Wednesday, March 8, 2017

STOP the PIPELINES/Start the Music

Monday March 13th
Benefit for Unist’ot’ten Camp 
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship: 1207 Ellsworth St
Freda Huson Spokesperson of the Unist'ot'en Camp, Dini Ze Smogelgem, and Unist'ot'en Hereditairy chiefs Weli - Catherine, Lht'at'en - Doris, Maskibu - Helen will be in Bellingham as part of their "Stop the Pipelines, Start the Music Tour". 
The event is a fundraiser dinner with live music to raise funds for the third phase of the Healing Center at the Unist'ot'en Camp. The Healing Center is a three-story lodge dedicated to healing from the impacts of colonization. It sits in the direct GPS coordinates of multiple proposed pipelines that the Unist'ot'en Clan have been directly stopping for the past 8 years. 
Freda and Smogelgem are incredible leaders and amazing speakers. This is the first time they have traveled with elders and hereditary chiefs from their nation. Getting to hear these people speak is a rare opportunity you won't want to miss! 
Dinner will begin at 6 pm, the speaking and music portion of the event will begin at 7 pm! $20 dollar suggested donation at the door. Artists include Tim McHugh, Zaia Grace and more! There will also be a silent auction! 
The event is sponsored by the Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition, and co-sponsored by the Bellingham Unitarian Environmental and Social Justice Committee
Limited Seating PLEASE MAKE Reservations: Call Andrew Eckels at 206 272 0154 or email

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tracing from Time Immemorial to the Present: Lummi Service and Stone Marker Dedication

The stone marker acknowledging the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) peoples is complete and has been installed on one side of the stairwell off Ellsworth St.  There will be a dedication on Sunday, January 15, 2017 after the service and will be followed by a potluck lunch. The service, with Lummi leadership and musicians, will be on the topic of the lives of the Lhaq’temish people (the many tribes from this region whose names end in “ish”—which also includes Lummi) from time immemorial, through European contact, treaties, the Boldt decision, and looking into the future.  The service is a collaboration with the Lummi Youth Canoe Family, the Jefferson Sisters, Lummi Councilmember Travis Brockie, and Candice Wilson.  The service will include excerpts from Father Pat Twohy’s Beginnings: A Meditation on Coast Salish Lifeways, and the “Survivors of the Flood,” story and song. Lummi Councilmember Brockie will touch on the Point Elliott Treaty, and the Boldt Decision.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lelu Island Benefit Dinner

Students for the Salish Sea, a WWU Student organization, will be putting on a fundraising event for Lax Kw'alaams people. The Lax Kw'alaams are a First Nations people in British Columbia who are defending sacred lands and waters from the development of a liquid natural gas plant at at the mouth of the Skeena river near Prince Rupert.

The evening will provide a Salmon Dinner catered by Chef Arlen Coiley.  There will be music by local artists and arts and crafts for sale.  There will also be a film screening of a documentary on Lelu Island and the challenges they are up against.  

Dinner is $35 and will begin at 6:00 pm.  The documentary screening is a requested donation of $10 and shown from 9:00 - 10:00 pm.  Please contact Deb Cruz at for more information or RSVP instructions.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NACC Meeting Sunday, November 20th, at 12:10 in the BUF conference room

Dear Friends of Native American Connections,

We are calling a brief meeting of NAC on Sunday, November 20th, at 12:10 in the BUF conference room for all congregants who have signed on to BUF’s Native American Connection (NAC) group. Please make every effort to attend this meeting. Each one of you is important in supporting Native American issues.  
We have exciting news to share:
The Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to send a proposal to the congregation for a stone marker to be placed in front of BUF Acknowledging and Honoring Lhaq’temish Peoples’ Traditional Territory. (See complete text of marker and more details in the attachment.) This will be the first recognition of its kind in the entire county, and reflects BUF’s unique commitment and connection to our Coast Salish neighbors. (A notice will go out in midweek update on Wed from Board Chair, Anastasia Lundholm.)
The Board and the Social and Environmental Connections Committee would like congregants to see a more visible presence of the broader Native American Connections supporters in the congregation. Important decisions and opportunities will be discussed at the Nov. 20th meeting. 

