Tribes and First Nations unite to preserve the Salish Sea
Lummi Indian Business Council
Canadian First Nations and Washington State Tribal participants will be holding a joint press conference during the lunch break of the Information Session for Roberts Bank (Terminal 2) on Wednesday, January 30. The press conference will focus on our concerns about the cumulative impacts of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) and other currently proposed projects on salmon populations, on our Orca relatives, and on our Treaty rights.
“We are salmon people, as are our relations, the killer whales. The Fraser River is a major source of salmon for us all. I’m worried about anything that endangers the Fraser River as a home for salmon,” said Raynell Morris, tribal elder of Lummi Nation.
The Lummi Nation is calling for a moratorium on any additional potential stressors, including marine vessel traffic and associated development, to the Salish Sea. An interjurisdictional, comprehensive cumulative impact study of Salish Sea marine vessel traffic and an agreed-upon baseline for sustainable cultural and ecological Salish Sea vitality are long overdue.
“We need a new vision that truly honors the ancient wisdom of the Salish Sea and all our relations,“ said Lawrence Solomon of the Lummi Indian Business Council. “The killer whale, our traditional lands and waters, and are our way of life are all imperiled. This must stop.”
“Our connection to the killer whale is personal, is relational, and goes back countless generations,” according to Lummi Chairman Jay Julius. “Our name for them, qwe ‘lhol mechen means our relations below the waves.”
The proposed expansion of Roberts Bank would require about 260 annual calls of some of the world’s largest ships. While these vessels would be carrying containers, rather than fossil fuel exports, these ships’ size and polluting capacity would alone impact the life of the Salish Sea. Additionally, each of these “ultra-large” ships leaves port with fully fueled, which can mean up to 4.5 million gallons per outbound ship.
“Everyone has a stake in this,” according to Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. “The reality is there will be spills and they won’t be able to clean them up. Our killer whale relations will pay the ultimate price.”
Because the Coast Salish people are connected by bonds of kinship, culture, and language, it is critical that Canadian projects consider Native American Tribes, and that United States projects consider First Nations, when assessing the potential environmental impacts of a project.
WHAT: Canadian First Nations and Washington State Tribal participants will be holding a joint press conference.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PST
WHERE: Wosk Conference Centre, Salon A/10 on 580 W Hastings, Vancouver, BC **
VISUALS: The press conference will open with traditional drums/song/prayer.
** Please note: slight change of venue. This is directly across the street from the Roberts Bank Information Session. Signs and directions will be posted.