Pacific Northwest Annual Conference
 Creation-Care, 365

 PNW United Methodists
Caring for God's Creation

PNW Apology to Native Americans

Small Steps:
Join the Totem Pole Journey

Tools for Renewal:
Sacred Lands Film Project

Lectionary Links

Events & Actions:
Autumn 2013 - Winter 2014

UMC Creation-Care News


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"CC-365" Archives
Please click on the above link to find an indexed list of our archived issues.
Issue #75
"Sacred Lands"
September 18,  2013
"Members of the Lummi Nation protest the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point on...Sept. 21, 2012. The tribe says they want protect the natural and cultural heritage of the site." (Philip A. Dwyer, Bellingham Herald)


Every four years, The United Methodist Church approves "Resolutions" to live out our broader belief statements known as "Social Principles." "When approved by the General Conference, resolutions state the policy of The United Methodist Church on many current social issues and concerns." (Book of Resolutions [BOR], p. 4) In 2012, General Conference re-approved a resolution titled "The Protection of Native American Sacred Sites" (#3335 in 2012 BOR).  This Resolution states, "The United Methodist Church, expressed through the [2012] General Conference, is to strengthen the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 and preserve the God-given and constitutional rights of religious freedom for American Indians, including the preserving of traditional Native American sacred sites of worship."


Right now in the Pacific Northwest, the Lummi Nation's own sacred landscape, Xwe'chi'eXen (Cherry Point,

an Aquatic Reserve in northwestern Washington) is in need of immediate protection.  "The most imminent threat to this sacred landscape and to treaty rights associated with Xwe'chi'eXen comes from a proposal to build North America's largest coal port: the Gateway Pacific Terminal."*


The Lummi Nation invites our broader community -- and especially people of faith who have promised repeatedly -- to stand with our Native American sisters and brothers in protecting their sacred lands.  This issue of Creation-Care 365 will help you to learn how you respond prayerfully and effectively respond to this sacred invitation.


Grace and Peace be with you,

Tanya Barnett

Coordinator, Creation-Care Ministries

Pacific Northwest Conference 

The United Methodist Church



* - We Draw the Line: a totem pole journey through the sacred landscapes of the West. 

Creation Quote

From The 

Bishops* and Denominational Executives from churches in the US Pacific Northwest 




"This is a formal apology on behalf of our churches for their long-standing participation in the destruction of traditional Native American spiritual practices.  We call upon our people for recognition of and respect for your traditional ways of life and for protection of your sacred places and ceremonial objects. We have frequently been unconscious and insensitive and not come to your aid when you have been victimized by unjust federal policies and practices...."




"...Because of our faith in a God of resurrection and rebirth and hope, God revealed in Jesus Christ, we make the following re-affirmations from the 1987 Apology:


"To honor and defend the rights of Native Peoples to practice and participate in traditional ceremonies and rituals with the same protection offered all religions under the Constitutions and public policies of the lands in which we live. 

"To secure access to protection of sacred sites and public lands for ceremonial purposes. 

"To respect the use of religious symbols for use in traditional ceremonies and rituals.  

"To participate in the struggles to end political and economic injustice against tribal communities."




*PNW UMC Bishop Rev. Melvin G. Talbert signed the 1987 Declaration and PNW UMC Bishop Rev. Elias Gabriel Galvan signed the 1997 Declaration.

 SmallStepsSmall Steps... for Greater Good

Journey with the Lummi Nation

"We draw the line": No coal export terminal at Cherry Point

A letter from Jessie Dye, Outreach Director with Earth Ministry

Totem Pole Journey of the House of Tears Carvers
Video: Totem Pole Journey of the House of Tears Carvers


"Kwel hoy' means 'we draw the line' in the Lummi language of the native people of Northwest Washington.


"Native tribes lost almost everything in the great genocide on the American continent: their languages, their land, their religion, their families. Despite all this, the Lummi people have created a tradition of carving and delivering totem poles to areas struck by disaster or otherwise in need of hope and healing. Their generosity of spirit brings me to tears.   


"Now it is Lummi Nation's own sacred landscape, Xwe'chi'eXen (Cherry Point), that needs hope, healing and protection. It is our turn to repay a tiny portion of the debt we owe.  The largest coal export terminal in North America is proposed at the very site of Cherry Point, called Xwe'chi'eXen in the Lummi language. If built, this huge terminal would destroy the burial grounds, holy sites and treaty rights of this sacred landscape. It would cause terrible damage to Lummi fisheries, and fishing is the basis of the life and the spirit of the people.   


"In 2012 the Lummi Nation adopted a formal position opposing the proposed project. As Lummi Councilman Jay Julius, in opposing the proposed coal port, has said, Kwel hoy': 'we draw the line.' The sacred must be protected. Treaty rights must be honored. Kwel hoy'. There will be no coal export terminal built at Xwe'chi'eXen.


"The famous carvers of the House of Tears led by Jewell (Praying Wolf) James have crafted a totem pole called Kwel hoy', 'we draw the line.' In a modern enactment of an ancient ceremony, Lummi carvers and elders are taking Kwel hoy' on a journey of blessing and protection along the rail line from the coal fields of Montana to Southwest British Columbia, where it will stand guard over sacred lands. Faith, environmental, and civic leaders are invited to join our native neighbors in ceremonies of blessing and protection at stops along the way.   


"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step into the river of history and spirit, on behalf of the ecosystems of our home and for all our relations. Please join Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light and Lummi leaders in these places:

  • Wednesday, September 18th at 10:00 am, Northern Cheyenne blessing at Otter Creek
  • Thursday, September 19th at 3:00 pm, ceremony in Missoula
  • Friday, September 20th at 11:00 am, blessing in Spokane
  • Monday, September 23rd at 5:00 pm, ceremony in Portland
  • Tuesday, September 24th at 12 noon, blessing in Olympia
  • Wednesday, September 25th at 11:00 am, ceremony at St. Leo Church in Tacoma
  • Friday, September 27th at 5:00 pm, blessing at Xwe'chi'eXen (Cherry Point)
  • Sunday, September 29th, blessing at Tsleil-Waututh in British Columbia

"The time has come to honor and fight for the sacred, for sanity and sustainability. It will take all of us, our prayers, our advocacy, and our love to protect Earth's air and water. We, too, will draw the line."


For more information, please visit: 


Tools for Renewal
Sacred Land Film Project
Resources for Education & Action

The Sacred Land Film Project -- a project of Earth Island Institute -- is "A community dedicated to protecting the Earth's sacred places through education and action."  In addition to producing powerful documentaries -- "In the Light of Reverence" and "Standing on Sacred Ground" -- they offer a vast array of resources for learning more about sacred sites and effectively protecting them.  Please visit their Explore Sacred Lands and Tools for Action pages to learn more.

Lectionary Links
Some excellent, on-line sermon helps -- most of which coincide with the Revised Common Lectionary:
Events & Actions
Autumn 2013 - Winter 2014  
UMC Creation-Care News
"Creation-Care, 365" is a free, e-resource of the PNW Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Subscribers are welcome to reprint any/all of the materials contained within; cite "Creation-Care, 365," Thanks and God bless you in your creation-caring efforts.