Friday, October 3, 2014

Inter-faith statement of solidarity with Lummi Nation 2013

Inter-faith statement of solidarity with Lummi Nation

Respect for sacred places is intrinsic in most religious traditions, often at places where a sense of the divine was manifested or experienced. Sacred sites for Christians in Jerusalem include the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection. For Muslims, there is the Dome of the Rock where the prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven. For Jews, there is the area associated with the second temple including the Temple Mount.

There are countless examples on all continents. Buddhists hold as holy the places where Buddha was born, enlightened, and died. The Ganges River is sacred to Hindus. Shinto shrines throughout Japan are used for the safekeeping of sacred objects as well as marking sacred spaces. Phiphidi is part of a network of sacred sites in South Africa. Right here in Whatcom County the Lummi Nation’s sacred sites are thousands of years old.

More recently, sites in the US are considered sacred where there have been mass deaths including Gettysburg in PA,  Hawaii's World War II Memorials, and Ground Zero in NYC, which have pivotal meaning for a whole nation.  

Cemeteries are hallowed places for Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims. Hindus burn their dead and pour their ashes into the sacred Ganges River. Even among the secular there are the burial places of historical heroes and of fallen soldiers. Sacred are the memories of loved ones who have passed from this life. There is a strong moral presumption to oppose disrupting any of these sites and the sacred meanings attached to them. 

We are deeply indebted to the Lummi and other indigenous peoples for reminding us that we are part of a living, dynamic cosmos. Creation has a dignity and purpose that goes beyond human quests for economic gain. We violate this when we refuse to accept the limits of Creation and our responsibilities to it, or when we are complicit in practices that result in the further destruction of the wellbeing of the creation for all.  

We pray for help to see this beloved garden in the same way as our Lummi neighbors do—as sacred ground, sacred water, sacred air, mother of us all.

Thus, as people of faith, we stand in solidarity with the Lummi Nation in opposing any developments that disrupt their sacred lands and waters at Cherry Point. 

August 14, 2013    For further information, contact Deb Cruz ( ) or Rev. Karen Bloomquist (

BUF Resolution to Honor the Lummi Nation's Sacred Lands and Waters of Cherry Point


WHEREAS - The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship affirms and promotes the inherent worth and dignity of all people, the goal of world community with equity, peace, liberty and justice for all, and the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part; and

WHEREAS – We recognize the Lummi Nation as the descendants of one of several original First Nation communities inhabiting, for many, many generations, the land and waters of this area, now known as the Salish Sea; and

WHEREAS - That the First Nations’ cultural tenets include the preserving, protecting and promoting their way of life and how that means protecting the land, waters, plant life, air and animals who share it and upon which they depend; and

WHEREAS – The First Nations’ right to reserve the use and protection of those lands, fresh water, the ocean nearby, and the natural products and resources which may be derived from those places is a right that is guaranteed by conscience, treaty and law; and

WHEREAS – We recognize how vulnerable these gifts of natural resources are and how easily they can become exploited, severely harmed and depleted by forces who do not share First Nations’ worldview; and

WHEREAS – That urban and industrial occupation and use of those historical lands and waters, will destroy the natural remains of those tribal histories, and cause unrecoverable losses; and

WHEREAS – We further recognize the Lummi Nation know the lands and waters of Xwe’chi’eXen (known to us as Cherry Point) to be sacred lands and waters associated with their Creation Story, known to them as “the home of the ancient ones,” are the ancestral burial grounds for their People and they have a promise and duty to protect and preserve these sacred spaces; and

WHEREAS – The Lummi Nation have a history of opposing development of their cultural, historic and spiritual lands and waters, known to them as Xwe’chi’eXen, Cherry Point.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT - The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, a caring and spiritual organization, pledges its support to the Lummi Nation in protecting their sacred lands and waters based on our Unitarian Universalist Principles; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT - We propose and support the rejection of all industrial, commercial and residential uses of the remaining natural lands and waters on and adjacent to Cherry Point; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT  We will encourage members to request that the current legislative bodies with jurisdiction over all industrial, commercial and residential uses of the remaining natural lands on or adjacent to Cherry Point, rule that such uses are not and shall not be permitted; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT - We will encourage members to request that the current legislative bodies with jurisdiction over all industrial, commercial and residential uses of the remaining and connecting waters near Cherry Point, including the rivers and creeks, the nearshore and the offshore waters, rule that such uses are not and shall not be permitted, except for the use of potable water for consumption by the people, on and near such waters, so long as such use does not harm or threaten the existing natural community’s reliance on the same resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT - We will actively encourage our membership to engage in activities and events, supported by the Lummi Nation, that could prevent or assist in deterring significant damage to these sacred lands and waters on and adjacent to Cherry Point; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT - We will actively encourage our membership to engage in activities and events, supported by the Lummi Nation, that will work to educate the surrounding community as to the importance of preserving and restoring the lands and waters on and adjacent to Cherry Point.

by the Social Justice Committee of Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
on the date: 5th of May, of the year 2013.

by the Annual General Meeting of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship,
on the date:  19 May, of the year 2013

