Kwel hoy': We Draw the Line
The burial grounds and treaty rights of the Lummi Nation are threatened by a proposal to build North America's largest coal terminal on their sacred landscape at Cherry Point (Xwe’chi’eXen.) If built, coal would be dumped on a historic burial site and would pollute the nearby fishing grounds. The Lummi community needs your help to stop this!
Cherry Point is a high bluff above the Salish Sea overlooking the San Juan Islands of Washington State. The waters below are home to one of the best crab fisheries along the coast and provide food for salmon and Orca whales. This fishery sustains many tribal families but those jobs would be lost if up to 55-million tons of coal is shipped over the waters.
And so the Lummi Nation has said 'no' to big coal. Lummi Councilman Jay Julius, in opposing the proposed coal port, has said Kwel hoy’: “We draw the line.” The sacred must be protected. Treaty rights must be honored. Kwel hoy’.
A Totem Pole Journey
Help the Lummi Nation stop coal export by supporting this campaign!
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. Now it is Lummi Nation’s own sacred landscape, Xwe’chi’eXen, that needs hope, healing and protection. The Lummi Nation’s Master Carver, Jewell Praying Wolf James, will carve a Totem Pole of spiritual healing.
The Totem Pole and witnesses will travel 1,200 miles from September 15-29, from the coal mines in Montana to the proposed coal terminal on the coast in Washington, connecting communities and asking for blessings along the way. Journalists, photographers and a documentary film crew will be invited along for the journey.
The Journey will conclude in British Columbia, where the totem pole will be placed in the homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, demonstrating unity with the Canadian First Nations’ position opposing the transport of Tar Sands by pipelines across their territories. There, Tribes and First Nations that have travelled from all directions will meet the totem pole. It will be placed as a means of reinforcing the message: Kwel hoy.’ “We Draw the Line.”
We Need Your Help
You can help the Lummi Nation stop coal export by supporting this campaign! We are looking for $35,000 from this IndieGoGO effort, although full Journey expenses are roughly $190,000 with much of that being in-kind contributions. All funds raised here will go directly to Journey expenses and to carving and transporting the Totem Pole.
In addition, we need to spread the word far and wide about this important and timely story of the Lummi Nation. Please make some noise! Take a moment and use the IndieGoGo share tools to promote our link on social media, and ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues to join you in support of the Lummi Nation’s opposition to Big Coal!
Together, we can help the Lummi Nation say, Kwel hoy’: “We Draw the Line!”
Join us along the Journey
Please join us at one of the powerful events along the way:
Northern Cheyenne: September 18, 10:00 a.m.
Missoula: September 19, 4:00 p.m. Missoula County Courthouse, 200 W. Broadway, Missoula.
Spokane: September 20, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Tribal. The event is open to the public from 11:00 - 12:00. Havermale Point, east end of Riverfront Park, Spokane.
Celilo Village: September 21. Tribal, closed to the public.
Yakama Nation: September 22. Tribal, closed to the public.
Portland: September 23. 5:00 p.m. Cathedral Park in Portland. N. Edison St & Pittsburg Ave in N. Portland.
Olympia: September 24. Noon to 1:00. Tivoli Fountain, northeast of the Legislative Bldg, alongside Capital Way on the west campus.
Tacoma: September 25. 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. St. Leo Catholic Church, 710 South 13th St, Tacoma.
Seattle: September 26. Time and location in progress.
Xwe'chi'eXen/Cherry Point: September 27. 5:00 p.m.
The Full Story
Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) is a sacred landscape in NW Washington that has deep spiritual and cultural significance to the people of the Lummi Nation. Overlooking the world-famous San Juan Islands, it includes ancient reef-net sites and a 3,500 year-old village site. The Hereditary Chief of the Lummi Nation, tsilixw (Bill James), describes it as the “home of the Ancient Ones.” It was the first site in Washington State to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Coal interests plan to construct North America's largest coal export terminal on this site, above the "home of the Ancient Ones." This proposal would haul 55-million tons of coal, from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, to this bluff overlooking the San Juans. These long, heavy rail cars would travel through Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington, up the Columbia River gorge and through Tacoma and Seattle to the NW Washington coast. Once there, coal would be loaded onto some of the largest bulk carriers in the world to ship the coal up the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, to China.
Construction of this massive coal terminal will result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with Lummi Nation burial grounds and treaty rights, and irreversible and irretrievable damage to their traditional fishing waters and spiritual values.
Lummi Councilman Jay Julius, in opposing the proposed coal port, has said Kwel hoy’: “We draw the line.” The sacred must be protected. Treaty rights must be honored. Kwel hoy’.
Please visit www.totempolejourney.com for more information.