction: Craig Cole stayed.  I failed to notice this error, sent as one of several texts during my time at the event.  I had seen Craig early on but lost track of him for a time and assumed he had left.  I later saw him again and failed to correct my earlier text.  Craig was definitely still there when I left, at the end of the ceremonies but before the lunch.  I would have liked to have stayed, but this day was full of surprises.  I had to move fast and got sloppy.  I apologize if I caused any misapprehension.

Tip here, 9:45am, 9/22 - Context and Correction: I commented that Dave Gallagher did a nice piece in the Herald.  That's still true.  I credited him with a great picture.  That's wrong. Phillip Dwyer of the Herald took the pictures.

Here's the context:  After reading Gallagher's story, which accurately characterized the event, I looked at the Herald's photo gallery and had to wonder who is writing the captions.  Virtually every caption includes the word protest, as in "Lummi Nation protest the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point."  That's wrong.

For one, let's just call it a coal port.  That's simpler. Second, let's be more accurate.  It's not a proposed coal port at Cherry Point, it's a coal port proposed at Cherry Point.  Let's keep it off Cherry Point forever, if possible.

Finally, the event was in no way a protest.  Yes, they said "NO" to the coal port, but the event was actually a promotion.  The words and feelings, the songs and ceremony protested nothing.  They spoke of preserving, protecting and promoting their way of life and how that meant potecting the water, trees and animals who share it and upon which it depends.  They spoke to Cherry Point as an example of how quickly resources can become depleted and how herring support the salmon and the salmon support the whales, and how the whales, and Cherry Point, figure prominently in the lore of Lummi creation. Taking a firm stand against an immanent threat to your way of life is not a protest.  It is justifiable defense.

It's insulting, demeaning and intentionally marginalizing to call this historic event a protest, again and again and again.  Shame on whoever writes the captions for the Herald.  Thanks to Dave Gallagher for getting it right.


Posted at 9:54 am, Friday

The Bellingham Business Journal has posted an online breaking news story that the Lummi Nation leaders are planning a community meeting this noon at Cherry Point to speak out against the planned Gateway Pacific coal terminal construction.  You can read the full article at the linked page.

Directions to the community meeting are included in the BBJ aritcle.  I phoned the Lummi Nation and learned that all are welcome to come and listen.

Friday, Sep 21, from 12:30 pm until 2:30 pm

Go west on Slater Road from exit 260 of I-5
Turn right on Lake Terrell Road to Mountain View Road
Turn left on Mountain View and Follow “Y”  to the right onto Rainbow Road

Go straight as Rainbow turns into Henry Road

Turn Left on Gulf Road/Powder Plant Road
Go to where the road meets the water and park

There was nothing in this morning's Bellingham Herald and nothing online at their site as this is posted.

Chairman Cliff Cultee stands with youth holding paddles from neighboring tribes. We all need to pull together in one canoe, he said.

It's non-negotiable - A check for untold millions.

Burning the check.

Chief Bill James and Al Scott Johnny talk about taking their stand.

Craig Coal, spokesman for the coal terminal, appeared to be taking notes or texting furiously.

A strong message for Goldman Sacks and Warren Buffet.

A sacred obligation!

Related Links:

-> 9:40 pm and Bellingham Herald has finally covered the event. Covered by their biz reporter.
-> Floyd McKay has an excellent article in Crosscut. And doesn't marginalize event by calling it a "protest" - as does the Herald.

Marian Beddill  //  Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 11:08 am

Wash. Tribe Comes Out Against Coal Export Terminal
Sept. 20, 2012 | KUOW

(copy,fix.paste link)
http:// wash-tribe-comes-out-against-coal-export-terminal/ 

Michael Lilliquist  //  Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 5:50 pm

Thanks John, channeling Tip. Still no coverage yet in other news outlets.

Bob Aegerter  //  Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 7:57 pm

It was a moving ceremony by the Lummi Nation Elders.  They spoke sincerely from their hearts about the value of the land at Cherry Point and the water of The Salish Sea.  They spoke about the value of Salmon and materials gathered at this former village site.  Their ancestors are connected to this land and they consider it to be sacred land to be preserved to the seventh generation. 

The Bellingham Herald was present and others, some with video.

I accepted the water and salmon meal offered as confirmation of witnessing their statement.  I am deeply impressed by the clarity of their statement, their conviction, and their request that we all work together for the benefit of the seventh generation.

