In this space we will be building the story of the Salish Sea, sharing the indigenous perspective and interpretation of the gifts and wonders of this sacred space. We have very challenging issues here with the fossil fuel and other industries, pollutants and toxins on land and in the water, congestive vessel traffic and shipping noise, severe adverse impacts on wild/marine life to the point of several Endangered Species Act listing, disputes with Treaty Rights, and more.
It’s a space with a place in time immemorial, with a sacred name. It deserves our respect and our due diligence.
Here are some resolutions passed by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians:
ATNI Resolution-18-32: 2018 Mid-Year Convention – “TOKITAE, THE SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALE POPULATION, AND THESALISH SEA: OUR SACRED OBLIGATION”
ATNI Resolution 19-29: 2019 Mid-Year Convention – “THE SALISH SEA AND OUR SACRED OBLIGATION”
Below is a request from Lummi Nation. As some of you may know, Lummi Nation is seeking the return of Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita). For those of you who don’t know, Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita) is the last remaining Orca that was brutally taken in the 1970s raids on the J, L, K pods from Penn Cove. Over 40 Orca youth were taken from our waters and dispersed to various aquarium around the world. Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita) is growing older now and is near retirement from the aquarium. She has spent all but 4 years of her life (about 43 years) in a small concrete tank. She still remembers her pod’s songs. Lummi Nation has been trying to get Miami Seaquarium to release her and let her come home to spend her remaining years in the waters of her home and with her family (her mother is still alive). She will be kept in a special sanctuary and a detailed plan has been worked out to bring her home and secure her for the remainder of her life.
You can find more information here: https://sacredsea.org/skalichelhtenaut/. Take a few minutes to read and watch some of the videos, especially the link to the trailer for a documentary (https://vimeo.com/266726774).“We will be together in prayer for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut next Thursday, October 10, at 9:30am. We are asking you all to join us from wherever you are. Please say her name, please pray in your own way, please carry her in in your heart. We want Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut to feel our love, we want to send her hope and strength. Please pray for Miami Seaquarium to do the right thing and work in a good way with us to bring her home in 2020. Hy’shqe.”Statement from Raynell Squil-le-he-le Morris and Ellie Tah-Mahs Kinley, the two Lummi tribal women intending to sue Miami Seaquarium, Palace Entertainment, and EQT, for the return of Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut. (Tokitae/Lolita). Miami Seaquarium has until October 25, 2019 (90 days from the date of the letter of intent) to respond.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has instructed the province to reconsider its environmental assessment certificate and conditions issued for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. In their challenges, the Squamish Nation and the City of Vancouver argued the certificate should be quashed because it was based on a flawed report and approval from the National Energy Board that was later quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal. Read more here.
Earthjustice. The petrochemical refinery would be larger than any currently operating methanol facility in the world, and would use more natural gas each day than all of the power plants in Washington combined. It would manufacture methanol from natural gas and ship it to China to make plastics. The refinery would produce up to 3.6 million metric tons of methanol per year. Cowlitz County approves the shoreline permits. It's now up to the Dept of Ecology to approve or deny the project. Sign Columbia Riverkeeper's petition to the DOE or contact the DEO yourself asking them to reject this project!
Washington Environmental Council. Despite opposition from the Puyallup Tribe, over 80 community organizations, and Governor Inslee, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is still working to complete their fracked gas project in Tacoma. This project is an affront to our climate, health, and safety. Send in your comment to urge the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) to reject the permit for the Tacoma LNG project! More here.
