Protecting the Salish Sea | Letters

Reading the heartfelt oral testimony of the Salish Sea’s Swinomish, Tulalip, Suquamish and Lummi tribal representatives, speaking in behalf of the voiceless Salish against its endless exploitation, brought to mind what a San Juan Island child might wonder several decades from now:

Please Papa

Tell the Orca Story

About the Island People

Gathered on Lime Kiln cliffs

Not knowing that day

They’d be the last to see.

Slowly swimming Northward

Low in oily waters

Only six with shrunken sides

And no calves

Passing so close

And seeing no fish.

Did they think

Orcas would come again

Chasing flashing Chinook

Into rocky shores

Did they know

Those too had disappeared?

Who didn’t listen Papa

To Salish people’s pleas

Just to share the waters

And silence for their echoes

Who did nothing Papa

Why Papa, Why?

Steve Hauschka

San Juan Island