Tagged ‘CERA‘

CWIS [Center for World Indigenous Studies]

Salish Sea Maritime

April 27, 2017

by Jay Taber



Research and education on indigenous issues in the Salish Sea region is supported by the Center for World Indigenous Studies in Olympia, Washington–a non-profit established by leaders of the Assembly of First Nations and the National Congress of American Indians.  CWIS, an indigenous academic institution that has served Coast Salish Nation since 1979, is the premier indigenous think tank in the world.

In addition to research and education, CWIS publishes Fourth World Journal and Intercontinental Cry magazine. In April 2013, IC magazine was the first in world media to expose a nationwide campaign by CERA – “the Ku Klux Klan of Indian country” — to terminate American tribes.

In the Fall of 2013, IC, Public Good and Wrong Kind of Green collaborated on publishing Communications in Conflict, a primer on netwar–shorthand for networked psychological warfare. In April 2016, WKOG published Netwar at Cherry Point, what Noisy Waters Northwest described as “a detailed and important accounting of three years of research on matters related to the Anti-Indian movement in Whatcom County, Washington.”

Documenting the Dark Side, a vastly underappreciated aspect of research and education, allows tribal leaders and moral authorities to more effectively confront promoters of interracial discord, such as SSA Marine and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. It also helps to expose misleading campaigns by fossil fuel export developers like BP.

Fourth World Geopolitics is poorly understood by both mainstream media and academia. Enlightening them to the social, economic and political realities of indigenous nations is the purpose of CWIS.


[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

Promoting Interracial Discord

Public Good Project

By Jay Taber


Lummi Image 12

Photo: Canoe and Bulk Carrier at Cowichan Bay, B.C. © 2008


For readers who might wonder why I make a big deal of “the appalling disrespect of Pacific International Terminals and BNSF Railroad toward the citizens of Whatcom County and Lummi Nation over the last five years, as well as the reprehensible behavior of Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman Craig Cole” in my op-ed at Cascadia Weekly (Apr. 13, 2016 issue), the short answer is my twenty years of experience dealing with violent white supremacy instigated by industrial developers, a.k.a. Wise Use terrorism.

While some might think that “the sinister desecration of the sacred Lummi burial ground at Cherry Point in the dark of night” or “the lavish funding of Tea Party-led PACs run by KGMI hate radio hosts” or “the repeated corruption of elections year after year through money-laundering with the Republican Party” or “the intimidation and libeling of journalists that exposed their ongoing nefarious deeds” or “promoting interracial discord and anti-Indian resentment” is no big deal, allow me to explain why I think it is.

As you can read in my comment on a March 12, 2016 news story at Northwest Citizen, Sandra Robson, a former correspondent to Whatcom Watch, was recently named the Paul de Armond Citizen Journalist of the year for outing Pacific International Terminals and BNSF Railroad, who financed a CERA-promoting, Tea Party led-PAC to attack Lummi Nation for its opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal-export facility. CERA, for those unfamiliar with the acronym, is Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, “the Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”.

Paul de Armond, former Public Good Project research director (who passed away in 2013), in the 1990s contributed to the apprehension of people engaged in violent intimidation of Indian treaty proponents and human rights activists. Seven of the white supremacist militia members Paul (and I) helped expose were, in 1997, convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle for manufacturing bombs and machine guns to commit murder.

The militias had been hosted in Whatcom County by Wise Use organizer Skip Richards, a paid agent of the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County. More recently, Mr. Richards and Minuteman militia member Tom Williams of Lynden were the organizers of the April 6, 2013 CERA anti-Indian conference in Bellingham, Washington.

In February 2014, Sandra Robson was threatened with a SLAPP suit by Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman, Craig Cole, over her January 2014 Whatcom Watchcover story. In October 2015, Robson came back fighting with an IC Magazinefeature story.

The full story of this injustice, perpetrated by some of the largest corporations in the United States, is told in my April 2016 Wrong Kind of Greenspecial report.


