The Human Right to Water
Our rural Whatcom County residents are being denied the right to have water for new homes, and this in a county that has no idea how much water it has, but has a lot.
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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.