Indigenous led Delegation Occupies Washington State Capital: Demands Action on Climate Justice

"We are walking to keep our sacred promises with the salmon, the orcas and every living being, and to bring an end to a destructive era that is robbing the children of a livable future." - Protectors of the Salish Sea

Olympia, WA - On September 20th a delegation of Indigenous peoples, supporters and water protectors departed from Tacoma to Olympia, the states capital, to raise awareness to the climate crisis and upholding Tribal treaty rights.

The nearly 40 mile walk started at the site of the controversial proposed LNG plant, which is heavily opposed by the Puyallup Tribe, to the State capital to demand that Governor Inslee issue a climate emergency and put an immediate end to any new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.

On September 24th, the delegation erected an encampment in front of the state’s capital and stated they would remain until the demands were met. Tarpees were erected and food distribution areas were set up. Around 11 PM, an estimated 40-50 riot police dismantled the tarpees and arrested at least one person.

Despite the actions from the riot police, the Protectors of the Salish Sea have vowed to stay at the capital building until demands are met.

Below is from the Protectors of the Salish Sea

Washington state has several fossil fuel projects and facilities being constructed RIGHT NOW that we know the planet cannot afford.

We have made promises to the WORLD that we are not meeting due to the hands of a few people at a few corporations, and our state government's allowances.

"Washington state should not be putting the interests of corporations above the legal rights of Tribal Nations and the inheritance of future generations - especially corporations that make their money selling fossil fuels, an industry with a long history of violating treaty rights, disturbing sacred sites, poisoning water tables, causing serious health and safety risks to nearby communities, destroying habitat, and conducting business in a way that is hurling us towards climate system collapse."

*photos by 350 Seattle


"We have walked over forty-six miles the past four days to arrive at your doorstep today to demand that you give your full attention to the climate crisis faced by our indigenous nations, state and world. Your words are not enough--we need action and true leadership!"

The people who have stewarded THIS land for tens of thousands of years are specifically calling on US, because OUR home, the one we share with them, is being irreparably damaged. The Coast Salish, who show up for us all the time to defend this land and all people, and have never stopped fighting to save the richness of this beautiful world, need OUR help.

"While the Arctic recently experienced unprecedented 87-degree heat waves and more than 40 million acres burned in colossal wildfires, Washington State continues upon a path of illegal climate system degradation by expanding fossil fuels and likewise breaking all of the treaties with Washington State Tribes by contributing to climate chaos that is causing the shallowing and warming of our rivers and estuaries which in turn is causing salmon populations to go into shock and die."

They intend to occupy our capitol steps until Governor Jay Inslee meets these demands:

1) Declare a climate emergency.

2) Halt all fossil fuel projects in the state. (None are vital to life.)

3) Convene a special session on climate change that includes the voices of the youth, indigenous, and those most affected by the climate crisis.

4) Prove that he honors treaty agreements by helping secure a livable future for all children in Washington State.

Washington's black snake has many forms. We cannot ignore them, nor can we rely on fighting them in tiny, slow increments.

The power to change how decisions are being made comes from us showing up peacefully in great numbers. We know this works.

It comes from us sharing our time and our presence, with deep wisdom and compassionate hearts, to set the stage for our next chapter on this planet.


Just like Standing Rock, this is not a festival. This is a ceremony.

We are welcome and invited to come. It is essential that we are self-sufficient. Police are not allowing anyone to set up structures or camp out at the capitol, which means people need to be mindful and creative to make this work and stay healthy. Better yet - coming as a group would be easiest!


  • Carpool!

  • Train ($18-$34 each way)

  • Bus ($15-$18 each way)

  • Bring a bike if you can!

Make sure you have :

  • a place to stay and that you can travel there as needed

  • layered warm clothing, with rain protection: hat, waterproof jacket and pants, waterproof boots.

  • extra dry socks (spares to share) and other dry clothing

  • food and water - there is none regularly there

  • modest camp chair

  • enough cash for food, transportation, incidentals

  • (opt) a bike (and helmet), as the capitol building is inset far from parking and other services

  • (opt but a good idea) warming packs for hands / feet get at sporting good stores

  • (opt but encouraged) signs, flags, banners

  • (opt) wagon for your things (as not much is close by)

  • patience, deference, humbleness, curiosity, compassion, hope, love, and joy

Bring to give to others :

  • food

  • coffee, water, other drinks

  • dry socks

  • extra rain gear

  • umbrellas

  • blankets

  • kindness, friendship, support, small gestures of caring

Behavior :

  • This is a peaceful activity.

  • Keep weapons, alcohol, or illegal substances away.

  • Follow the indigenous leaders. Let them set the tone and determine the actions.

  • There will be a lot of people coming. Talk to folks. Check other people out. Make sure everyone who's there is good to be there.

  • Look for ways to be helpful.

  • Ask permission.

  • Encourage others to join. The most useful thing you can do is MULTIPLY. Responsibly.

  • Be (humbly) awesome.

Can't go yet?

  • Please donate - "Meals, Shirts Supplies for Walk Protect Salish Sea" :

  • Post items in this group for people to haul down with them.

  • Share this with others!


Call Gov. Inslee to meet with Protectors of the Salish Sea and take action on their demands!

Message from Protectors of the Salish Sea:

Please call Governor Inslee today and tell him to meet with the Indigenous Leaders and meet their demands. A sample script is below. Call Governor Inslee’s office TODAY at 360-902-4111, then Option 2 to get to a receptionist.


"My name is _____ and I am calling in support of Protectors of the Salish Sea. Right now, indigenous protectors and their allies are camped at Sta,chas Nisqually village site, on the steps of the Capitol building, after walking 46 miles from the site of PSE’s fracked gas facility being built on Puyallup land in Tacoma to demand Governor Jay Inslee declare a climate emergency.

"I am calling to ask that our Governor, a known leader in facing climate change, meet with the indigenous leaders immediately and sincerely listen to their demands.

"These demands are that Governor Inslee Declare a climate emergency in Washington state; that he issue an executive order to stop fossil fuel expansion projects in the state, including the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility being built at the Port of Tacoma; that he convene a special legislative session on climate change in 2020; and that he honor the treaties by meeting these demands.

"Please tell Governor Inslee I support these demands and that I ask him to meet with indigenous leaders and protectors today. Thank you."

by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle)

Matt Remle (Lakota) is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire and the co-founder of Mazaska Talks. Follow @wakiyan7