[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and communications director at Public Good Project, Email: tbarj [at]]


Further reading: Coast Salish Gathering briefing on treaty rights (2013): for-publication-april-2013-protecting-treaty-rights-sacred-places-and-lifeways


Wrong Kind of Green

January 31, 2016

By Jay Taber

31 3

Darkfeather, Bibiana and Eckos Ancheta, Tulalip Tribes. Photographer Matika Wilbur


In April 2013, when I received an email from the editor of the Cascadia Weekly requesting background on CERA (“The Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country”) — which had just held an Anti-Indian conference in his city — I sent him a Letter to the Editor (LTE), which he published. My letter connected the organized racism to propaganda by coal terminal developers. Responding to my LTE, the PR guy for fossil fuel export developers next to the local Indian reservation phoned the editor, expressing his displeasure at his publishing my opinion.

Shortly after, the editor published a column titled A History of Violence, based on my exclusive feature story at IC Magazine a week earlier. Ten days later, the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights in Seattle published a special report titled Take These Tribes Down, which cited two reports on the Public Good Project website.

Reading my LTE, a local researcher, Sandy Robson, contacted me, requesting historical background on the Anti-Indian Movement in the Pacific Northwest. By October 2013, she was ready to go, launching her first expose in Whatcom Watch–a local free community newsletter. In January 2014, Sandy published her detailed account of money-laundering by the export consortium into the hands of CERA-supporting, Tea Party-led PACs.

In February 2014, the PR guy threatened Whatcom Watch with a SLAPP suit, which led to online discussions on local blogs and Facebook about Sandy’s article, and eventually to organizing in local churches, in particular the Unitarians. At this point, a local Unitarian social justice committee contacted me, asking for reading materials they could use in adult education and community forums. In March 2014, Indian Country Today published a feature story on CERA, in which the reporter quoted me three times. (Her story was based on mine.)

The PR guy’s response to all this was to get the local corporate-friendly news monopoly to publish an article claiming the SLAPP suit issue had been amicably resolved, and that the racism charge was overstated by Robson and me, whom she quoted in her article. This article, in turn, propelled the incident into the Greater Seattle Earth Ministry milieu (progressive churches), which began hosting speakers from the targeted Indian tribes, culminating in a national conference of Unitarians in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2015.

Video: American Indian Movement:

“This video is intended to raise awareness about the American Indian Movement. Often times educators are prepared and expected to educate students about the Civil Rights Movement. But, the American Indian Movement is often left out of the history curriculum. ”



[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] Website:]

Further reading:

Public Good Project: Shining a Light on the Blind Spots that Aid Hate Groups




SAN FRANCISCO, CA October 8, 2015 – Public Good Project — an investigative research network in the US and Canada — has been defending democracy for 21 years. Our volunteer researchers, analysts and journalists have led the pack in fighting the fascism, racism and fraud that threaten both civil society and indigenous nations. To keep our free public service available, though, we need your help.

Collaborating with IC Magazine, Public Good Project has provided key information on the convergence of Wall Street, the Tea Party and CERA — the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian country” — constituting the industrial-sponsored terrorism called Wise Use. As IC Editor-in-Chief and Public Good correspondent John Schertow remarked, “Defending democracy isn’t something we do as a career; we do it as a duty.”

Public Good and IC Magazine have had a unique and productive relationship. For instance, our research published at IC in April 2013 was first in world media to expose a nationwide campaign by CERA to terminate American Indian tribes. In July 2013, we collaborated with IC Magazine and Wrong Kind of Green collective to publish Communications in Conflict, an introduction to the topic of netwar.

In the very near future Public Good and IC will team up again to produce Mandates from God, a groundbreaking documentary film about white power, Indigenous Peoples and fossil fuel export.

Help us continue our vital work. Make a donation today!

Link to fundraiser:

– 30 –


Wise Use Terrorism – Craig Cole’s Anti-Indian Campaign

Intercontinental Cry

September 22, 2015

by Jay Taber


The Wise Use Movement, a fascist movement of industrial-sponsored terrorism against environmentalists and Native Americans, has a thirty-year history of fomenting violent interracial discord aimed at intimidating activists, journalists and public employees. With funding from industry, the Anti-Indian Movement in turn promotes Wise Use propaganda, organizing hate campaigns to capitalize on white supremacy and religious bigotry.

