Citizens Forum is a chance for the public to address the Tacoma City Council. It is held on the second Tuesday of each month. You’ll remember this event from last months Woman’s March when the forum ended much earlier than expected.
That march was to bring woman together to stand up against the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility being built on the Tacoma Tideflats. With several hundred women marching on City Hall, a decision was made to rush through the Citizens Forum and leave. It was a public relations disaster for the City of Tacoma and the City Council.
Some tribal members are incensed at what they say are behaviors from the City and the Port that directly disrespect and disregard their treaties as well as agreements they have signed into.
The NOLNG movement has a personality of its own. Many of the people that have stood on the lines together now consider each other family. People are genuinely happy to see each other and greetings involve rigorous handshakes, hugs and catch up stories.
Yesterday it seemed most of us were together again. The live streaming community was back in force and it was good to see Martin ‘Snuffy’ Brown back with his phone in hand recording events. Eva, from Independent Two Spirit Media, was also there, spreading the message like only she knows how. We’d missed these guys as they had been busy with other commitments and important causes, so it was good to welcome them ‘home’ so to speak.
Yesterday also saw the return of Jesse Nightwalker and Paul ‘Cheoketen’ Wagner. Both Paul and Jesse are integral to our movement and both are important song and prayer leaders that help us all keep our eyes on the prize.
Paul, in particular, is a leader and mentor to many young native activists and has helped shape the activist community in the Pacific Northwest. He is currently championing an effort to turn the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) into a whale sanctuary and hopes to protect the Orca and Salmon.
Jesse is a hereditary chief of his people. He returns fresh from representing his own ancestral lands, those of the Palouse. His tribe was decimated in the name of hydro electric dams and his nation absorbed into the Yakima tribe.
We can’t talk about song and prayer without mentioning Penny and Bryan Cole, who bring such passion and heart to everything they do.
What is clear is that we have all the best people.
Flagging Puyallup Style
Last week, Puyallup Tribal Council presented the Water Warrior Movement Council with the tribal flag. This was done so that they could take it with them into meetings such as this and the Port Commission.
Today was the first time the flag was held up for this purpose. Dakota marched to the podium holding the flag and implored all Puyallup tribal members to stand with him. Several other speakers demanded the council include the flag in chambers out of respect for this being traditional Puyallup territory. It’s unclear if that sentiment is shared by tribal members. Many feel that the City disrespect the tribe and do not deserve to have their flag.
There is much work to be done. Darren Moore suggested it was a good time for Tacoma to join other major cities around the United States by declaring Indigenous Peoples Day on the day set aside by the federal government as Colombus Day.