Tea Parties and Treaty Rights

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.


Night Lights

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.

State of Stall

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.