The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence in the fossil fuel export war on the Salish Sea, using counterfeit front groups and political action committees, is a textbook example of Wise Use netwar (networked psychological warfare) exploiting organized racism. Gray ops (misleading propaganda) and black ops (counterfeit front groups) make it possible for Wise Use fossil fuel export developers to confuse mainstream media, and in conjunction with bribery through advertising, ensure that only the industrial point of view is represented in the corporate mainstream news.

Drumming up resentment against environmentalists and American Indian tribes, however, has repercussions. From 1992 to 1996, Wise Use ideologues and agent provocateurs (funded by developers) hosted Christian Patriot militias to intimidate their political opponents. In 1997, militia members from Seattle and Whatcom County, WA were convicted of firearms and explosives charges in U.S. District Court, where it was revealed they planned to murder human rights activists.

As noted in Fossil Fueled Fearmongering, political action committees, funded by Wise Use developers proposing a coal terminal at Cherry Point, capitalized on promoting interracial discord in conjunction with CERA (the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian Country”), KGMI radio and the Tea Party. In her September 14, 2015 article Creating Something Out of Nothing: Craig Cole and the Northwest Jobs Alliance, Dena Jensen examines the latest in netwar waged by SSA Marine against Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

While not a new phenomenon, The Politics of Land and Bigotry feeds on a growing politics of fear promoted by PR people like Craig Cole and his employer, Pacific International Terminals. As a rationalization of theft, Fascism in America includes both Wise Use and Christian Patriots (the people responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing), who share a willingness to use violence to maintain power and privileges based on wealth or race.



[Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] Website:]

A Sovereign Nation Stands Tall

Robson’s article below, A Sovereign Nation Stands Tall exposes industry funding of white supremacy advocates, as a means of drumming up resentment against Northwest tribes opposing fossil fuel export on the Salish Sea (between Seattle and Vancouver).

Coal Stop

February 20, 2015

by Sandy Robson


The Lummi, a Coast Salish people, are the original inhabitants of Washington state’s northernmost coast and southern British Columbia. The Lummi Nation is a self-governing nation and is the third largest tribe in Washington state. Lummi refer to themselves as the Lhaq’temish, or People of the Sea. Their survival and culture have depended on the annual migrations of salmon for centuries, but salmon are now severely threatened after salmon stocks have drastically declined.

Presently, threatening the Lummi, their treaty rights, and the salmon they depend on, is Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT), a 48 million metric ton per year coal export terminal proposed at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point) in Whatcom County, Washington, along the Salish Sea shoreline. The company proposing the coal export terminal is Pacific International Terminals (PIT), a subsidiary created for the GPT project by SSA Marine, one of the largest shipping terminal operators in the world.

Despite the Lummi Nation’s multiple expressions of their position that the impacts on the Nation’s treaty rights associated with GPT cannot be mitigated, executives of SSA Marine are not listening.

totem journey seattle

Lummi people have fished in the waters of the northern Puget Sound and the Nooksack River since time immemorial, and the Lummi’s treaty fishing rights are secured to them by our federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855. Article 5 of the Treaty provides that, “The right of taking fish from usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory. . .”

Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) Chairman Tim Ballew II sent a January 5, 2015 letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“the Corps”) requesting that the Corps take action and immediately deny SSA/PIT’s permit application for the proposed GPT project, “based, inter alia, on the project’s adverse impact on the treaty rights of the Lummi Nation.” The LIBC letter further stated, “The impacts on the Nation’s treaty rights associated with this project cannot be mitigated.”

Enter SAVEWhatcom

Since the news of Lummi Nation’s letter to the Corps, executives from SSA/PIT launched a barrage of proclamations of their supposed “good faith” offers for face-to-face negotiations between the company and Lummi Nation about the project. SSA/PIT used the media and the company’s GPT email mailing list to deliver those invitations, which in the language of sincerity, seemed to be put forth more for public opinion than anything else.