NOTE:  The NAC has been invited to be hosts for coffee hour on Sunday, Dec. 4nd.  We will need volunteers to bring treats, help with set up, make coffee, help staff an NAC information table, clean up afterwards.

A CONGREGATIONAL MEETING is being set for Sunday, December 11: to vote on statement from the congregation supporting Standing Rock, and voting the stone marker UP or DOWN.
In a follow-up email, you will receive a brief survey to help us keep our NAC email list current and to enhance communication between us. Please respond to the survey and please attend the Nov. 20th meeting.  
In gratitude
Beth Brownfield
email or call if you have any questions:, 738-8899

Please make every effort to attend Nov 20 meeting, 12:10 in conference room (where forums take place).

BUF December 2016 Special Congregational Meeting Item 1 - Proposed Stone Marker

Stone Marker Honoring and Acknowledging 
Lhaq’temish Traditional Territories
August 30, 2016

Submitted by: Rev. Barbara Davenport, Isa Werny, Betty Scott, Anastacia Lundholm, and Beth Brownfield, the sub-committee of Native American Connections (NAC).

Mission of BUF’s Native American Connections: Working to support, honor, appreciate, and work compassionately with, and for, indigenous peoples locally, nationally and internationally.


For the past ten years, BUF has had an intimate connection, especially with Lummi Nation, earning that right by honoring and recognizing the First Inhabitants of these territories. Here are a few highlights:

Since 2006 many of Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF) members have been deeply involved with Original Nations and Peoples, especially Lummi Nation. A good number initiated collaboration with Lummi Nation in support of hosting the 2007 “Paddle to Lummi.” In a six-month period, co-chairs Beth Brownfield and Kara Black formed a committee with BUF and the wider Community called “Community Connections Committee” which brought awareness of this event to Whatcom County and beyond. They raised over $60,000 during this time, brought thousands to watch the landing, and recruited hundreds of people as volunteers.

The most signi ficant contribution of the Connections Committee was the creation of The FIRST OFFICIAL recognition of the “First inhabitants of these Lands and Waters.” The proclamation was signed by every mayor in Whatcom County and the Whatcom County executive. This was of ficially read and presented at Boulevard Park on July 7, 2007 at the first “Canoe Journey Day”. Accompanying this proclamation were of ficial letters of acknowledgment from local, state, and national WA politicians. This of ficial recognition was unprecedented and was an “ice breaker” in the relationship between Lummi and non-native people of Whatcom County. The repercussions of this work still reverberates in the county today.  Lummi will never forget this and is eternally grateful.

The July 7, 2007 “Canoe Journey Day” was repeated at Boulevard Park again in 2008, 2009, and 2011 and was planned and coordinated by BUF members. The proclamation was read every year at these events. Sadly, there is no concrete recognition of the Original Nations and People of this land in Whatcom County. Residents look at history here as if it started when the first sailing ships arrived, or the courthouse was built, etc. They do not yet fully recognize the Peoples who have occupied this land for over 8,000 years.

Our UU Principles call us to af firm and promote the worth and dignity of every person and work for peace, justice, and equality in human relations. Our nation has been complicit in profound injustices in relationship to indigenous nations and people on this continent, in the past and in present times. As a society, in general, we are not aware of our history regarding this relationship, nor are we aware of the living cultures and contributions that indigenous peoples on this continent, and worldwide, have to bring forward. It is important that we educate ourselves about these issues and that we work in partnership with tribes or Indian organizations, on projects, to redress them. It is also important that we get to know our indigenous neighbors in a loving and respectful manner. 

The Vision

BUF has the unique opportunity to place a beautifully-designed stone by a foremost stone cutter with an inscription of honor and recognition approved by Lummi elders and cultural leaders. This stone will honor their 8,000-year history and this land as traditional territory. The stone will also recognize BUF’s long-standing relationship with Original Nations and Peoples.

