Yakamas join opposition to coal-transport proposals

Yakima Herald Republic, September 23, 2013
By Kate Prengaman

TOPPENISH, Wash. — On a chilly Sunday morning, about a hundred members of the Yakama Nation gathered to bless a totem pole symbolizing tribal opposition to coal-transport projects proposed for the Northwest.

Members of the Yakama Warriors Association proceed out past a totem pole before a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation blessing a Lummi Nation totem to raise awareness of inter-tribal opposition to the proposed international coal export hub on the Columbia River. (ANDY SAWYER/Yakima Herald-Republic)

Members of the Yakama Warriors Association proceed out past a totem pole before a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation blessing a Lummi Nation totem to raise awareness of inter-tribal opposition to the proposed international coal export hub on the Columbia River. (ANDY SAWYER/Yakima Herald-Republic)

The totem pole is traveling across the West to raise awareness about the potential impact of the coal projects on tribal life. Currently two are under state review — one at Longview and another at Cherry Point near Blaine, close to the Canadian border.

The pole, which stands 18 feet tall, was made by the House of Tears Carvers from the Lummi Nation, situated next to the proposed Cherry Point export terminal. They named the totem pole Kwel hoy’, which means “we draw the line.”

“We know the tribes of the Northwest have stood up and said no to the coal going through,” Lummi carver Jewell James told the crowd assembled under a tent outside Legends Casino. “It’s impossible to mitigate the damage, that’s why we have to prevent it.”

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About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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