jesse and chief bill james

Jesse Ford of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis presents Lummi Hereditary Chief Bill James with their letter of solidarity and a handmade challis.

The following letter was presented by Jesse Ford, representing the UU Fellowship of Corvallis, to Lummi Hereditary Chief, Bill James, as part of the “Solidarity with Original Nations and Peoples” program of UUCSJ. Leading up to this journey, the Climate Justice Committee of the UU Fellowship of Corvallis committed to stand with Lummi Nation to protect Cherry Point, and call on the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal Bulk Dry Goods Shipping Facility. If the terminal is approved, ships carrying over 48 million metric tons of coal to Asia annually would traverse the fragile Salish Sea and interfere with Lummi treaty fishing rights.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis
2945 NW Circle Boulevard, Corvallis OR 97330
Phone: 541 752-5218
Web: Email list:
Rev. Jill McAllister, Minister Rev. Dr. Gretchen Woods, Minister Emerita Kyle Jansson, Board President

Climate Justice Committee Statement in Support of Lummi Nation

February 5, 2015

“Explore. Love. Act.” These are the words of our religious community, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis (UUFC). In our congregation, we are called to build deep connections as we respond to personal callings to act in the service of building a better world for all. In this spirit, the Climate Justice Committee of UUFC greets Lummi Nation. We are responding to your call for support in your struggle against the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, a coal shipping port that would directly impact Lummi sacred lands and indirectly impact the lands and waters of much of the Salish Sea region.

We are not of the Salish Sea region. We are a predominantly Caucasian congregation south of the Columbia River in Kalapuya country, whose ancestral lands we are privileged to share. This is a land of camas and tarweed and winter rains shaped by the mighty Willamette River, once repurposed by colonial interests solely for commerce and now being tended back into some of its ancient ways by new communities of caring and action.

The Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF) has called on other Unitarian Universalist congregations to support Lummi Nation as it confronts the Cherry Point development proposal. While our congregation as a whole focuses on concerns immediate to its own geography, with this letter members of our Climate Justice Committee acknowledge the interconnectedness of our communities and express our desire to stand with Lummi Nation in its struggle to protect its sacred lands from development at Cherry Point.

We specifically support Lummi Nation’s recent request to the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal Bulk Dry Goods Shipping Facility. We also join with activists at BUF in requesting that the PNW District Board sign the August 2014 statement, “A Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest”, a document already signed by regional representatives of many religious organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

Our concern also responds to the web of human actions and relationships that has destabilized the climate systems of the entire planet. We are profoundly unsettled by the flood of corporate actions driving the world to use more and yet more carbon, particularly in the form of coal. We are further appalled and outraged that Lummi Nation is being cut out of the planning process in a way that resonates with the long history of colonial disregard for the dignity and wisdom of indigenous nations by the USA. We express our particular and profound grief that Lummi Nation and Lummi persons are maligned in the local press in Bellingham, and that commerce is moving once again against the dictates of spirit by ignoring the peoples with specific responsibilities to those lands and water, people who will carry many of the health, environmental, and spiritual burdens should this project prevail.

One among us has agreed to represent our committee to both Lummi Interfaith and to the Nawt-sa-maat Alliance, as well as in other venues relevant to this issue.

Our faith calls us to justice, compassion, and equity. Our congregation calls us to build deep connections as we search for meaning and inspire action towards a better world for all. It is in this spirit that the Climate Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis stands with Lummi Nation, as long as the river of our heartland runs.

Blessed be. May it be so.

Members of Climate Justice Committee

Letter prepared by Jesse Ford, Lay Minister and Susan Cristie, Climate Justice Committee Chair

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Heather Vickery is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with UU congregations, State Action Networks, past UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) program participants, and regional staff in order to expand engagement in UUSC and UUCSJ’s work. As the Coordinator for Congregational Activism, she manages the workshop offerings and group visits to the UUSC/UUCSJ office and assists with communications for the Activism and Justice Education Team. Heather is an active member of the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network and a dedicated dog-mom to her rescue puppy Nova.

Heather may be contacted at and 617-301-4303