UUA Resolution: Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery

 Responsive Resolution

WHEREAS the delegates of the 2010 General Assembly instructed the UUA Board to create a “Justice General Assembly” in 2012, whose business is accountable to partner organizations doing human rights work in Arizona; and
WHEREAS the Unitarian Universalist Association has been asked by partner organizations working with the Arizona Immigration Ministry to educate our member congregations about the Doctrine of Discovery and to pass a resolution repudiating it; and
WHEREAS the UUA Board of Trustees has submitted to the member congregations a report explaining the Doctrine of Discovery and why the Board believes it to be contrary to Unitarian Universalist Principles.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the delegates of the 2012 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as a relic of colonialism, feudalism, and religious, cultural, and racial biases having no place in the modern day treatment of indigenous peoples; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association and its member congregations to review the historical theologies, policies, and programs of Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism to expose the historical reality and impact of the Doctrine of Discovery and eliminate its presence in the contemporary policies, programs, theologies, and structures of Unitarian Universalism; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association to invite indigenous partners to a process of Honor and Healing (often called Truth and Reconciliation), and if one or more partners agree, to undergo such a process about Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist complicity in the structures and policies that oppress indigenous peoples and the earth; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Association to make a clear and concise statement repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and its current use in U.S. laws and regulations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we encourage other religious bodies to reject the use of the Doctrine of Discovery to dominate indigenous peoples, and that the UUA collaborate with these groups to propose a specific Congressional Resolution to repudiate this doctrine; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we call upon the United States to fully implement the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. law and policy without qualifications. In doing so, we support the establishment of commissions that include accountable representatives of the indigenous nations of North America and the Hawai’ian Kingdom.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Totem Pole Journey 2014 Fundraising Call

“Our Shared Responsibility ~ 
The Land, the Waters, and the Peoples.”

Totem Pole Journey 2014

The Totem Pole Journey, scheduled for July through September 2014, is one response to the many fossil fuel projects throughout the U. S. and Canada.  These projects include the Keystone Pipeline, the Kinder-Morgan toxic tarsands pipelines (Alberta to ports in British Columbia) and the coal/oil/gas export projects throughout the Pacific Northwest.  The largest of these being the coal export facility proposed at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) in the traditional homeland territory of Lummi Nation, home to an ancient burial ground with a 3,500-year old village site and is crucial to the health of the Salish Sea fisheries.  These projects will have significant and adverse impacts on Native and non-Native communities, alike.

This Totem Pole Journey will unite three compelling communication projects (the Mural, the Totem Pole and China Express Exhibit) that will appeal to the emotional and intellectual through visual arts.

The Mural.  On July 1st, the mural will begin its journey under the direction of  Melanie Schambach.  A group of Coast Salish participants will complete the first layer of the 16’ by 20’ mural and over the next month, the mural team will work in nine communities that would be impacted by the proposed fossil fuel exports projects.  At each community, youth, young adults, and elders will get an opportunity to translate their message onto the mural.  It is expected to be completed by the end of July and will then accompany the Totem Pole as it begins its journey in August. 

The Totem Pole.  The totem pole, one of the oldest forms of North American storytelling, still serves to remind us of our place within nature, of our responsibility to future generations, and of our connections to each other and to our communities. Lummi Elder and Master Carver Jewell James carries on this tradition of raising totem poles, sharing them among indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.  This sharing, will inspire communities do more than rally, galvanize, inform, and engage. Those who see and touch the totem pole experience the message as it will speak to the heart of the matter and the moral conscience of cultural diverse communities.  The 18-foot totem pole will begin its journey on the west coast in mid-August and culminate in early September when it will be raised at Peace River, in the heart of the tarsands territory in Alberta. Along the way the journey will highlight Native and non-Native communities in the path of the coal, Bakken oil, and tarsands oil throughout the U.S. and Canada.  It will incorporate Native American traditional values and knowledge, cross-cultural dialogue with the broader community on what is at-risk, and informational meetings and rallies with local leaders and community members.

China Express.  Photographer Carlan Tapp traveled the train routes to British Columbia, photographing everything from the open-pit coal mines in Wyoming to Pacific Northwest towns and Indian reservations.  Tapp’s black-and-white images of the frost-covered firs and mist-shrouded hills along the route are starkly beautiful but marred by the consistent presence of the train tracks.  Opportunities to show the exhibit can be scheduled for August in Minneapolis, MN, Olympia and Seattle.

The convergence of the totem pole, the mural, and the exhibit will have an enduring and profound impact on all.

As one of many communities being impacted by these projects and because we have expressed our support in protecting Xwe'chi'eXen, the faith community is being asked to help support the Totem Pole Journey by providing the financial support to meet feeding the Totem Pole Journey crew.  The cost of feeding the 5-member crew during the mininum 15 days they will be traveling is estimated at roughly $4,000.  Please ask your community to become a part of this monumental movement to engage communities throughout the U.S. and Canada in sharing the responsibility of preserving the land, air and water that is precious to us all.

Contributions are to be made out to "Lummi Nation Service Organization - Totel Pole Journey" and mailed to Beth Brownfield, 3820 Fielding Ave., Bellingham, WA 98229 by July 28th as the Journey crew leaves in August.  In the memo line, please write the name of your faith community.  Contributions will then be hand-delivered to Lummi in order to track the faith community's participation. 

Feel free to contact either of us with any questions:  Beth Brownfield ( or Deb Cruz (  We will contact you when Journey events and activities will be taking place with an invitation for you to attend and participate. 

Thank you for all your support!