Netse Mot: One Mind for Xw'ullemy


By Victoria Leistman, Dirty Fuels Organizer

On October 27th, we closed the climate week of action in Washington state by standing in solidarity with the Lummi Nation. Together, we are committed to protecting the Salish Sea, salmon, qwe’lhol’mechen (orcas), treaty rights and indigenous ways of life. 

Sierra Club was brought in on a planning team with the Lummi Treaty Protection & Sovereignty Office and other close partners to plan the special event. It highlighted a critical moment for the safety and restoration of the southern resident orcas and the sustained opposition to infrastructure projects like the Transmountain pipeline and tanker project.

Nearly 400 people turned out on a fishing pier near the Canadian border, accompanied by over 40 kayakers and a Lummi fishing vessel. The Lummi called for the meeting at the border to show that no line divides us in the Salish Sea and that we are of one mind when it comes to protecting our shared home. Netse Mot means one mind, one heart. 

At the event, the memorial walkway to the fishing pier exhibited Lummi artwork of every orca that has died in recent decades. Speakers nearby played sounds of orca whales, creating an emotional experience for many viewers. Attendees took action for the Lummi qwe’lhol’mechen fund and for Pull Together, a cross border fundraising effort to support First Nations legal fees against the Transmountain expansion.

A powerful speaker lineup at the event included the Lummi Chairman Jay Julius, Lummi Chief Bill James, Lummi Fisherwoman Ellie Kinely, Rueben George with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative and Tzephora Berman International Program Director at With each speech, the shared message was that the climate crisis, ramped up marine vessel traffic, and other stressors on the Salish Sea ecosystems necessitate immediate, united action.

As the event drew to a close, Sierra Club organizer, Victoria Leistman and Sierra Club leader, Rachael Hogan (also representing 350Seattle) were formally hys’qed (thanked/recognized) by the Lummi Nation on stage. The event concluded with two unity circles that formed simultaneously on land and water. 

It was a tremendously moving and special evening. The Lummi have declared March 21st as Netse Mot day, to build momentum for bringing their fight to the Washington state capitol. So stay tuned for what’s next!

You can support the Lummi’s work to protect qwe’lhol’mechen via the Tokitae Fund at