• Shawn Hosford

Sunday with the Salish Sea

Sometimes our weekends are so jam-packed full that I wonder if Mark and I will ever accomplish what we set out to get done. This weekend was filled by: a surprise 50th birthday party, licensing a car trailer, visiting with Mark's mom to look over her belongings as she prepares to move in with us, a full day of work for Mark, and a rally to protect the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) for me. As I write about it all, I am amazed it all fit into such a short period of time. 

In keeping with current Seattle trends, with the exception of the Women's March, Sunday’s rally was more of a gathering than a massive crowd. Before the speakers began sharing their wisdom, I was chatting with one that I have seen before about the usual lackluster Seattle turnout. He noted that Seattlites only seems to attend when we are about to launch ourself off the cliff of no return.

In other words, protecting the Salish Sea from pipelines and exponentially more shipping vessels are not drastic enough problems to attract the masses.

The reasons it has attracted the attention of the Lummi, Puyallup, Tulalip, Duwamish, along with other indigenous nations is cultural – stemming from a deep reverence, respect, and concern for Mother Earth and our precious water. These are not reasons that seem important or relevant to the majority of our city dwellers—yet. Water problems seem to be more than half a continent away in less exotic places like Flint Michigan.

The Earth has always been important to me. Rachael Carson’s book Silent Spring had a profound effect on me in high school and I learned to love the sea through a friend later in life. With both water and Earth being of utmost importance me, the Rally was a great fit for my Sunday.

The speakers were thankful for and generous to our small but mighty gathering. They shared statistics about the disappearance of indigenous women — the connection of the oil fields and man camps to the violence and disappearing of women along with sex trafficking. They also spoke of the disappearance of seafood in our region, the statistical likelihood of pipeline leaks, and a brief history of the land we stood on — just to mention a few topics. Their kindness and love was easily felt. As always, I was honored to be standing among our indigenous leaders. 

We listened for a couple hours and then marched between the sports stadiums to the waterfront to meet the canoes and kayaktactivists at the waters edge. Once we were all gathered on water and land we learned more about past actions, hopes, and sustainable strategies for our life on Earth. During the day, I met several people and visited with others I already knew. I have been disappointed by my friends disinterest in participating in these democratic expressions in the past. However, I felt full while surrounded by a community of caring people who work diligently for our global good. I am incredibly thankful for the oppressed populations that continue to care for us all through such active love. 

I will keep the still photos of this and other events near my heart as I continue to stand in small gatherings. One day (hopefully soon) these gatherings will grow and flourish into massive movements. 

Where can you gather in support of vital causes? Have you attended any rallies that you would like to share information about in this space? Do you think your presence can make a difference in resisting oppression? How can you add your voice to the causes that you find essential?