In the April 16 issue of the Cascadia Weekly, the editor noted in his op-ed A History of Violence that treaty rights of Washington tribes that protect salmon and the water needed to sustain them are the basis of a new hate campaign promoted by the Whatcom Tea Party in conjunction with the foremost anti-Indian organization in the United States, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. Noting that the organizer of the April 6 conference in Bellingham, Washington to launch the hate campaign has a history of violence, the Weekly‘s editor observed, “The essential topic of the conference was stripping the tribes of their federal treaty rights, a necessary precursor to seizing and plundering tribal property.”
The referenced violence, by the way, consisted of organizing local Christian Patriot militias related in faith to militias made famous by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Given this history of what he calls the politics of resentment, whipping up “white rage” is something the Tea Party, CERA and organizers like Skip Richards will have to answer for.
In the meantime, as tribes in British Columbia take a stand to protect the Salish Sea from Tar Sands oil companies, conscientious white people might want to ask themselves if violent white supremacy is the way they want to settle differences with Salish Sea tribes in the future. While that may be the way they were settled in the past, it might be time to try a different, more respectful way. For those who agree with that, now’s the time to speak out against white supremacists who are trying to tear our society asunder over money.
Alden Point Light on Patos Island keeps up a steady rhythm of roughly three to one with East Point Light on Saturna Island, thus delineating the Westerly entrance from Georgia Strait into Boundary Pass. On a clear night, Turn Point Light on Stuart Island, at the other end of Boundary Pass, is visible with its rapid warning to vessel traffic at Haro Strait in and outbound from Vancouver.
Steady running, mast and bow lights indicate the size of ships navigating North and South, while occasional deck lights illuminate tugs towing barges or waiting to escort tankers.
Sometimes, when wakened by stormy weather, I happen on unusually busy nights when traffic is active in all directions, and I imagine the noise in pilot houses as captains and mates monitor marine radio channels for vessel communications and Coast Guard updates.
For twenty years, Washington State Department of Ecology has stalled on protecting the public health of consumers of seafood. As a result, people at risk — like children, pregnant women, and Indian tribes — have to wonder if the fish they eat is toxic. Given the water quality loopholes that allow businesses like Boeing to contaminate public waters are largely the result of stalling and knowingly inaccurate estimates of seafood consumption by Ecology, one has to wonder what can be done. For some, the answer seems clear: bring in the feds. Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been after Ecology to do something for two decades, it might be time they did more than just talk.
The decision on whether to allow the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility at Cherry Point might ultimately land in the Oval Office. If it does, the president will have to take into consideration the 57 US tribes impacted by the estimated 487 supertankers per year expected to call there. In that consideration, he will have to decide whether to ignore the federal treaties with these tribes that guarantee their fishing rights and sacred sites. KCTS9 Seattle listens to Lummi Nation spokesman Jay Julius elaborate on what’s at stake for the tribes.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun, the Canadian government’s closure of environmental protection offices is part of the federal strategy of eliminating environmental protection law in order to remove all obstacles to energy export and extraction. Combined with recent bills that eliminate environmental study and monitoring by federal agencies, the closure of offices, programs and agencies once tasked with environmental protection is eroding public confidence in public officials. As the Harper administration attacks First Nations and other environmental activists, Canada is fast becoming a battleground in the war of globalization.
John Spellman, Republican Governor of Washington State from 1980 to 1984, was elected by defeating Democrat Dixy Lee Ray–a pro-nuclear energy advocate. His one and only term as governor coincided with the first term of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, during which Governor Spellman was exposed to intense pressure from the federal government and the oil industry.
As John C. Hughes reports in the first of a series on Governor Spellman’s rendezvous with Puget Sound’s destiny, that destiny called on Spellman’s courage and integrity to stand up to extreme pressure to overturn an Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council decision denying permission to build a 22-mile oil pipeline under Puget Sound. In the end, Spellman chose to uphold the law, and in so doing deny himself another term.
Politicians, let alone Republicans, like that are few and far between.
The eagle family I watch swooping ducks on Birch Bay also makes seasonal jaunts to Harrison Lake in British Columbia for fall salmon runs. Sometimes the adults hunt ducks in pairs, one pretending to wander off away from a floating flock, while the other dives in from behind. Occasionally, while the adults keep watch from the top of shoreline pines, the juveniles practice swooping each other, turning their talons toward the other in mock displays later used in rituals, where breeding pairs lock talons in a cartwheeling free-fall they break just before hitting the ground.
Reading about the Bald Eagle on Wikipedia, I note that eagles on nearby San Juan Island consume introduced wild rabbits for as much as 60% of their diet. Weighing about the same as a duck, rabbits can be carried to a nest for distributing to chicks. Anything heavier would have to be dismembered before transport.
Something else I found interesting on Wikipedia is that Golden Eagles, which are rarely seen in this area, are not larger than Bald Eagles. For some reason, I had it in mind that they were.
While on the subject of eagles, residents of the Salish Sea might enjoy visiting the annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival held in mid-March at Blaine, Washington. In addition to boat rides, guided field trips and birdwatching on the beach, the Sardis Raptor Center brings an array of live owls, falcons, hawks and eagles to the Blaine Middle School cafeteria, where the public can listen to knowledgeable speakers and see the birds up close.
If you’ve never been before, the show is definitely worth the trip.