By OCA member Michael Clemens
On Sunday the 17th and Monday the 18th, the Puyallup Tribe sponsored a protest of the unpermitted LNG terminal in the Port of Tacoma. 350.org and many other groups were present to support the demonstration. Three activists from the North Olympic Peninsula car-pooled to Tacoma in support: Ed Chadd, Debra Ellers and myself, all three of us clad in orca suits and representing the North Olympic Orca Pod that Debra organizes. (They are still recruiting more pod members—see the NOOP Facebook page for more information.)
Arriving at the Tribal Youth Center Sunday evening, we were welcomed and fed, then briefed on the next day’s action. Accommodation was made for sleeping and we all got as much rest as you can before a big action! Monday morning we arrived at the LNG terminal before dawn to find every gate into the fenced construction site blocked, and the street leading to the main entrance made impassable by the demonstrators. Because it was a work day, some folks had to leave early. However, other arrivals filled the ranks and there was a continuous presence of at least 200 demonstrators. All sides in this action–demonstrators, police and workers–were civil with each other. As one tribal member put it, “We kicked butt today!”
On a personal level, I found a new appreciation for the spirit, commitment and bravery of our indigenous brothers and sisters in arms. Their straight talk about sustainability and care for the Earth is heartening. I am especially impressed with the spirit that comes through their songs, and I would recommend participation in future events to anyone who wants to do some good for the planet and for their own souls as well.