The Blackhawk Singers from Lummi Nation at the Semiahmah land transfer ceremony in Blaine, Washington, on June 28, 2017. Photo: Lummi Communications
Environment | National

Lummi Nation reclaims land where ancestors were dug up and removed

The Lummi Nation officially accepted title to an ancestral burial ground in Washington.

The graves of more than 100 ancestors were dug up and removed from the site in Blaine in 1999. Some of the remains were illegally taken to Colorado, The Bellingham Herald reported.

But Chairman Timothy Ballew called for healing as the tribe and and the city came together for a ceremony on Thursday. The return of the land grew out of a settlement the parties reached in 2004.

“Today is not about any of the mistakes that have been made over the last 18 years, but rather the hard work and commitment to do our best to make things right. We only pray that we do right by the ancestors,” Ballew said at the ceremony, The Herald reported.

Semiahmah Land Transfer Signing Ceremony

Posted by Lummi Communications on Thursday, June 29, 2017
Lummi Communications on Facebook: Semiahmah Land Transfer Signing Ceremony

The site, located in an area known as the Semiahmoo Spit, covers nearly two acres, The Seattle Times reported. The tribe plans to have the land placed in trust.

Photos and videos from the ceremony can be found on the Lummi Communications Facebook page.

Read More on the Story:
Their ancestors’ graves were dug up. 18 years later, Lummi tribe given burial grounds (The Bellingham Herald 6/29)
Land transfer brings closure to Lummi tribe 20 years after ancestors’ remains disturbed (The Seattle Times 6/30)