Tuesday, May 7, 2019

BUF's Proposed Truth and Reconciliation Resolution

Sunday Forum, May 12, 2019 at 9:15 am.  At our Congregational Meeting on May 19th, Members of BUF will get the opportunity to vote on the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Proposal.  At the request of members of Lummi Nation, we have been asked to be an instrument in bringing about a Truth and Reconciliation movement in the State of Washington. As this will be a statewide effort seeking public support, it is appropriate and necessary for the congregation of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship to vote, as one body, on supporting this movement. 

We will be discussing the resolution, and what roles BUF members may play in moving this T&R movement forward, as individual members, a congregation, a denomination within the greater faith community and as an ally and partner with Washington Tribes and Nations.  The resolution was drafted using BUF’s historical and ongoing support of the Tribes and Nations and a number of sources and we'll be looking at some of them including the:  

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Proposed Truth and Reconciliation Resolution for May 2019 Congregational Meeting

Below is the text of a proposed resolution for the congregation to vote on at the Congregational Meeting on May 19, 2019.  At the request of members of Lummi Nation, we have been asked to be an instrument in bringing about a Truth and Reconciliation movement in the State of Washington.  As this will be a statewide effort seeking public support, it is appropriate and necessary for the congregation of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship to vote, as one body, on supporting this movement.  

In addition, this same draft or final copy will also be provided to other UU congregations throughout the State to use as a template to also create their own resolutions.  If we are able to obtain a significant number of UU congregations passing similar resolutions, it may be that we can petition the PNWD and Pacific Region to support the movement not only here in the State of Washington, but elsewhere throughout out our region.  Additionally, we will be taking it to GA in Spokane and presenting it in a workshop that BUF’s NACC will be putting on at that time (more information on that later).

It has been requested, that if we do pass this or a similar resolution, that we be prepared to pass it along to the Tribes and Nations of Washington State.

The resolution was drafted using BUF’s historical and ongoing support of the Tribes and Nations and a number of sources including the following (it’s highly recommend that you review these documents before commenting):

As stated, this is a draft and it is open to comments and suggestions. Please contact Deb Cruz at dwcruz@comcast.netwith comments, suggestions or concerns no later than Friday, April 16, 2019.

The following dates have been set aside for informational sessions concerning the proposed resolution.  

April 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm Conference Room (Completed)
April 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm Conference Room (Completed)
April 15, 2019 at 11:30 am Conference Room

~ • ~

An Expression of Truth and Reconciliation 
From the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship of Washington State

There is an emerging and compelling desire to acknowledge the events of the past so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future. The truth telling and reconciliation process is a sincere acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Indigenous peoples in Washington State and the need for continued healing. This is a profound and long-term commitment to establishing new and deepening existing relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The truth of our common experiences will help set our spirits free and pave the way to reconciliation.  (Adapted from Our Mandate. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Schedule N of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (2006).   http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=7 (Accessed Sept 2018))

WHEREAS we recognize the inconsistency of our First Principle that states we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” regarding First and American Indian Nations and recognize that this has been and continues to be denied Indigenous communities through forced relinquishing of lands and waters, and the denial and denigration of Indigenous cultural identities and continuity. 

WHEREAS we recognize the necessity of and our responsibility to continue upholding the UUA 2007 “Truth, Repair and Reconciliation” Responsive Resolution that calls for congregations “to uncover our links and complicity with the genocide of native people . . . past and present, toward the goal of accountability through acknowledgment, apology, repair, and reconciliation;”

WHEREAS we recognize the necessity of and our responsibility to continue upholding BUF’s 2015 resolution supporting and the UUA Pacific Northwest District’s signing of “A Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest” calling upon us to “to uphold the treaty rights of Native communities of the Northwest . . . stand in solidarity with our Native neighbors to safeguard the traditional lands, waters, and sacred sites of their peoples;”

WHEREAS we recognize that the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship has worked diligently over the years to acknowledge and provide support to Lummi Indian Nation and other Indigenous communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, but recognize also there is so much more work to be done;


Be it resolved that

We, the members of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship as a congregation within the Unitarian Universalist Association, hereby commit to the journey of healing and reconciliation with Washington State’s Indigenous Tribes and Nations by:

Acknowledging the Nations/Tribes, their ceded and unceded traditional territories and recognizing and supporting their sovereignty and self-determination.
Committing to learn and acknowledge the historical and current impacts and consequences of actions taken by the US and Washington State governments and of our own denominational predecessors and contemporaries affecting Indigenous peoples in Washington State and beyond; 

Further promoting and deepening efforts of environmental protection and restoration in order to support Indigenous people’s land, resources, and food sovereignty and acknowledge Indigenous leadershipin these areas and our shared responsibility and acting upon them;
Continuing to provide for and expanding educational opportunities for our congregation and the greater community regarding the historical and current stories and voices of our Indigenous neighbors;

Continuing to provide for a safe and welcoming space within our congregation and working to support Tribes’ sense of place within their ancestral homelands; therefore, creating a safe and welcoming space, for all to thrive, in our greater communities and

Committing to the creation and promotion of racial equity and intercultural competency, diversity and inclusion within our congregation and in our partnerships and alliances other groups and organizations.

