Treaty tribes fight against coal terminal in DC

This morning tribal leaders will gathered during the White House Tribal Nations Summit to urge Congress to uphold treaty rights and reject permits for a shipping terminal in Lummi Nation’s fishing waters.

Here is some coverage from the event, starting with Joel Connelly in the PI:

“We’re taking a united stand against corporate interests that interfere with our treaty protected rights,” said Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council. The Lummis’ reservation is just south of the Cherry Point industrial area, proposed as location for the Gateway Pacific terminal.


The tribes have taken an increasingly critical approach toward the approach of coal and oil trains to Northwest ports. The Swinomish have gone into federal court in a bid to block oil trains from crossing their reservation en route to Anacortes refineries.


Brian Cladoosby, chair of the Swinomish Tribal Community, is president of the National Congress of American Indians, and said Thursday:


“For thousands of years, Washington tribes have fought to protect all that is important for those who call this great state home. We live in a pollution-based economy, and we can no longer allow industry and business to destroy our resources, water and land. No mitigation can pay for the magnitude of destruction to treaty resources for today and generations from now.”

From McClatchy DC:

About a block from the White House, three Lummi Nation sisters crooned a song referencing the 1855 U.S. treaty with Pacific Northwest Native American tribes, reserving certain rights for their fishing, hunting and sacred grounds. “What about those promises? Fills my heart with sadness, I can’t do this on my own, we’ve got to come together and be strong,” the women sang.


But Tim Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Nation, said those rights are in jeopardy.


“All the tribes are standing here today in solidarity to protect not just our reservation community but everybody’s community from the impacts that cannot be mitigated,” Ballew said, standing in front of leaders from the Tulalip, Swinomish, Quinault, Lower Elwha Klallam, Yakama, Hoopa Valley, Nooksack and Spokane nations and the president of United South and Eastern Tribes.