Description of Stone: (see photos below)

Olivine Stone from Twin Sisters: 37 inches tall, 23 1/2 –inches wide, 4” thick. 21-inches usable surface. Olivine is rare stone: olivine is relatively uncommon, but it occurs in igneous rocks in small amounts in rare granites and rhyolites. The Twin Sisters, next to Mt Baker, is one of these locations where it is found. It is greenish and polishes up very much like jade.

Lettering: 2-inches tall letters for caption, . inch tall letters for flood story (inch per lin total) 12-13 lines. Gold or black letters.

Stone Mason “Princess Jade,” Everson, WA. Polished front with engraved letters, rough back. Sides would be rounded and textured, and the stone treated to help preserve it and to give it a sheen on the rough edges and bring up the color.

The Stone & the Stone Mason for this Project

The stone mason we are working with is Dean Briske. He has excellent recommendations from artists, and others who deal with stone markers for businesses, or memorials. His business, “Princess Jade”, is located in Everson, WA. Barbara Davenport, Isa Werny, and Beth Brownfield spent several hours looking for the right piece of olivine for the marker. Dean has our text and assures us that the title and story would fit nicely on the chosen stone.

Proposed Statement carved into the stone

(This statement which includes the great flood story has been approved by Lummi Elders and representatives of the Lummi Cultural Department. They asked if there would be a dedication of the stone if the project is approved.)

“Honoring and Acknowledging Lhaq’temish Traditional Territories
Since time immemorial Lhaq’temish, “The People,” have lived in these territories"

“Lhaq’temish are the people who survived the great flood. This is the beginning of all the tribes whose name ends in “mish”. The story tells of a time when all of the “mish” nations were one people. A great flood was coming and everyone in the community agreed to place the children into canoes. These children were the ones to carry on their traditions. During the flood, the waters became rough and some of the canoes were separated. When the water receded, the canoes began to land on different locations up and down the Salish Sea. They formed their own societies such as the Xwlolomish (Lummi), Duwamish, Swinomish, and Stillaguamish.” 

Where Does Lhaq’temish Come From?

Lhaq’temish “The People” who were survivors of the flood (Entrance to Tribal Center at Lummi Nation)

Che Shesh Whe Wheleq “Survivors of the Flood” (under walkway second floor of Lummi Tribal
Center). Lummi’s National Anthem is “Survival of the Flood” written by hereditary chief, Bill James

Cost of Stone (No Cost to BUF)

Cost of stone and polishing:  $  800
Cost of sandblasting story:    $  200
Total                                       $1,000

Cost of delivery, and placement: Volunteers and Donations by NAC (placed on cement

NAC has $300 + $200 donation down payment. This leaves $500 which the NAC committee
believes can be easily raised

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Members and Friends of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship Expression of Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation

Last Sunday, we started gathering signatures to an expression of solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation. We will be collecting signatures again this Sunday.
For those of you who are unable to attend next Sunday, September 18th and have not yet signed the expression and want to, please contact me at I will need to have a statement from you to the effect of "I give my permission to add my name to the Expression of Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation.  I will also need you to indicate whether you are a Member or Friend of BUF.
I've attached a copy of the Expression. We're trying to gather these signatures as quickly as possible, as we don't know what kind of time frame we're dealing with here. Originally the Fed Court was supposed render a decision in the next few weeks, however, now that the Feds (DOJ, DOI and DOA) have intervened and we want to make sure that Standing Rock and all the Fed agencies get copies of our support before any review/decision is made.