~ • ~

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

March 31, 2019: Sunday Forum - Students for the Salish Sea

Sunday, March 31, 2019.  9:15 AM.

Our group collectively envisions a diverse, healthy biological and cultural watershed of the Salish Sea. In this vision, we acknowledge that we are guests on this land and take an active role in redressing the continuing impact of settler colonialism and support the indigenous-led movements in our communities. Throughout this watershed, we are committed to establishing SFSS club branches at universities, colleges, and schools. Within each group we work locally to affect change, thereby positively impacting our transnational watershed as a whole. We collaborate with our other university branches on watershed-wide issues to cultivate lasting change through a diversity of tactics

March 24, 2019: Sunday Forum - Unist'ot'en Camp: Stop the Pipelines

Sunday, March 24, 2019.  9:15 AM.

Over the years, BUF has supported the Unist'ot'en Camp and its advocates, particularly Western University students who have devoted an enormous amount of their resources helping construct the Camp.  The Unis’tot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu / Big Frog Clan) are the original Wet’suwet’en Yintah Wewat Zenli distinct to the lands of the Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia, Canada and have been constructing dwellings and community centers on land targeted by Coastal Gaslink (CGL) for gas pipelines.  The Unist'ot'en Camp has become Canada’s Standing Rock with non-violent protestors blocking and opposing construction through unceded, traditional indigenous territories.  Recently the Royal Mounted Canadian Police have moved in to break up Unist’ot’en and other camps along the route, allowing for Coastal Gaslink heavy equipment to begin preparing for construction.  What’s happening now and where do we go from here?

March 17, 2019: Sunday Forum - Truth and Reconciliation-Healing the Past and Looking Forward

Sunday, March 17, 2019.  9:15 AM.

Shirley Williams of Lummi Nation and Whiteswan Environmental will provide an indigenous perspective of what the Truth and Reconciliation movement is and why it is so critical to the future of indigenous communities. Truth and Reconciliation is a movement bringing together indigenous and 
non-indigenous communities to engage in dialogues and actions that strive to heal trauma, address inequities, and restore, protect and preserve indigenous 
lifeways. It is a multifaceted movement that addresses many intersectional 
issues, while working to dismantle white privilege and domination.

Mach 10, 2019: Sunday Forum - Lummi Youth Canoe Journey with Becky Kinley

Sunday, March 10, 2019.  9:15 AM.

Becky Kinley serves as the Youth Leadership Manager under the Lummi System of Care Expansion Initiative. The Lummi Youth Canoe Family is for Lummi youth between the ages of 13-21 to engage in our culture by preparing for the annual canoe journey and/or international cultural exchange opportunities’. Our desire is to learn who we are as Lummi People and our strong Lummi values; while protecting, promoting, and preserving our Schelangen (Way of Life). As youth, we are empowering youth and communities around us to stand up their rights and being the voice of the next generation. The Lummi Youth Canoe Family is fiscally sponsored by the Lummi Nation Service Organization. the Lummi Nation Service Organization is a tribally chartered non-profit since 1996 who’s mission is to Strengthen the people through cultural, social, and economical abundance with hopes that we will empower our people Nilh Xwenang Tse Schelangen (This is our way of life) a healthy, giving, and prosperous community.

March 3, 2019: Sunday Forum - History/Involvement of BUF's Involvement with Original Nations and Peoples

Sunday, March 3, 2019.  9:15 AM

Join Beth Brownfield and Deb Cruz as we explore BUF’s involvement with indigenous issues and communities.  Since 2005, our initial contact with Lummi Nation, we’ve charted a path that has led us through many places along the journey through Indian Country not only here in Whatcom County, but throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  Hear about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going on our journey to establishing right relations with our indigenous communities.

Beth Brownfield: Beth is a lifelong activist and educator who has dedicated herself to working for understanding and social action around tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and cultural appreciation. She has been deeply involved with solidarity work in the Dakotas, Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest, inspiring and mentoring UU congregations in MN, MA, ID, WA, OR.

Deb Cruz: Deb has worked with issues in Indian Country across the northern U.S. since the mid-1970s. She has worked with Beth Brownfield in establishing relations with Lummi Nation and other Tribes/Nations throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is also President and Issue Team lead for First and American Indian Nations Solidary of JUUstice Washington, Washington State’s UU action network.