Thu, November 14, 2019 • 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, WA 98229 In 2018, Washington State passed the Strengthening Oil Spill Transportation Act (E2SSB 6269) requiring the Department of Ecology (Ecology) Spills Program to take a variety of new steps to promote the safety of marine transportation and protect the greater Puget Sound from oil spills. One of the Act’s requirements is for Ecology to coordinate with British Columbia and Canada to establish the Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum. The purpose of the Forum is to exchange information to enhance oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response measures to minimize the risk and impacts of spills in the Salish Sea. The Forum will serve as a platform for open dialogue for all levels of government from both sides of the border, including Transport Canada, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Tribes and First Nations, environmental groups, and industry. It will address issues such as navigational safety, data sharing, and the impacts of spills on the environment, Tribal and First Nation resources, the economy, and public health. This Forum will provide a platform to discuss and share ideas on these and other issues related to vessel traffic. The goal is to advance our collective knowledge about current policies and practices, and potential safeguards to protect our shared waters and resources. The Forum will be a non-voting and non-decision-making entity. The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, of which Washington and British Columbia are founding members, will work with Ecology and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to establish and hold the Forum. This event will be free and open to the public. Please visit the Task Force website for additional information. www.oilspilltaskforce.org Agenda here. Register here
“I know that gutting the Endangered Species Act sounds like plan from a cartoon villain, not the work of the president of the United States,” Healey said during a call with reporters. “But unfortunately that’s what we’re dealing with today.” The goal of the overhaul is clear: to “undercut the science” and reduce the number of listed species, according to David Hayes, the executive director of New York University’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center and former deputy secretary at the Interior Department under President Barack Obama. The only reason to consider economic impacts when making ESA decisions is to “poison the well and obtain a sort of public reaction to the listing,” he said. Read more here.
Please take a few minutes of your time and write letters to the editor of the Seattle Times and your community newspapers. Let them know that you are a UU standing up for the 7th Principle and the qwe lhol mechen and behind the Tribes and Nations of the Salish Sea! August 7, 2019, By Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times Three more southern resident orcas are reported missing and presumed dead, according to the Center for Whale Research. Ken Balcomb, founding director of the center, said the missing whales are J17, K25 and L84. In his annual population survey, Balcomb reported the population of endangered southern residents is now 73.
Due to the scarcity of suitable chinook-salmon prey, the southern residents also rarely visit the core waters of their designated critical habitat: Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and the inland reach of the Strait of Juan de Fuca,It has been more than a month since the whales have been seen in their summer waters, and L pod has not been in the inland waters of the Salish Sea this summer.
J17 is a 42-year-old J pod matriarch and mother of Tahlequah (J35), who carried her dead calf for an unprecedented 17 days last year. She was reportedly not in good body condition last winter, perhaps from stress. She is survived by two daughters, J35 and J53, and son J44.
Her death puts her family at risk because older female whales help feed their families. Sons in particular, at any age, are eight times more likely to die within a year if they lose their mothers.
Also missing is 28-year-old K25, an adult male who was not in good body condition last winter. He is survived by two sisters, K20 and K27, and a brother, K34.
A 29-year-old male, L84, has been missing all summer. L pod has not come into the Salish Sea yet this summer. L84 was the last surviving member of a matriline of 11 whales.The population of southern residents is now the lowest it has been since the live-capture era ended in the 1970s. The whales are declining because of lack of adequate food, particularly chinook salmon; disturbance and noise by boats; and toxins in their environment. Additional information here.
Blaine Marine Park, Blaine, WA. Please save the date and include this as the concluding event for the other events being planned for Climate Action Week and the Season of Creation at the end of September. "BOATS . . . " is a gathering, led by the Tribes/Nations of the Pacific Northwest, to call attention to the imperative to restore and protect the Salish Sea. More details to come.