Recent statements on its Facebook page made by the Political Action Committee (PAC) SAVEWhatcom, which has received over $20,000 in contributions from SSA/PIT, appear to be an attempt to drive public opinion against the Lummi Nation’s strong oppositional stance to GPT. SAVEWhatcom’s statements call into question the sincerity of SSA/PIT in their claims of “good faith,” when a PAC the company donated money to puts out messaging that seems in such bad faith.

On February 5, one month after the Lummi Nation’s letter to the Corps, SAVEWhatcom made the following post on its Facebook page that seems fit to rouse some rabble in Whatcom County:

How ironic?

The Lummi Nation refuses to meet with SSA Marine to discuss mediation as they professed willingness to do the right thing after the SEPA and NEPA studies were completed.

The Lummi Nation owns and operates the Silver Reef Casino, who’s [sic] purpose it is to provide people with the ‘opportunity’ to gamble away their wages or Social Security checks. That’s a better purpose than to build a state-of-the-art dry bulk exporting facility at Cherry Point? And, as they lobby at the door step of the Washington State Legislator’s and the Governor’s office asking for preferential treatment above the non-Indian residents of the State of Washington…How ironic?

The SAVEWhatcom PAC and its affiliated WhatcomFirst PAC were formed in August and September 2013 for the November Whatcom County Council election that year. The two PACs are strong advocates for the GPT project, and in 2013, were funded primarily with $149,000 from SSA/PIT, BNSF, and coal companies. These dual PACs’ efforts were primarily focused on attempting to get a slate of four conservative county council candidates elected who were thought most likely to approve permits needed for GPT.

how ironic save whatcom

So, here goes SAVEWhatcom making a defamatory statement that the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino’s “purpose” is to take people’s wages and social security checks. Statements like this create resentment, and/or fuel the already present resentment from individuals and groups about Lummi Nation and its efforts to protect its treaty rights.

SAVEWhatcom’s post then pits its contrived image of the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino, against a modern and benign-sounding “dry bulk export facility.” By means of this construction, the post can readily come to life in the form of public pressure that seeks to compel the Lummi Indian Business Council into negotiations with SSA/PIT.

A long strong line has been drawn

The Lummi Nation has already expressed multiple times that negotiating or discussing the GPT project with SSA/PIT is not an option, as evidenced in the excerpt below from LIBC Chairman Tim Ballew’s February 3, 2015 response letter to a January 30, 2015 letter from SSA/PIT executive Skip Sahlin.

Ballew stated in his letter to Sahlin: “While we appreciate your desire to engage on these issues, we remain steadfastly opposed to this project and do not see the utility in pursuing any further discussion.” Ballew also had said in a January 17, 2015 Bellingham Herald article: “We’re not negotiating with GPT or SSA because the standpoint from the leadership, the community and the fishermen is, there’s no way to mitigate the project.”

Radio-powered PACs 



According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website, Kris Halterman, Whatcom Tea Party board member and talk radio host for her weekly Saturday Morning Live program on KGMI, is listed on SAVEWhatcom PAC’s amended registration form as Campaign Manager; she had originally been listed as Committee Officer. Whatcom Tea Party board member Lorraine Newman is listed as a Committee Officer. Both Halterman and Newman write content for the SAVEWhatcom blog website.

dick donahue cropped black white borderDick Donahue, a Bellingham financial planner and talk radio host for his Wealth Wake Up weekly program on KGMI, is listed on the registration form for the affiliated WhatcomFirst PAC as a Committee Officer (that registration form was later amended to list him as Campaign Manager).  Donahue, Halterman, and Newman are all very vocal advocates for the GPT Project.


An Honorary Resolution Dishonored

On an October 26, 2013 Wealth Wake Up show, Donahue was joined by Kris Halterman to talk about the upcoming elections and why SAVEWhatcom was created. Halterman told listeners that in mid-July (2013) she and Donahue became aware of a resolution that the Whatcom County Democrats Central Committee had passed on July 18, 2013, and that the resolution was the reason they formed the SAVEWhatcom PAC.

