Hundreds of tribal members from the Lummi Nation gathered Friday to announce the tribe's opposition to development of a facility at Cherry Point in Whatcom County to ship coal brought by train from the Powder River Basin. They ceremonially burned a check on the beach to make a statement that no amount of money could buy their support for a project that would destroy their village and burial sites on the property. The Lummi people have used the land and waters at Cherry Point for 175 generations, tribal leaders said, and even though they no longer own it, the tribe considers it sacred ground. "No deals, thank you," said Fran James, 88, a revered tribal elder called as a witness to the ceremony. "All of our elders have always told us: 'Take care of this place.'."
ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Witnesses at the Lummi Tribe press news conference Friday at Cherry Point were asked to stand between the fire and the water as a symbolic check is burned expressing the tribe's opposition to coal trains and development at these ancestral grounds. The witnesses had been honored with the blankets in an earlier ceremony.