Press conference at an inter-tribal gathering announcing the intention to sue Seaquarium and its parent companies to secure the repatriation of Tokitae. More Info: Kurt Russo 360 312 2292 Lummi Nation and www.sacredsea.org Until Lolita is Home is a grassroots movement that advocates for the retirement of Lolita the orca from the Miami Seaquarium. By raising awareness about Lolita (and ALL cetaceans in captivity) we hope one day Tokitae (her original name) will see her home waters again. We are an all- volunteer group with “members” located around the world. Starting in May 2015, Until Lolita is Home (formerly Shut Down Palace) hosted rallies at dozens of locations in the United States and abroad, including the Miami Seaquarium and numerous other Palace Entertainment-owned sites. Join the Until Lolita is Home Movement www.facebook.com/UntilLolitaisHome www.RetireLolita.com http://josweb.co.uk/ UntilLolitaisHome@gmail.com www.instagram.com/untillolitaishome https://twitter.com/UntilLolitaHome
The day will also include a waterside ceremony, a program including Howard Garrett and Susan Berta of Orca Network, and news from the Lummi Nation on new actions being taken for Tokitae. 49 years ago over 100 Southern Resident orcas were herded into Penn Cove off Whidbey Island, WA. Seven of the young whales were netted and delivered to marine parks around the world. All but one had died by 1987. Originally named Tokitae, they now call her Lolita. In memory of the nearly 40 Southern Resident orcas captured in Washington State, and the 13 orcas killed during the captures, and in honor of Tokitae, the sole survivor, Orca Network is sponsoring a series of events on Tuesday August 8th to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the 1970 Penn Cove Orca Capture. Please join us as we commemorate the capture of Southern Resident orcas in Penn Cove and honor Tokitae/Lolita - the only survivor of those captures. On Wednesday August 8th From 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm, we will be at the Coupeville Wharf with educational displays and information about Tokitae and the orca captures. From 3:00 to 5:00 the Suva and Cutty Sark will provide ceremonial boat trips into Penn Cove. We'll travel to the capture sites in Penn Cove for a wreath ceremony to remember the orcas killed in the captures, and those who have died in captivity. If you have your own boat or kayak you are welcome to join us in Penn Cove for a procession to the capture site. We'll provide flowers and cedar sprigs to toss into the water, or you may bring your own flower or other eco-friendly offering to toss in the water during the ceremony. Tickets for the boat trip are $75 and registration is available via the Registration button below. At 5:30 pm we will hold a program and waterside ceremony at the Coupeville Wharf including Howard Garrett and Susan Berta of Orca Network, and news from the Lummi Nation on new actions being taken for Tokitae. At 6:00 pm we will honor Toki’s Southern Resident family with a vigil of remembrance for their recent losses and of hope for their recovery. Please join us at the Coupeville Wharf, or at a beach near you, and observe a moment of silence for the Southern Residents and for Tokitae. After the Coupeville Wharf event, we invite those interested to a no-host gathering at the Captain Whidbey Inn lounge/deck. Register here.
Two southern resident killer whales last seen in deteriorating health are now missing from their family groups. Researchers with the Centre for Whale Research spotted J pod and K pod in Haro Strait over the weekend, but two orcas, J17 and K25, weren't with their families. The centre hasn't declared the whales dead, but biologist Michael Weiss said "it's not looking good." "These were two whales we were already really worried about. They were looking pretty emaciated, so to have them be the two that we can't seem to find in these groups is pretty alarming," Weiss said Tuesday. Read more here.
Indian Country Today by Richard Walker Tribal nations in Washington state are facing environmental challenges ranging from protecting wildlife habitats and waterways to protecting the livelihood of Washington state residents from toxic chemicals that have been released into the environment and water for decades. Here are seven eco-disasters affecting Washington tribes as well as efforts to improve the waters on which all inhabitants depend. Everything interrelates: The Salish Sea Campaign Due to a consistent decline in the number of orcas that inhabit the Salish Sea, the Lummi Nation launched the Salish Sea Campaign on June 15 at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, calling for communities of the Salish Sea to stand together to protect the Southern resident orcas from extinction. Read more here.
Crosscut Gregory Scruggs / June 27, 2019 Environmentalists and indigenous groups, meanwhile, would like to see more water flow through the Columbia to support healthier fish stocks, a goal that might be achieved if so-called “ecosystem-based function” is added as a pillar of the modernized treaty. That regional concern has received minimal attention in the talks thus far, but that may have changed last week when the U.S. State Department hosted a Canadian diplomatic delegation in Washington, D.C., for the seventh round of talks. Unlike in the previous six rounds of talks, representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations, the three First Nations living in the upper Columbia basin, joined the Canadian side of the table — a domain previously dominated by diplomats from Ottawa and the British Columbia provincial government. . . . The Canadian decision renewed hope for U.S. tribes that their multiyear demand for a seat at the negotiating table would be met. Thus far, there are no signs that will happen. Read more here.