Halterman referred to the resolution as “the Cherry Point Resolution.” The actual title of that resolution is: “The Resolution to Honor the Lummi Nation’s Sacred Lands and Waters at Cherry Point.” It was an honorary resolution in support of the Lummi Nation protecting its sacred lands and sacred waters at Cherry Point, but during the 2013 election season, SSA/PIT used that resolution negatively in its September 2013 GPT ad insert, “Report to the Community Volume 3,” placed in local newspapers. That honorary resolution has been misrepresented and used negatively by groups associated with SSA/PIT in their advocacy for GPT.savewhatcom-resolution-photo-02182015

One of those groups, SAVEWhatcom, echoed SSA/PIT’s negative ad messaging about the resolution, distorting its intent and meaning, and used it as a weapon in their advertising during the 2013 election season. Since that time, SAVEWhatcom has continued to use its twisted misrepresentation of that resolution negatively. In both SSA/PIT’s and SAVEWhatcom’s advertising about the resolution, neither used its title, which includes the words “Resolution to Honor the Lummi Nation’s Sacred Lands and Waters at Cherry Point,” which, if provided, would likely give people a better understanding of what that resolution was about. SAVEWhatcom perpetuated the false premise that the resolution represented efforts to “deindustrialize Cherry Point and make it impossible for local farmers to succeed,” in advertising such as a September 24, 2013 SAVEWhatcom Facebook post.

Treaty rights resentment bubbling upcera event page fb cropped


tea party cera post

On Halterman’s March 30, 2013 KGMI Saturday Morning Live radio show, two of the guests she interviewed were Hobart, Wisconsin, resident Elaine Willman, a board member and former chair of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), and local former Whatcom County Council member Marlene Dawson, who has worked tirelessly to undermine the Treaty of Point Elliott between local Indian tribes and the United States. Willman and Dawson promoted the April 6, 2013 “Citizens Equal Rights Alliance Educational Conference” on Federal Indian Policy, held by CERA and its sister organization, Citizens Equal Rights Foundation (CERF). The conference was held at the Lakeway Inn, in Bellingham, Washington.

On that March 30 show, in bringing up the Centennial Accord, Elaine Willman made this reprehensible statement: “In 1989, Governor Lowry smelled gaming money and instituted the Centennial Accord. That became a state self-inflicted elevation of the tribal sovereign voice to be equivalent to the state’s voice. That was the step that has continued for almost 25 years now through what I call the real Trail of Tears—Governor Lowry, Governor Locke, Governor Gregoire and now Governor Inslee. That process, over twenty-five years, is secretly taking down Washington state.” (italicized real represents Willman’s vocal emphasis)

Trail of Tears

Willman and Dawson returned as guests on Halterman’s Saturday Morning Live radio show on April 6, to discuss tribal issues, Federal Indian Policy, and to further promote the CERA conference happening that same day where both Dawson and Willman were featured speakers.

CERA states on its website, “We do not tolerate racial prejudice of any kind. We do not knowingly associate with anyone who discriminates based on race.“  However, in a March 28, 2014 article published online by Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN), Terri Hansen, an award-winning Native American journalist and correspondent for ICTMN, said this about the CERA/CERF organizations: “CERA and its sister, Citizens Equal Rights Foundation (CERF), are the foremost anti-sovereignty, anti-treaty organizations in the U.S. anti-Indian movement.”

Federal Indian law attorney Dave Lundgren wrote about exposing groups like CERA in his April 2, 2014 article, published by Indian Country today Media Network. Lundgren wrote: “Disregard the disguise of their flimsy legal arguments, and expose their true motives by documenting and publicizing details of the discriminatory effects of their actions. . .Public education is often the best defense in the face of hatred disguised by fabricated legal arguments. Not only will it expose the true motives behind puffed up accusations, but it also educates the uninformed on the caustic harms caused by discrimination.“cera board members

On Dick Donahue’s March 30, 2013 KGMI Wealth Wake Up talk radio show, he interviewed local Lynden, Washington, CERA board member Tom Williams, promoting the April 6 CERA/CERF conference in Bellingham. Williams told listeners that CERA had held two similar conferences (New York and Massachusetts) that year, and one more was upcoming in June of that year in Northern California.

idle no more lakeway inn

Acknowledging the fact that he had been actively promoting the conference, Donahue said during the segment, “Now I’ve promoted this, or announced this meeting several times in the last month or so on the air. . .”  Encouraging listeners to register for the conference, both Donahue and Williams announced various ways to do that. They also said that Halterman’s Saturday Morning Live website had a flyer posted there with information on conference registration and Donahue provided that web address.

