Northwest Jobs Alliance asks: “Who is speaking for LUMMI?” / Noisy Waters Northwest

who is speaking for LUMMI nwja

February 29, 2016  Dena Jensen

On their Facebook page, the Northwest Jobs Alliance is asking: “Who is speaking for LUMMI?”

First of all, why are they using all caps for the name, Lummi?

Second of all, to answer their question:  The leaders of the Northwest Jobs Alliance have been speaking for the Lummi.

Don’t you think?

Led by President Brad Owens, Director and Chair John Huntley, and Director and Gateway Pacific Terminal paid spokesperson Craig Cole, the Northwest Jobs Alliance (NWJA) seems to have been trying to tell us what the Lummi are doing and why they are doing it in regards to Cherry Point and the Gateway Pacific Terminal for months now.

NWJA leaders have spread a steady stream of rumors and claims about Lummi Nation and Lummi leadership intent over the last few months. The portfolio is pretty fat.

Here are links to four newsletters worth of these rumors and claims:

August 27, 2015 Protect Cherry Point Jobs

There is also a September 12, 2015 Saturday Morning Live radio show where rumors about Lummi leadership intent were discussed by Brad Owens and KGMI Saturday Morning Live radio host Kris Halterman. Additionally there was a December 22, 2015 NWJA Op-Ed in the Lynden Tribune, and  NWJA letters to the Planning Commission on August 13, 2015 and December 22, 2015 again casting aspersions on Lummi leadership.

chorus of voices

In NWJA’s recent February 25, 2016 newsletter, their leaders seem to be blaming their unsubstantiated allegations on a “Chorus of Voices” that “Confuses Understanding of LUMMI Position on Jobs.”  (There goes NWJA is using those Lummi-focusing caps again.) Here are the first two paragraphs from that newsletter:

The current Lummi political leaders have been advocating for County policies restricting heavy industry at Cherry Point, but sorting out the players in terms of who speaks for the tribe can be confusing. Sometimes elected Lummi leaders espouse the Nation’s policies. Sometimes non-elected, non-tribal Lummi government staff members seem to be in charge.  Still other times outside consultants seem to be holding much sway.  And individual tribal members are always free to speak for themselves, which some reporters mistakenly describe as speaking for the Lummi Nation.

To make matters more difficult, non-tribal outside activists have entered the fray by taking it upon themselves to describe what they view as Lummi policies. Many of their comments revolve around the tribe’s input into the process for updating the Whatcom County Comprehensive Land Use Plan (“Comp Plan”), which sets up land use and zoning regulations. These activists seem to be using the Lummi to front for their own agendas and have been discouraging the tribe from meeting with industry proponents, so as to keep the tribe from understanding the full range of win-win possibilities.

When you read about these voices the NWJA newsletter says are chiming in amidst this chorus, only one of the voices is identified as “elected Lummi leaders.”

While it’s true that Northwest Jobs Alliance leaders have made blanket allegations against the whole of Lummi Nation, they’ve shown no evidence that they have any record of enough voices or types of voices to be able to assert they know what every member of Lummi Nation thinks.

NWJA leaders seem to be gradually getting away from casting their aspersions on an entire Native American Nation and are focusing mostly on Lummi leadership for the time being. So why are any other voices besides those Lummi leaders listed at all when talking about who is speaking for the Lummi?

Want to know what Lummi leadership has to say about the Cherry Point Industrial area and why they are opposed to the Gateway Pacific Terminal?  That’s an easy one, statements and context, here you go:

jan 15 2016 comp plan kirk vinish

Copy of the letter that Interim Director for Lummi Planning and Development Kirk Vinish, read at the Public Hearing on January 26 available on the Whatcom County website regarding Cherry Point Industry and the Gateway Pacific Terminal

Video of the Whatcom County Council January 26, 2016 Public Hearing on the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan in which  Interim Director for Lummi Planning and Public Works Kirk Vinish, speaks at about 2:33:07 ,reading a letter reviewed and approved by Lummi leadership regarding Cherry Point Industry and the Gateway Pacific Terminal

December 23, 2015 Cascadia Weekly perspective, “Coal in Your Stocking” with statements by Lummi Indian Business Council Chariman Tim Ballew II regarding jobs at Cherry Point

December 10, 2015 letter from Lummi Indian Business Council, signed by Interim Planning and Public Works Director Kirk Vinish with regard to June 24, 2015 Urban Growth Area Review (Cherry Point UGA Proposal), following up on their July 21, 2015 letter

July 21, 2015 letter from Lummi Indian Business Council, signed by Interim Planning and Public Works Director Kirk Vinish with regard to June 24, 2015 Urban Growth Area Review (Cherry Point UGA Proposal)

October 3, 2015, Bellingham Herald article with statements by Lummi Indian Business Council Member Jay Julius, “Crabbing highlights importance of coal port site to Lummis”

September 11, 2015, Bellingham Herald article with statements by Lummi Indian Business Council Chairman Tim Ballew II , “Lummi tribe says talk of Cherry Point land grab is a fabrication,” regarding allegations spread by Northwest Jobs Alliance leaders about “a plan by the Lummi Nation to annex Cherry Point to its reservation”

Lummi Nation August 13, 2015 Press Release containing August 3, 2015 letter from Lummi Indian Business Council Chariman Tim Ballew II, pertaining to congressional legislation that could serve to abrogate Lummi Treaty Rights in regard to the Gateway Pacific Terminal

Lummi Nation Press Release for January 5, 2015 with information on Lummi leadership’s position on the Gateway Pacific Terminal

Lummi Indian Business Council  January 5, 2015 letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District Commander, Colonel John G. Buck, signed by Tim Ballew II with information on Lummi leadership’s position on the Gateway Pacific Terminal.


 

If you want to see more, do an internet search on Tim Ballew II or other members of the Lummi Indian Business Council and Cherry Point Industry or the Gateway Pacific Terminal to see what any of them may have to say.

 

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