On June 27, 2015, more than 2,500 Unitarian Universalists and allies gathered for "A Sacred Public Witness," sponsored by Commit2Respond. Attendees listened to the story, struggle, and wisdom of leaders from Lummi Nation, who are on the front lines of the environmental crisis, and then co-created a powerful ritual of sending blessings to the four directions and making spiritual commitments to climate justice.
Speakers included Lummi Nation Councilman and treaty rights activist Jay Julius, Lummi Elder, international climate justice activist, and totem pole carver Jewell Praying Wolf James, and Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. Peter Morales. Music was provided by Shamania James, singer/songwriter Dana Lyons, and President of Plant for the Planet and founder of Earth Guardians Seattle Aji Piper and his brother Adonis Williams.
Attendees learned about how the ecosystems and way of life of Original Peoples of the Western Hemisphere are being threatened by the environmental crisis, and how Lummi Nation is fighting to keep the largest coal port in North America from being built on Cherry Point, or Xwe'chi'eXen, which would desecrate Lummi Nation sacred lands and waters. They were called on to make spiritual commitments to climate justice and take action in solidarity with communities at the front lines of the environmental crisis.
Take action in solidarity with Lummi Nation! Find out six ways you can take action, from small to large.
Learn More About Lummi Nation
- Read the UUWorld article about Lummi Nation's struggles and the partnership between Lummi Nation and Unitarian Universalism
- Watch a video clip of Councilman Jay Julius and Elder Jewell Praying Wolf James talking about Lummi Nation's struggles
- Check out Grist's visual and compelling coverage of what Lummi Nation is up against and their powerful activism
- Hear from participants in the recent UU College of Social Justice service and learning trip to Lummi Nation
Learn More About Unitarian Universalism and Commit2Respond
Watch the Recording of the Event
In the images above, citizens of the Chinook Indian Nation of Oregon and Washington play a drumming prayer song, "The Changer," to open the event; and participants in the "North" volunteer group bless a sapling tree, ask it to bear witness to our collective spiritual commitment to climate justice, and send their blessing to the North as other groups did the same for the other three directions (photo by Nancy Pierce / UU World).
The beautiful salmon/chalice design above was created by Bruce Pierre, an enrolled Lummi Tribal Member and a descendant of Tlingit/Haida, especially for this event.