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.

Monday, August 8, 2016

2016 Totem Pole Journey Commencement Event

Join the Totem Pole Journey crew as they begin the 2016 Totem Pole Journey. Master Carver Jewell James and Dr. Kurt Russo will be talking about this year's Journey with a Totem Pole to be installed at Where the Two Rivers Meet, in Winnipeg, Manitoba Province, Canada.

August 18, 2016
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 7:00 pm
1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham

Guest presenters will include:

BUF Welcome by Rev. Paul Beckel
Traditional Welcome by Richard Solomon and the Solomon Family
Dr. Kurt Russo, Lummi Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office
Master Carver Jewell James, House of Tears Carvers
Fred Lane, Lummi Nation and Totem Pole Journey Crew member
Matt Petryni of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
Roxanne Murphy, Bellingham City Council

Other guest speakers to be announced.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Paddle to Nisqually is coming up!

Check out the Blanket Project and we need volunteers to help with Paddle to Nisqually!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Video of Freda Huson and Dini Ze Toghestiy speak out at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship BUF

For those of you who missed the opportunity to hear the Unist'ot'en story from Freda Huson and Dini Ze Toghestiy, here's a video that Reese Semanko took and offered to the public.

For more info on the camp and to register to help at the camp, go to:

Financial Donations towards the materials costs can be made to

Sunday, March 6, 2016

BUF and Lummi at the Canadian Unitarian Council General Conference in May 2016

Bolder Ways of Being

May 20-22, Vancouver, British Columbia will be hosting the Canadian Unitarian Council General Conference and registration is now open.  Early bird registration fees are available for those who register by March 31st.

Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, Lummi and Tsleil-Waututh will be putting on a workshop entitled "No Borders:  Climate Justice and First Nations."  We're trying to encourage as many UUs from the U.S. to attend so we can start collaborating on erasing the border when it comes to justice issues.  The presence of U.S. UUs would greatly be appreciated.  This will be a great opportunity to meet up with UUs across the border to get to know each other and work together on projects like the upcoming Totem Pole Journey.

There are also workshops on the Truth and Reconciliation movement in Canada (First Nations issue and one that we will want to be exploring here in the U.S.), climate justice and action organization, criminal justice reform and restorative justice, Israel-Palestine situation, music and storytelling, and much more.

If we could get a few of our members to attend the "Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village: Truth, Healing and Reconciliation" workshop that would be really great.  It's one of those ideas that we've been discussing and talking about creating a similar movement here on the U.S. side.  It would be great to have someone take notes.  Two UU ministers are on the CUC task force and at some point I'd like to get them down here to make a presentation on the work they're doing up there.  The description is as follows:

During this experiential workshop Kathi Camilleri will take participants through an exploration of our personal role in supporting the revival of the values that worked so beautifully in Indigenous villages for thousands of years. We will also explore in‐depth the effects of Residential Schools and Canada’s Policy of Assimilation. This workshop is geared to solutions and is done from a non‐blame and non‐shame perspective, inviting all participants to become a part of the healing that IS already happening. Please be aware that Residential School effects and other issues may trigger unresolved grief and loss issues for some. Hosted by the CUC’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Task Force co‐chairs, Revs. Samaya Oakley and Meg Roberts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Decolonizing Our Work for Justice: Join the UU College of Social Justice and Lummi Nation for a Program on Indigenous Rights & Climate Justice, April 25-May 1 

“Whose land do you live on?”

It’s an uncomfortable question for those of us known as “settlers,” and one that we do not regularly have to face. Last year, as part of the UU College of Social Justice’s “Solidarity with Original Nations and Peoples” program, I had gone in considering myself someone whose eyes were open to the injustices done to the original peoples of the United States. As I stood on the rocky shorefront of the Salish Sea, listening to Lummi organizer Freddie Lane explain the history of this sacred site under threat, I realized that my knowledge barely scratched the surface.

I did not know that Federally Unrecognized Tribes lack government acknowledgement only because they never signed a treaty with the United States and they were never conquered. I did not know that the U.S. military’s very origins were in the domination and genocide of the original people of this continent. And I did not know the scale of the determination, cultural pride, creativity, and hospitality that I would find among the Lummi leaders and organizers that invited us onto their sovereign Nation.

Today, one of the most urgent challenges the Lummi people face is the struggle to prevent construction of an immense coal terminal on their sacred land at Cherry Point. Designed to facilitate export of some of the dirtiest fossil fuels, such a terminal—and the multiple rail lines serving it—would be disastrous to the land, water, and culture of the people who have lived there for thousands of years.

The UU College of Social Justice’s second annual journey, “Solidarity With Original Nations and People”[AK1] , taking place from April 25-May 1 will not only introduce participants to this specific justice struggle; it will also empower us all to return to our own locations and look with new eyes on the history of the towns and cities where we live, and to find new pathways to solidarity with First Nations across the continent.

As Unitarian Universalists we have demonstrated our ongoing support for the Lummi Nation’s struggle to preserve Cherry Point. Lummi Nation Council member Jay Julius and Master Carver Jewell James spoke to a crowd of over 2,500 at last year’s Public Witness[AK2]  at General Assembly in Portland, hundreds of us wrote to President Obama asking him to block the Gateway Pacific Terminal, and through Faithify[HH3]  we raised nearly $14,000 to for the Lummi Nation’s totem pole journey[HH4]  for climate justice and building solidarity among tribes along the coal train route.

By asking “Whose land do you live on?” instead of “Who were the Native Americans who originally lived in your city or state?”—which places First Nations peoples in the past—I am learning to decolonize the question, and my work for justice. I hope you will join me.

Please register now [AK5] for this powerful program. Registration closes February 21.

Hannah Hafter
Senior Program Leader for Activism
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

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