City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Kwel Hoy' totem pole arrives in Seattle
9/26/2013  10:00:00 AM

Kwel Hoy' totem pole arrives in Seattle
Lummi community carved pole as statement against coal exports

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn today welcomed Jewell James, a member of the Lummi Tribe, and the Kwel Hoy' Totem Pole to Seattle. Mr. James and the House of Tears Carvers created the totem pole as a statement of opposition against the Gateway Pacific Terminal, proposed for Cherry Point, north of Bellingham.

"The Kwel Hoy' Totem Pole is a symbol of what will be lost if we move forward with coal exports in the Northwest," said McGinn. "Communities up and down the rail lines will suffer the impacts, tribal culture and treaty rights will be damaged, and climate change will be worsened. I am pleased to join with members of the Lummi Nation as well as the more than 75 elected and tribal leaders in the Leadership Alliance Against Coal to continue the fight against the proposed coal terminals in Washington and Oregon."

"Xwe'chi'eXen (Cherry Point) has deep spiritual and cultural significance to our people," said Jewell James. "The project will result in significant, unavoidable, and unacceptable interference with treaty rights and irreversible and irretrievable damage to Lummi spiritual values. Kwel hoy': we draw the line."

"This isn't just about pollution and noise and economic stagnation and traffic congestion and global climate disruption, though the coal industry would bring us all those things. It's about who we are as a region, and where we're going together," said KC Golden of Climate Solutions. "We are so grateful to the Lummi Nation for standing their ground, and for reaching out to inspire all of us to understand our past and defend our future."

The Kwel Hoy' Totem Pole journey began on September 15 in the Powder River Basin and is following the 1,200 mile long coal train route west through the Columbia Gorge and north to Cherry Point. The journey will conclude in British Columbia, where the totem pole will be placed in the homeland of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, demonstrating unity with the Canadian First Nations' position opposing the transport of tar sands by pipelines across their territories. There, the totem pole will be met by Tribes and First Nations from all directions. The Totem Pole will be placed as a means of reinforcing the message: Kwel hoy' (We Draw The Line).

If built, the Gateway Pacific Terminal would be the largest coal export facility in North America. Coal would be exported from mines in the Powder River basin to the proposed port site by rail lines that run from Wyoming and Montana through Idaho, eastern Washington, along the Columbia River Gorge, and then up the coast of Puget Sound. Bulk cargo carriers would ship the coal to markets in Asia, where the coal will be burned.

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