Members and Friends of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship Expression of Solidarity With Standing Rock Sioux Nation and its Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline

WHEREAS:  The Standing Rock Sioux Nation has put out a peaceful call for action requesting support in opposing the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline that would carry up to 570,000 barrels of fracked crude oil per day for more than 1,100 miles from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois, passing over sensitive landscapes including treaty-protected land containing recognized cultural resources and the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for their Reservation;

WHEREAS:  Despite deep opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, farmers, scientists, environmental groups, and other Tribal nations, and without Tribal consultation or meaningful environmental review as required by federal law, in July, 2016 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit allowing construction of the fracked oil pipeline to move forward;

WHEREAS:  On August 15, 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council led by Tribal Chairman David Archambault II called on Tribal nations and Indigenous people around the world to issue resolutions in support of the Standing Rock Sioux and the Sacred Stones Camp and the call was answered by Washington State Tribal Nations including Lummi Nation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Yakama Nation, Puyallup Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Hoh Tribe; 

WHEREAS:  The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship has repeatedly demonstrated through direct action support of Lummi Nation and other Tribes of the Pacific Northwest and Canada, and co-sponsored and supported the 2016 Totem Pole Journey which attended a Blessing Stop on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, witnessing the proposed destruction and participating in an unprecedented support of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation by Native and non-Native people;

WHEREAS:  Other UU congregations and organizations have spoken out and committed action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, such as the Bismark-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Church (, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (, UU Youth for Climate Justice (, Commit2Respond ( and a statement released by UUA President Rev. Morales: on Wednesday, August 30th: 

The construction of the massive Dakota Access pipeline, stretching from North Dakota to Illinois, is a textbook case of marginalizing minority communities in the drive to increase fossil fuel supplies. As people of faith and conscience, committed to protecting the interdependent web of all life and supporting indigenous rights, Unitarian Universalists cannot remain silent as land held sacred by our Native American siblings is threatened.

We join other faith groups and native tribes to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they oppose the construction of this dangerous pipeline. I am proud to see that Unitarian Universalists in the region are already joining the protests. But I know that more is urgently needed. I urge you to join the effort to bear public witness to the injustice in North Dakota and add your voice to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved:  We who are Members and Friends of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, stand in support of Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and we call on all Unitarian Universalists, other faith communities, social and environmental justice organizations and other people of conscience to raise awareness about this important struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice and to support the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the Sacred Stones Camp efforts in any nonviolent way they are willing and able.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Q'al: Bellingham Totem Pole Morning Blessing Ceremony

August 23, 2016

9:00 am

Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham

On Tuesday morning at 9:00 am there will be the first Blessing stop of the Totem Pole Journey.  All are welcome to attend and share, with the Totem Pole and the Journey crew, your blessings, grief and hopes.  

This year’s theme is rooted in Q’al.  It means “Belief” in the Lummi language.  It is a fitting title for the 2016 totem pole journey.  The journey, the fourth in four years, will unite tribes and communities all along the 4,865-mile, 18-day journey with the totem pole.  It is belief that helped defeat the various coal port proposals over the past three years.  And it is belief that is needed now as we continue opposing the onslaught of deadly and toxic tar sands and Bakken oil that would be transported by rail and shipped out of ports in Washington and British Columbia. The 2016 journey will not only help to inspire the belief that is needed to win, again, but also be a call for diligence, vigilance, and unity as tribes and communities across the PNW and western Canada stand up for their families, the land and water, and future generations.

The sacredness of the Totem Pole is heightened when imbued with the prayers and messages by many people of many communities, sharing and standing together in a moment of unity at each of the Journey's Blessing stops.  From these acts of unity, the Totem Pole, Master Carver Jewell James says, becomes a lasting part of our memories and a symbol of our resistance against those forces that would destroy those things that we all hold as so very precious and on which we all depend on for our very existence.  

When the Totem Pole finally reaches its home in Winnipeg, it will embody the voices and prayers of thousands of people throughout the U.S. and Canada.  At the place Where the Two Rivers Meet, it will stand as yet another sentinel, watching over the Land, the Waters and the Peoples.

Come, offer up your voices and prayers as the Totem Pole and its crew, begin its Journey of Q'ay in the work of today and hope for tomorrow.