A small dam that channels Nooksack River water into Lake Whatcom will be removed next year in an effort to help endangered salmon and, by extension, southern resident killer whales, proponents said. The city of Bellingham’s dam has been diverting water from the Nooksack’s Middle Fork since 1962 to supplement its main source of water, which is Lake Whatcom — the drinking water source for nearly 100,000 residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County. . . . The salmon and the whales are cultural symbols — and, in the case of salmon, an important food source — for the Nooksack and Lummi tribes in Whatcom County, who are among the public-private coalition working to remove the diversion dam.
Pretty impressive document. Issued by the Office of Program Research Washington House of Representatives and published on April 29, 2019. Read more here . . .
BY ANNETTE CARY APRIL 14, 2019 11:48 AM, UPDATED APRIL 14, 2019 12:10 PM Criticism of speeding up a study looking at removing the Lower Snake River dams smells like an attempt to undermine the study’s validity, says Tri-Cities Congressman Dan Newhouse. In October 2018 President Trump required that a new environmental study on management of the Columbia and Snake rivers hydro system be completed a year sooner than previously planned. The study now is scheduled to be completed in September 2020, before Trump’s current term of office ends. A decision on how to best operate the hydro system is expected to be made based on the study . Trump ordered the shortened schedule as part of an initiative to streamline regulatory processes for water projects in the West. In 2016, a federal judge in Portland overturned a 2014 management plan for the dams, finding it did too little to protect salmon runs, and ordered a new management plan, called a biological opinion, or BiOp, be adopted by September 2021. The environmental study being done for the new BiOp includes the option of tearing down Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams in Eastern Washington. Read more here.
APR 12, 2019 at 7:08 AM Caroline Chamberlain Gomez, KUOW Lummi tribal members released one live chinook salmon into the Salish Sea on Wednesday as a spiritual offering to J17, an orca matriarch who has been ailing. . . . The tribe wants all the southern resident orcas to fare well, but there’s one in particular they are worried about. J17, also known as Princess Angeline, has recently shown signs of emaciation. Scientists say she may not survive the summer. Lawrence Solomon, tribal secretary of the Lummi Nation, led the morning with the Lummi National Anthem. Read more here.
Please comment on this: NOAA Fisheries’ Anadromous Production and Inland Fisheries Branch, is announcing the availability for public review and comment of the Proposed Evaluation and Pending Determination (PEPD) for Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Programs in the Duwamish-Green River Basin. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Muckleshoot Tribe, and Suquamish Tribe have prepared plans for 10 jointly operated hatchery programs in the Duwamish/Green River region. The proposal, developed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Tribe, will work to institute increase hatcheries and releases of Chinook Salmon into the Green River which then enter the Salish Sea. The Chinook is the food base for our Southern Resident Orcas which are starving. The public comment period closes on May 2, 2019. Written comments on the proposed evaluation and pending determination should be addressed to Charlene Hurst, NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Comments may be submitted by email. The mailbox address for providing email comments is: nmfs.duwamish-green.hatcheries-PEPD@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the email comment the following identifier: Comments on Duwamish/Green River hatchery evaluation. The documents are available on the internet at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov. Comments received will also be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours by calling (503) 230-5409. More info at NOAA Fisheries.
We must stop treating Puget Sound like a sewer if we are going to restore the fish, shellfish, wildlife and other natural resources it supports. That’s why we are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stand strong in the face of challenges to water quality improvements. We were disappointed to learn that tugboat companies, cruise lines and other marine industries recently filed suit against EPA claiming that complying with a new no-discharge zone for human waste is too expensive. Read more here . . .