The current members of the Lummi Nation are forgoing very significant potential financial gain for the benefit of future generations.

The NEPA EIS scoping notice was published in the Federal Register today.  The 120 Day scoping period begins on Monday, September 24th.  Detailed requests for a broad scoping of significant potential impacts will establish a defensible record for the best possible decision by County Council, Department of Ecology, US Corp of Engineers and Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Tip Johnson  //  Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 10:02 pm

Dave Gallagher did a great job of reporting for the Herald and even got the best picture of the check burning.  Nice job, Dave.

He also has a link to the coal terminal’s official response. It goes to a word.doc for some reason, so I haven’t read it, though Gallagher uses excerpts in his piece.

Tip Johnson  //  Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 10:25 pm

Here’s the coal port spin:

September 21, 2012
SSA Marine issues statement on Lummi relationship

For more information:
Bob Watters
Senior Vice President
SSA Marine
(206) 654-3575

Seattle, WA –
SSA Marine Senior Vice President Bob Watters issued the following statement today:

“SSA Marine takes its relationship with Lummi very seriously.  Over the last year we have worked with Lummi representatives to understand their concerns and needs and make sure the project both respects and meets those concerns and needs. These are serious issues that should be approached in a serious way. 

“It is also important to keep in mind that the Gateway Pacific Terminal will meet all of Washington’s stringent environmental standards and will be an excellent source of family-wage jobs for all of Whatcom County, including Lummi members.

“We understand how important their cultural values are to Lummi.  The Lummi have communicated to us the particular importance of Xwe’ chi’ eXen and of having their ancestors rest in peace.  We respect those values and will work with Lummi to realize them.

“In order to accomplish this we will take special precautions to protect cultural resources on the GPT property, including restricting public access, while ensuring long-term access for Lummi members to cultural resources for ceremonial purposes.  We will work with the Lummi Sche’langen Department and Tribal Historical Preservation Office to implement appropriate design and construction protocols and agreements that would be guided by the Traditional Cultural Properties assessment, and to implement our Inadvertent Discovery Plan during Terminal construction and operations.  In addition, we are prepared to help the Lummi Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office continue its work to repatriate ancestral remains and catalogue and preserve artifacts that were removed from the site by archeologists in decades past. 

“The Lummi Team and Lummi fishers have also made it very clear to us how central fishing is to the Tribe, both economically and culturally.  We are committed to addressing Lummi concerns in detail.  Our approach will be first to avoid impacts, then to minimize unavoidable impacts, and finally, to mitigate and positively address what remaining impacts there may be in a mutually satisfactory way.  In fact, we are now conducting a study, designed with input from the Lummi Team, of the effects of added vessel traffic calling at GPT.  As recently as this week, the project’s technical team doing the study met with the Lummi Team and Lummi fishers to fully understand concerns over potential impacts.

“I want to underscore that as the Gateway project moves forward in the permitting process, SSA Marine and the Gateway project will work with Lummi to address all issues and concerns.”

Doug Lomas  //  Tue, Oct 23, 2012, 9:02 pm

The Lummis showed ommonsense in facing down the threat to ALL things “Bellingham” 
Please peruse the following web site for deeper details of the looming catastrophy to our environs and the world if this coal port calamity is allowed.
+ Link

Douglas Smith  //  Sun, Nov 04, 2012, 4:37 am

It has irked me for many years now.  The difference between the “groovy” and the actual class struggle.  I see a huge wedge being driven between the working class as represented by organized labor and the environmental community, be they organized or not, that tries to define issues such as the proposed Gateway Pacific Export Terminal as an us versus them issue.  My issue with the Bellingham Food Coop, although I’ve had one for their not being unionized for many years, comes down to a question of solidarity.
As we both know, when mother earth dies, we all do.  And we also both know, solutions are present and available.
BUT!!!  We must play whatever longshot we have and strive for the keeping alive the potential solidarity we have left to us.
I am urging that we help get the Bellingham Food Cooperative organized into the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.  And then continue on with getting others organized as well.
For me, quite honestly, this is an ideological approach.  But there I am.  We, as the “groovy” community, and as DEAD SERIOUS environmentalists need to show our readiness to be in solidarity with organized labor.  For apart we will perish at the hands of the REAL ENEMIES, the corporate fascists who would rather us continue to be mindless sheep on the way to slaughter.

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