"}
The Gristle

Letters from Lummi II

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

LETTERS FROM LUMMI II: As coal pier responses take similar shape at the northern and southern ends of Washington, Lummi Nation headed east.

In August, Lummi Nation sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, stating the tribe’s “unconditional and unequivocal opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal and the interrelated Custer Spur Rail Expansion projects at Cherry Point.”

“Any impact on the Lummi treaty fishing right is inherently an impact on the Lummi way of life,” wrote Lummi Indian Business Council Chair Tim Ballew. “It would significantly degrade an already fragile and vulnerable crab, herring and salmon fishery, dealing a devastating blow to the economy of the fisher community.

“We believe that the Corps should see that these projects would without question result in significant and unavoidable impacts and damage to our treaty rights,” Ballew summarized.

Lummi Nation sent the letter after they learned the Army Corps did not believe the tribe had sent them a “formal response” with a clear statement of opposition to the coal terminal, despite the public statements of tribal leaders, beginning in September of last year as elders burned an oversized symbolic check in the amount of $1 million, stamped “non-negotiable,” on the shingle beach at Cherry Point as a statement of the tribe’s fierce opposition of GPT.

In the past, Corps officials have said they make a practice of suspending action on pending permits when tribes with treaty fishing rights raise such objections. But Corps forbearance may be changing.

In Longview last week, more than 2,000 people arrived at the first public hearing on the environmental review of Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposal for a $643 million coal export dock. Officials expect a robust review similar to the review required for GPT.

The Army Corps preemptively declared they would break from the lead agencies for the Longview review, preparing their own environmental impact statement under the federal rules that govern shorelines and marine habitat. The state Dept. of Ecology and Cowlitz County planners would prepare their own documents under state environmental policy rules.

The Army Corps this week confirmed they would do the same for Cherry Point, withdrawing from a joint review with Ecology and Whatcom County they initially agreed to, based on an internal decision the Corps reached in August. The three agencies had originally agreed in 2011 to produce one joint environmental impact statement. The lead agencies formally revised their working agreement by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) issued on Monday.

The decision by the Army Corps perhaps distances federal policy on fossil fuel exports from state efforts to try to describe and limit the effects of fossil fuels on the environment. The original joint EIS for Cherry Point called for a study of “end use” impacts of off-shore coal burning in Asia, which Ecology insisted upon under its administering of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The decision may also sever the need for state and local interaction with the tribes.

Cowlitz Indian tribal officials borrowed songs from the Lummi, earlier this month issuing a statement of total opposition to the Longview pier very similar to the protest issued by Lummi leaders. The Cowlitz tribe noted increased coal shipments on trains and ships could threaten air and water quality along the Columbia River and harm fish.

Lummi Nation, meanwhile, journeyed east.

The Lummi Nation House of Tears Carvers carried a 22-foot totem pole, carved from a 300-year-old Western red cedar, to Northern Cheyenne on Sept. 18, a community close to the source of the Powder River Basin coal slated for export out of the Pacific Northwest. From there, Jewell Praying Wolf James and his four carvers have visited cities and First Nations communities west along the rail route, blessing each community and delivering the message, “Kwel hoy:” “We draw the line.” From Seattle, the carvers will arrive midweek at Cherry Point, where they will hold a sacred ceremony at their traditional grounds at Xwe’chi’eXen.

“The ‘House of Tears’ carvers of the Lummi community have created a tradition of carving and delivering totem poles to areas struck by disaster or otherwise in need of hope and healing,” James said. “Now it is Lummi Nation’s own sacred landscape, Xwe’chi’eXen, that needs hope, healing and protection.”

On their 1,200 mile journey, the Indians met some cowboys, ranchers that have joined with the Northern Cheyenne community to protest coal-mining operations in the area, which they say are destroying water tables and land that once served prime agriculture. They also met other Indians, notably the Yakama Nation in the great Coulee basin, where coal trains cross whether bound for Washington or Oregon, Longview or Bellingham.

In a two-hour ceremony of drumming and singing, the Yakama people added their prayers and blessings, along with their opposition to coal.

Earlier this year, the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, which represents 57 tribes including Salish, adopted a resolution opposing proposals to increase transportation and export of fossil fuels through the Northwest.

“Even though we may practice a different religion, we understand and support the purpose and mission of their totem,” Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman Harry Smiskin said of Lummi. “It’s really about protecting Mother Earth.”

The final home for the totem pole will be with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in Canada, whose lands are located in tar sands territory.

