Borders might seem normal in this day and age to many. For others, they represent colonialism and are an alien concept to a people that lived on these lands for thousands of years.
A culture split by the creation of these borders hasn’t forgotten what binds them together. On the weekend that September turned into October tribal leaders and activists came together on neutral ground. The Peace Arch in Blaine Washington is a safe space between the American and Canadian borders.
It was there that relatives came together to stand in unity. The meeting was a beautiful symbol of solidarity for everyone who is working to protect the Salish Sea.
Protectors of the Salish Sea
There are many threats to the beautiful paradise many of you know as the Puget Sound. Tribal members know it as the Salish Sea. Many of these tribal members work tirelessly to protect something that has sustained their people for tens of thousands of years.
Paul Cheoketen Wagner (Saanich First Nation) organized this event with Lummi and First Nation relatives. Paul runs the Protectors of the Salish Sea and is active in protecting the environment. He has been a huge supporter of the efforts the Puyallup Tribe have put in to oppose a fracked gas facility being built next to their reservation.
On the event page, Paul explained his goals. “To create a harmonious future free of monster hurricanes, free of giant floods and free of rampant wildfires and the devastating effects of Climate Disaster we must come together today for our children & all life. We must end this era of fossil fuel fascism. There is no choice but to stop LNG and Kinder Morgan in our Salish Sea.
We invite you to walk with us from key locations on both sides of the colonial border. People from US & Canada coming together in peace, strength and the absolute knowing that we will end these terrific threats to all that we love. To support our Sovereign Nations and Treaty Rights of other Nations.“
Orcas, Pipelines and Zombie Salmon
The Peace Arch Walk was a two-day event. It started on Saturday in front of the Salish Sea at Birch Bay Park in Blaine, Washington. Walkers gathered for a traditional Lummi welcome and brushing off with cedar bows. Then, in weather that ranged from downpour to sunshine, they embarked on an 8.8-mile walk to Peace Arch Park. Birch Bay area because it is near the proposed location of the Island Gas Connector Pipeline that would carry Canadian LNG (Fracked methane gas) to the Malahat LNG Facility (currently in construction) on Vancouver Island BC we walk with the blessings of our ancestors, with the strength of the songs laying our blessings upon the land in each step to create that bridge to a
Birch Bay was chosen because it is near the proposed location of the Island Gas Connector Pipeline. This pipeline will carry Canadian fracked gas to the Malahat LNG Facility which is under construction on Vancouver Island, BC. Wagner explained, “We walk with the blessings of our ancestors, with the strength of the songs laying our blessings upon the land. Each step will create that bridge to a livable future for our children and their children beyond them, to think about the Kulthlala’muchen (Orcas) and the return of wild salmon, to think about the return of ancestor forests (Scalal’nexw.) We walk to protect and restore all of the once abundant life in our Salish Sea.”
You can experience day two, in this video by the excellent Martin Brown. (hint; follow him!)