Last Monday’s Dinner at Lummi Nation – another take

Lummi Island is gifted with many skilled, perceptive and thoughtful people of good heart.  Anne Gibert is one, as you’ll see if you read her story and thoughts about last Monday night’s dinner at the Lummi Nation on her blog, 2oth Century Woman.  Great photos, too.

It is so incredibly interesting to keep hearing about how each person responded to the evening — a good reminder that reports of “what really happened” never depend just on the event but also on the person who experiences it.

4 thoughts on “Last Monday’s Dinner at Lummi Nation – another take

    • I am happy to have read Anne G.s report. I’ve been reading the forum for my news while I am away from home. It shows how words and facts can be changed by feelings and human perceptions. “HISTORY” is made up of this distorted communication recorded by human beings.There are a small number of people who feel like Anne does,and like I do, but they are not putting their feelings in print . Does this mean their views are not facts? Some people don’t speak up because they are afraid of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. This is a loss for all of us 500+ /1000 /2000 households, home owners or residents[ whichever fact suits your purpose] .I am dissapointed in myself for not checking other sources before I commented on the dinner I couldn’t attend personally. The ferry forum is a great vehicle for forming consensus. The more people who participate the better view we will all get of the facts. On having an annual dinner I vote YES, when and how can I help? It is an important fact that as a group we do not have a large meeting place or the huge shared food stores that the tribe does. It’s one of many cultural differences that would be great to have the opportunity to learn about. When I moved here I willingly chose closeness to the tribe , hoping for cultural exchange on a personal level rather than political or theatrical. I like the sound of Indian voices, and much of the way of thinking about life, I have experienced kindness and understanding and great humor, learned some practical things about plants, and waters, fishing,hunting, cooking and medicine. Many of us have Coast Salish Artwork in our homes that some how speak to our spirits and that is a fact.

  1. There are people, I’ve heard, who keep a big pot of soup on the stove all the time. Leftovers continually find their way into it, so it keeps evolving. They keep stirring it, and occasionally a chunk of something will come to the surface and hang out there for a bit.

    This Soup of the ferry negotiations has been on the stove for a year and a half now, and been stirred over and over until you would think everything would have dissolved into some kind of palatable broth but it hasn’t. Instead, given the disappointed comments about the Dinner, the best we can say is that there are a few big chunks that have been in the soup since the beginning which are not dissolving, and not digestible. We all try to ignore them and keep stirring, but they won’t go away.

    The First Chunk is this: Twenty five years ago representatives of the Tribe and the County worked out an agreement and signed it. Mutually they honored their commitments and kept all the provisions until last fall, when LIBC declared its intention not to honor the provision to renew the agreement. Instead they chose to seek an exorbitant monopoly rent for future use of their tiny patch of tidelands. We can all understand –and perhaps deplore– their reasoning. But understanding does not make it digestible, and their odd invitation to dinner does not seem to have made us feel any less betrayed.

    The Second Chunk, the big Bone that gives the Soup its musty flavor is that tribal representatives assert the right to charge the County for use of a Right of Way that the County may already own, as many reasoned and researched opinions have suggested. When you have a bone this big in a soup, at some point you ought to save the meat and discard the bone. But after a year and a half on the stove, no one has sorted out the most basic question of “who really owns what?” I understand the County’s reluctance to litigate; but without a credible threat of litigation the County has no bargaining position.

    The Third Chunk is something missing from the soup: the obvious fact that we need to outline a credible alternative ferry transportation system with a different boat and a different route. Back of the envelope calculations suggest that a 50-60 car ferry to Fairhaven has many attractive features, not the least of which would be no longer having to deal with the frustrating maze of legal jurisdictions that complicate every negotiation with the Tribe.

    Sometimes you just have to throw out the whole pot and start over.

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