Whereas the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship passed the Resolution To Honor The Lummi Nation’s Sacred Lands and Waters of Cherry Point by congregational vote in May 2013;

Whereas the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship passed a resolution Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery in May of 2011 and the Unitarian Universalist Association also passed a resolution Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery during the General Assembly of June of 2072;

Whereas the Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery resolution states “that we call upon the Unitarian Universalist Association to invite indigenous partners to a process of Honor and Healing (often called Truth and Reconciliation), and if one or more partners agree, to undergo such a process about Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist complicity in the structures and policies that oppress indigenous peoples and the earth;”

Whereas the myriad of fossil fuel development and expansion projects proposed in the Pacific Northwest will have a devastating impact on Pacific Northwest First Nations’ sovereignty, fishing rights,cultural continuity and on sacred lands and waters – sacred to not only First Nations but to ourselves;

Whereas in keeping with the our UU Principles, Living Traditions, mandates of the aforementioned resolutions and the theme and goals of Climate Justice and Building a New Way of our upcoming 2015 General Assembly in Portland, OR;

Whereas the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship is a member of the Pacific Northwest District and of the Pacific Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association;Whereas the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, the Pacific Northwest District and Pacific Region are members of the greater Pacific Northwest faith community;

Whereas the Pacific Northwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association requires a congregational vote on this resolution;

Therefore, be it resolved we recognize that now is the time, in which to begin this process of reconciliation with our First Nations as a member of the regional faith community and to support those regional UU congregations who have already begun this process of reconciliation;

And therefore, be it resolved the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, in accordance with PNWD by-laws and procedures, officially requests the PNWD Board of Directors to sign the below “Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest” of August 2014 as the denominational executive of the Pacific Northwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

A Public Declaration to the Tribal Councils and Traditional Spiritual Leaders of the Native Peoples of the Northwest

August 2014
c/o Jewell Praying Wolf James, Lummi

In 1987 and again in 1997, bishops and denominational executives of churches in the Northwest offered letters of apology to the indigenous peoples of our region. These letters acknowledged the historical disrespect of traditional Native American spiritual practices and traditions. In those letters,the leaders of our denominations promised “to honor and defend the rights of Native Peoples …[including] access and protection of sacred sites … [and to] end political and economic injustice against tribal communities.”

In this decade a new threat has arisen against Native Peoples: the mining, transport, burning, and disposal of fossil fuels. Proposed coal export terminals would damage native fisheries protected by Iong-standing treaties and poison our shared air and water. Coal trains servicing these terminals would cut across lands sacred to indigenous peoples, and impact the health of those communities. In this generation we also acknowledge that the mining and burning of fossil fuels creates the terrible threats of climate disruption, ocean acidification, and pollution to the harm of all God’s children, especially the poorest.

Tribal leaders have asked us to keep our past promises, and to stand with them in defense of their sacred lands and fishing rights. And so we call upon the Northwest Congressional delegation and other elected officials, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and all people of goodwill to uphold the treaty rights of Native communities of the Northwest. We ask that all environmental and cultural harm to Native lands and peoples be considered in making public policy decisions about the mining, transport, and export of coal and other fossil fuels.

As religious leaders we call for the protection of the life we have been given and the Earth we all call home. Our greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Putting this ethic into action, we stand in solidarity with our Native neighbors to safeguard the traditional lands,waters, and sacred sites of their peoples from destruction.