Saturday, November 12, 2016

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

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