University of Washington journalism students, in a Sound News science conference blog, describe the tribal ceremony at the close of the Puget Sound Georga Basin Ecosystem Conference.

The closing was done in the traditional manner of the Coast Salish as a witness ceremony. Six leaders were delegated to listen and reflect on the event. The chairs in the large, open room were deliberately arranged in a circle to signify unity and transparency. The proceedings of the plenary were facilitated by Larry Campbell of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Ray Harris of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group. Both wore blankets of red, black, and white that hung over their shoulder like a sash and were fastened with two safety pins at the hip. Larry began by acknowledging everyone‘s presence, “We would be lonely if you weren’t here, so I want to say thank you.”

The common theme that emerged from the speeches was a sense of responsibility to take action, in recognition of our interdependency and shared common fate. Bill Rucklehouse, of Puget Sound Partnership stated: “We are at the end of beginning of a journey that doesn’t end.” We all left knowing we were embarking on the journey together to attain a collaborative ecosystem management system to ensure the future prosperity for all.

Additional blog posts about science conferences in the region can be found at:
http://courses.washington.edu/ejourn/wordpress/category/science-conference-blog/