The August edition of Whatcom Watch included a special eight page insert built around a long-form essay by Jewell Praying Wolf James, a master carver and a member of the Lummi Tribe. His piece should be mandatory reading for anyone trying to understand why the Lummi Nation is so bitterly opposed to a coal export terminal at Cherry Point.

James starts at the beginning, so to speak, with an historical account of the development of US law, treaties with Northwest tribes, and the ugly tangle of legally sanctioned thefts and abrogations that followed. He digs in deep on the cornerstone cultural importance of Xwe’chi’eXen (the Lummi name for Cherry Point) and carefully details the Lummi’s efforts to steward the natural resources there. It makes for a stark contrast with his account of the lawbreaking, influence buying, and chest thumping of the would-be coal terminal builders.

As I said, mandatory reading.

Update 8/19/13: At Crosscut, Floyd McKay has an excellent exploration of Lummi opposition.


August 12, 2013