Like members of all spiritual traditions, Sovereign Tribal Nations have a human right to safeguard sacred landscapes from further desecration and outside development. Tribal sacred lands are entitled to the same respect and deference that a church, a synagogue, or a mosque receives.

Recognizing this right to protect their most irreplaceable ancestral lands is fundamental to respecting Tribal sovereignty and achieving real environmental justice.

When the Climate Commitment Act was passed by the Washington State Legislature this year, it made historic progress by recognizing that funding created by the bill could not be used unilaterally to fund projects that would desecrate burial grounds, archeological sites, or sacred sites over a federally recognized sovereign Tribe’s objections.

One month after the bill’s negotiation and passage, Governor Jay Inslee chose to unilaterally veto all Tribal consultation within the legislation, including the protections for sacred lands.

This hurtful decision was a breach of trust and a heartbreaking setback for generations of Tribal leaders and activists.

We, the undersigned, cannot in good conscience negotiate away a civil rights victory that protects our ancestors’ cultural and spiritual legacy.

We call on Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Legislature to remedy this mistake by reinserting the vetoed language into the Climate Commitment Act.