Lummi Indian Business Council
Lummi Nation has taken diplomatic action to resolve the international dispute arising from Canadian projects that harm Lummi’s territory in the Salish Sea. The démarche was sent, as per protocol, in the form of a letter from Lummi Nation Secretary Lawrence Solomon to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland.
“We’re in a state of emergency. Our qwe’lhol’mechen (orca relations) are dying, our salmon are disappearing, our people are suffering. Our schelangen (way of life) is in peril. We have a Xa xalh Xechnging (sacred obligation) to care for our culture and all our relations,” said Secretary Solomon.
Despite accepting comments and hearing testimony from First and Tribal Nations, the Canadian government fails to protect the Salish Sea and all that it holds. Lummi has spiritual connections, Treaty rights, cultural sites, economies, fisheries, and qwe’lhol’mechen that are a part of the Salish Sea.
“As our ancestors keep telling us, there is hope for the Salish Sea, there is hope for us. But we have to do the work,” said Raynell Morris, Director of the Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office of Lummi Nation. “Part of the work is our Nation talking directly to the United States and to Canada about what we all need to do to save and protect these shared waters.”
“We’re here to protect Mother Earth. It’s not only for us, it’s for each and every one of you and your children and your grandchildren that are coming behind you,” said Tsilixw (Bill James), Hereditary Chief of Lummi Nation.
The official letter from Secretary Solomon to the Honourable Freeland is here.
For information on Lummi Nation's Salish Sea Campaign, please go to www.sacredsea.org.
A démarche is a formal diplomatic action, often an appeal or a protest.
Free, prior, and informed consent
International standards, as well as Canada’s own, now require “meaningful consultation” and “free, prior and informed consent” from Indigenous peoples when considering projects that would adversely affect those peoples. Please see UNDRIP and Canada’s First Principles for more details.
Lummi Nation has requested a meeting with Canada’s Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, to discuss the protection and restoration of the Salish Sea. This request has gone unanswered.
Lummi Nation participated in National Energy Board hearings (November, 2018) regarding the Trans Mountain Pipeline; this testimony was largely ignored, as indicated by the decision to immediately proceed with this project.
Lummi has also testified before the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (May, 2019) regarding Roberts Bank Terminal Two. A decision has yet to be made regarding this project.
Lummi Nation was not asked for testimony regarding the Woodfibre LNG port up at Squamish, which is now up and running.
Meaningful Consultation: a plan
As part of a truly meaningful consultation process, Lummi Nation would like to work with Canada and other involved Tribes, First Nations, scientists, and governmental agencies on:
- A cumulative impact study that would assess damages to the Salish Sea as measured in cultural and spiritual –as well as scientific– terms.
- A moratorium on Salish Sea stressors.
- The establishment of a baseline for Salish Sea health as measured in productive salmon runs.
- Schelangen and the Salish Sea is a synopsis of how Lummi Nation's Salish Sea Campaign is shaped by Lummi life-ways, worldview and values.