Charles Tanner, a longtime civil and human rights activist who has conducted research and public education on white supremacist and anti-Indian movements, authored an April 26, 2013 report on the CERA/CERF conference in Bellingham.

In his report, Tanner wrote that CERA board member Tom Williams was one of the organizers of the conference. Tanner also reported that, “KGMI talk show hosts Kris Halterman and Dick Donahue both attended the conference. . .A broadcast of Halterman interviewing CERA leaders played as attendees trickled into the conference room.”  That April 6, 2013 broadcast of Halterman interviewing a cross section of the featured speakers at the conference was pre-recorded at the Lakeway Inn venue, and was broadcasted during Donahue’s Wealth Wake Up show time that day.CERA speakers

Still rallying resentment

Since the April 6, 2013 CERA/CERF conference, the organization continues to be active in its efforts to espouse its recurring strategic theme. That strategic theme, according to Charles Tanner’s report, is that, “anti-Indian activists should mine federal laws and court cases for anti-tribal language that can be used to seek termination in the courts and ‘educate’ local and state officials. CERA’s ‘legal theory’, in the end, combines anti-tribal ideas drawn from federal Indian law and false claims that tribes have no political sovereignty or treaty rights.”

CERA Elected Officials WorkshopCERA’s website shows that the group held two events (over a 3-day period) in Riverton, Wyoming in June 2014.  A two-day conference was held for the public.  In addition, a workshop was held specifically for elected officials, key staff, legal counsels, and law enforcement there, which was closed to the media and public, and it was held, of all places, at City Hall. CERA’s website shows they have plans for an upcoming 2015 conference, although no location or details about that are available yet. And while the trail from CERA to SAVEWhatcom is, so far, foggy in nature, it is wise for community members to be watchful for any increase and escalation of defamatory claims in regards to Native American issues and enterprises made by either organization.

Putting on the squeeze 

In the weeks leading up to SAVEWhatcom’s February 5, 2015 Facebook post containing negative messaging about the Lummi Nation, SSA Marine executives had been busy touting their so-called invitations and standing offers for “good faith discussions” they wish to have with Lummi Nation about GPT. SSA Marine executive Bob Watters was given an opportunity by The Bellingham Herald to do just that in a January 10, 2015 op-ed (some people have termed his piece an “op-ad”) he authored that the newspaper published in its Whatcom Opinion section. In his op-ed, Watters wrote:

First, Gateway Pacific Terminal will protect tribal cultural and historical sites on our private property, which is not part of the reservation. And we very much appreciate the concern about the challenges to Lummi fishers (who have been forced to rely upon substantial federal subsidies and retraining grants). This makes self-sustaining, private-sector job creation all the more important and we have a standing offer out to the Lummi and other affected tribes to discuss how we can work to enhance their cultural and economic prospects. Gateway Pacific Terminal and tribal interests can be harmonized if good faith discussions can take place, and we look forward to that opportunity.

nwja elders

By SSA/PIT continuing to talk at Lummi Nation and exert pressure with its public relations campaign through the media and via its GPT mouthpieces such as the Northwest Jobs Alliance, the company is not recognizing, nor truly honoring tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship that exists between Native American Tribes and the U.S. federal government.

At a May 15, 2013 United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, then-Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) had this to say about the relationship between Tribal governments and the federal government:

The government-to-government relationship is grounded in the United States Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and Supreme Court decisions. This relationship is a mature relationship, expressed in terms of legal duties, moral obligations, and expectancies that have arisen based on the continuous history of Tribal interactions with the federal government since the formation of the United States.

The trust relationship of federal agencies to ensure the protection of the treaty rights of the Lummi Nation, and case law upholding those treaty rights, coupled with the huge wave of public opposition to the company’s proposed coal export terminal, are the momentous realities staring squarely into the face of SSA/PIT.


