Tag Archives: No Coal Trains

Ed Johnston and Steve Robinson on KAOS 89.3 fm, November 9th, 2014 at 5pm


Ed Johnstone

Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson

Our Shared Responsibility—A Journey against Coal and Oil!

Our Shared Responsibility—A Journey against Coal and Oil!
In the testimony of Master Carver Jewell James, the totem itself is not sacred — it is only when it is touched and shared by many communities standing together that the totem becomes a lasting part of our memories and a symbol of our resistance.
So please join us in this unique, indigenous event and let the Lummi community know that we stand with them in the fight against fossil fuels and we share the responsibility to protect the land, the waters, and the peoples of the Northwest.
The Lummi Nation’s annual Totem Pole Journey is taking a stand against coal and oil export in our region. Stand with them at events in Billings, Spokane, Olympia and Seattle.

Coal and oil extraction and export threaten the lands, waters, resources and human health of all of us, but none more so than the indigenous people who sit right in the path of destruction.

The coal terminal proposed for Cherry Point, WA would sit right on the ancestral lands of the Lummi. The mining of that coal would destroy Northern Cheyenne lands in Montana, and transport by rail would harm the fishing and treaty rights of Native Americans all along the way.

In protest against dirty and dangerous coal export and oil transport, Lummi carvers have created a new totem pole, which representatives from different tribes are taking on a journey from the Lummi ancestral home at Cherry Point to where the pole will be erected in the tar sands of Alberta. Along the way, tribal elders and community leaders will bless the totem pole.

If you can, please take part in this important journey by attending one of these stops along the way:
• Billings: August 24, 5-7pm at Riverfront Park. 7334 South Billings Blvd (Info and RSVP)
• Spokane: August 26th, 11-12:30pm at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist 127 E 12th Ave (Info and RSVP)
• Olympia: Wednesday, August 27th, 1pm at Medicine Creek, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. To RSVP for the event or for information on carpools from south of Olympia email beth@climatesolutions.org
• Seattle: Friday, August 29th, 11:00 am—12:30 pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave East (Info and RSVP)

For more information visit www.totempolejourney.org
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/totempolejourney
Follow us at #totempolejourney


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jewell James, Lummi Nation on KAOS 89.3 FM September 15,2013 AT 5:00


Jewell James and the Lummi House of Tears carvers have created a totem pole Kwel’hoy (“We Draw the Line”) and are travelling with it in a journey of blessing across the west. Please join the Lummi Tribe at Kwel’hoy ceremonies for offering prayers of protection for sacred lands, sacred waters, and treaty rights of Native peoples.

photo credit Liz Jones / KUOW
Jewell James is a longtime leader of the Lummi Tribe.

Jewell James shares about Kwel ‘hoy: “We Draw the Line”.

KWEL HOY’ (“We Draw the Line”)

Reclaiming the Sacred and Protecting Xwe’chi’eXen from Coal

The House of Tears carvers of the Lummi community has created a tradition of carving and delivering totem poles to areas struck by disaster or otherwise in need of hope and healing. Now it is Lummi Nation’s own sacred landscape, Xwe’chi’eXen, that needs hope, healing and protection. The most imminent threat to this sacred landscape and to treaty rights associated with Xwe’chi’eXen comes from a proposal to build North America’s largest coal port: the Gateway Pacific Terminal.


The Kwel hoy’ Totem Pole journey,  September 15-29, 2013, will start in the Powder River Basin and follow the coal train route through Indian Country, up to Xwe’chi’eXen.  The journey will conclude in British Columbia, where the totem pole will be placed in the homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, demonstrating unity with the Canadian First Nations’ position opposing the transport of Tar Sands by pipelines across their territories.  There, the totem pole will be met by  Tribes and First Nations that have travelled from all direction.  The Totem Pole will be placed as a means of  reinforcing the message: Kwel hoy.’

The House of Tears Carvers and a team of support people and witnesses will accompany the Totem Pole on its 1,200 mile long journey. At each event, Tribal members, non-Tribal local citizens, elected officials, and the press will be invited to attend.


One primary goal of the journey is to connect tribal nations along the coal corridor.  Tribal Nations innately understand and honor the need to protect sacred landscapes and treaty rights.  Uniting the Tribal Nations is important for this particular issue and for Tribal communities that would be affected by coal transport and export.

The proposed coal rail line and port brings very different cultural communities together in a common cause. The proposal has unique ramifications not only for Tribal Nations, but also for communities all along the rail lines and shipping lanes that would be affected by coal export. Communities, commerce, livelihoods, public health, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, air and water safety, natural resources, quality of life would all be adversely impacted. In asking for blessings and strength from communities along the coal transportation corridor, the Kwel hoy’ Totem Pole brings together the Peoples of the West. People of many faiths can stand united in protecting the sacred, and people of many traditions can support honoring treaty rights and the traditional livelihoods they ensure. People from all affected communities can stand against this project.


by Jewell James (House of Tears Carvers)

Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) has deep spiritual and cultural significance to our people. It is a sacred landscape that includes ancient reef-net sites and a 3,500 year-old village site. Our Hereditary Chief of the Lummi Nation tsilixw (Bill James) describes it as the “home of the Ancient Ones.” It was the first site in Washington State to be listed on the Washington Heritage Register and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

If built, the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point (Xwe’chi’eXen) in Washington State would be the largest coal export facility in North America. The mines are connected to the proposed port site by rail lines that run from Wyoming and Montana through Idaho, eastern Washington, along the Columbia River Gorge, and then up the coast of Puget Sound. Bulk cargo carriers would ship the coal through the Salish Sea to Asia.

The project will result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with treaty rights and irreversible and irretrievable damage to Lummi spiritual values. As a result, the Lummi Nation in 2012 adopted a formal position to oppose the proposed project. As Lummi Councilman Jay Julius, in opposing the proposed coal port, has said, Kwel hoy’: “We draw the line.” This position was also adopted in 2013 by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.


Witnesses will document and publish (via this blog) photos, writings, sketches, and videos of both the journey and preparation for the journey when culturally appropriate. The blog will feature entries from Lummi Nation members and by people along the journey.  Journalists, photographers and a documentary film crew will be invited along for the journey.