SVCR Cash-In
Past Columns
Jack’s Attack

December 7, 2016

Lawless

November 30, 2016

Forever Protecting

November 23, 2016

YOYO vs. WITT

November 16, 2016

REDMAP

November 2, 2016

Civil War

October 26, 2016

Twice Zero

October 19, 2016

Convergent Streams

October 12, 2016

Blockadia

October 5, 2016

A Stitch In Time

September 28, 2016

Closer to home

September 21, 2016

Zombie Stumbles On

September 14, 2016

Drip-drip-drip:

September 7, 2016

Much ADU about nothing

August 31, 2016

A Matter of Equity

August 24, 2016

A Lock on the Crypt

August 17, 2016

Zombie Terror

August 10, 2016

A Raucous Caucus

August 3, 2016

Lockup Lockstep

July 27, 2016

Polar Wastes

July 20, 2016

Events
Today
Winter Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Santa at Yeager's

4:00pm|Yeager's Toyland

A Christmas Story

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Teen Art Show

6:30pm|Oak Harbor Library

The Happy Elf

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Irving Berlin's White Christmas

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Toys for Tots

9:00am|1650 Birchwood Ave.

Learn a little, dance a little

9:15am

20th annual Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Santa Train

5:00pm|Miniature Fun Center

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Pippi Longstocking

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Winter Wonderland

7:00pm|Nooksack High School Auditorium

A Night of Drama (and Comedy)

7:00pm|Explorations Academy

The North Pole Express

7:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Ghosts and Games

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Breakfast with Santa

8:30am|Sedro-Woolley Community Center

Make It, Take It

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Jingle Bell Run

9:00am|Bellingham High School

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Whiskey Creek

Instructor Hiring Fair

9:00am|Bellingham Technical College

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center

Jingle Bell Run

9:00am|Bellingham High School

Winter Wonderland

10:00am|Children's Museum of Skagit County

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Coast Salish Winter Festival

10:00am|Lummi Gateway Center

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Holiday Faire

10:00am|Whatcom Hills Waldorf School

Holiday Tea

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Lynden Book Club

10:30am|Lynden Library

John Walton Holiday Magic Shows

11:00am|Walton Theatre

Pet Pictures with Santa

12:00pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Artists' Registry Show

12:00pm|San Juan Island Museum of Art

Fairhaven Holiday Festival

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Inn

Holiday Food Show

12:00pm|Haggen stores

Eat. Drink, and Be Merry

12:00pm|Anderson Acres Barn

Holiday Jewels

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Holly Street History Tour

1:00pm|Holly Street

Homes for the Holidays

1:00pm|Lynden

Kids and Teens Holiday Gift Bazaar

2:00pm|Deming Library

International Human Rights Day

3:00pm|WECU Education Building

Good Yule Feast

3:00pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

BUG Holiday Concert

3:00pm|Ferndale Library

Poetry Trio

4:00pm|Village Books

Gratitude Revolution Reception

4:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Holiday Brewers Boutique

4:00pm|K2 Taphouse

Lighted Boat Parade

5:00pm|Swinomish Channel

Christmas Sing-Along

7:00pm|Christ Episcopal Church

Art Collaborations

7:00pm|Village Books

Fidalgo DanceWorks' Nutcracker

7:00pm|Brodniak Hall

Edward Albee Reading Series

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Skagit Valley Chorale's Christmas Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Kulshan Chorus Winter Concert

7:30pm|Bellingham High School

Silk Road Soiree

8:00pm|Presence Studio

MBT Tenors Swinomish 2016
Tomorrow
Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Santa at Yeager's

4:00pm|Yeager's Toyland

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Irving Berlin's White Christmas

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Happy Elf

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Learn a little, dance a little

9:15am

20th annual Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Santa Train

5:00pm|Miniature Fun Center

Pippi Longstocking

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

Winter Wonderland

10:00am|Children's Museum of Skagit County

Fidalgo DanceWorks' Nutcracker

7:00pm|Brodniak Hall

Skagit Valley Chorale's Christmas Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Supplies to Standing Rock

10:00am|Periwinkle Lane

Chorus Christmas

3:00pm|United Church of Ferndale

Greeting and Giving

3:00pm|Lummi Island Library

Nativity Dance

3:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Jack Straw Readings

4:00pm|Village Books

Holiday Special

5:00pm|St. John's Lutheran Church

Northwood Steak and Crab Village Books
Monday
Santa at Yeager's

4:00pm|Yeager's Toyland

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

Gingerbread Houses

3:00pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Pilates for Skiers and Snowboarders

6:00pm|REI

Campbell Road

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Books on Tap

6:30pm|Tino's Pizza & Pasta Co.

The Little Mermaid Auditions

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetrynight

8:00pm| Bellingham Public Library

Guffawingham

9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

MBT Mamma Mia Swinomish 2016 Northwest Ballet Village Books Artifacts Wine Bar Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Andrew Subin Northwood Steak and Crab