SAVEWhatcom posted on social media that the Lummi Nation “refuses to meet with SSA Marine.” SSA/PIT executives have continued to make statements such as Skip Sahlin made in his January 30, 2015 letter to Chairman Tim Ballew, “Our door is always open and the GPT team looks forward to continuing to communicate with Lummi during the projects permitting and development process.” This messaging can give some people the incorrect impression that the Lummi are somehow not being reasonable. Lummi Nation Chairman Tim Ballew’s statement in a February 3, 2015 Bellingham Herald story provided clarity on that subject, “Negotiation between Lummi and Pacific International Terminals is not an option. Our treaty rights are non-negotiable and not for sale.”

Stomping in their grounds

What is, in fact, unreasonable, is how things have been framed by SSA/PIT, and how some local media enabled that framing following the news of the Lummi Nation’s January 5, 2015 letter to the Corps. The reality is that the Lummi Nation is a sovereign nation, and it has a government-to-government relationship with the federal government of the United States.

In a February 9, 2015 Bellingham Herald story posted on the online Politics Blog, reporter Ralph Schwartz wrote: “There has been a lot of back-and-forth over the past five weeks among Lummi Nation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Gateway Pacific Terminal as the tribe asserts its fishing rights, in order to stop the coal terminal from being built.”

Technically, one could say, like Schwartz did, that the Lummi Nation asserted its fishing rights in order to stop the coal terminal, but a community member sent me an email offering another perspective:

Knowing there was a treaty against it, a coal terminal insisted on stomping in the middle of treaty-protected fishing grounds, so the coal terminal had to be reminded what it already knew—that it would be breaking the law—the supreme law of the land. It isn’t that the Lummi tried to stop a terminal. It’s that a terminal tried to stop them.




Fossil Fueled Fearmongering

Public Good Project

November 22, 2014

by Jay Taber


Sandy Robson’s November 2014 article on fearmongering by fossil fuel export developers, i.e. SSA Marine, Peabody Coal and BNSF Railroad, raises a couple questions. One is why no local media is reporting on this, and another is why the Washington Secretary of State hasn’t censured their PACs for distributing misleading communications to influence elections.

Sandy’s January 2014 article at Whatcom Watch shined a light on these PACs and their collaboration with fossil fuel exporters in money-laundering to influence elections. It also illuminated their connection with the Tea Party and KGMI radio, both of which assisted CERA (“the Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”) in promoting inter-racial discord aimed at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which opposes fossil fuel export in their traditional territories. As noted at IC Magazine, capitalizing on fear is what the developers do best.

Drumming up resentment against Native Americans and environmentalists is established practice by Wise Use propagandists, and has a particularly violent past in the Greater Seattle area, as reported by Robson in her October 2013 article at Whatcom Watch. As noted in an article at NWCitizen in February 2014, Robson and Whatcom Watch were threatened by coal export consortium PR man Craig Cole. As reported at IC Magazine in February, the politics of land and bigotry has a long history in the Salish Sea region.


[As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal, Jay Taber has assisted indigenous peoples seeking justice at the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Since 1994, he has served as creative director at Public Good Project.]

“Take these Tribes Down” The Anti-Indian Movement Comes to Washington State



Wisconsin Anti-Indian Activist Elaine Willman Brought the Attack on Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty to Bellingham, WA on April 6.

Above: Wisconsin Anti-Indian Activist Elaine Willman Brought the Attack on Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty to Bellingham, WA on April 6.


This IREHR Special Report takes you inside the April 6 meeting hosted in Bellingham, Washington by the anti-Indian groups Citizens Equal Rights Alliance and Citizens Equal Rights Foundation. The report sheds light on these groups’ anti-Indian ideas and goals, their legal strategy and their plans to re-invigorate anti-Indian activism in Washington State and around the country.

Anti-Indian Conference

Anti-Indian Conference


Intercontinental Cry

By Jay Taber

Apr 10, 2013


The April 6, 2013 NW Round-Up Regional Educational Conference held at the Lakeway Inn in Bellingham, Washington was sponsored by the foremost Anti-Indian organization in the United States. Citizens Equal Rights Alliance is one of several Anti-Indian organizations operating in Washington State.