TULALIP, Wash.—Leaders from Washington state tribes and British Columbia First Nations will be joined by representatives from Canadian province and Washington state government agencies Monday and Tuesday at the 8th annual Coast Salish Gathering. The event is being held at the Tulalip Resort Casino. The Gathering is an opportunity for tribal and non-tribal governing bodies to engage in a policy dialogue on environmental issues facing the Salish Sea.
“Our traditional homelands and resources continue to be threatened,” Melvin Sheldon, chairman of the Tulalip Tribes, said. “In this new political climate, it is critical for us to engage in constructive, future-building conversations with other tribes and policy makers so we can continue to address these issues.”
Leaders will discuss threats to treaty rights, tribal resources and the environment, and other topics. Regional issues on the agenda include rail traffic, the health of salmon and the threat of the recently-approved Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Controversy around the Kinder Morgan Pipeline echoes that connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is currently fighting to stop from crossing its treaty lands. At the Gathering, Standing Rock Sioux councilmember Frank White Bull will share experiences and insights from the No DAPL movement that galvanized Indian Country.
“It is imperative that these governing bodies meet to find solutions to the problems we face,” said Ray Harris, co-chair of the First Nation Summit. “As Coast Salish governments come together, we will determine the important next steps to protect the Salish Sea. We’ll continue to promote accountability to each other.”
The groups will aim to set an environmental policy platform that all of the governing bodies can use to ensure the health of the Salish Sea.
“The decisions we make now are not only for the Coast Salish people today,” said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and President of the National Congress of American Indians. “They are for the future of the Salish Sea and for all generations to come.”
Link to AGENDA