Disaster and Resilience in the Salish Sea

Presented by Shirley Williams


Disaster and Resilience in the Salish Sea is about sustaining healthy communities through the intersection of culture and environment. Whiteswan Environmental (WE) will share how their programs address parallel root causes of trauma for Indigenous Peoples and Nature. WE are creating and sharing a platform based on integral biological and ecological health for all who hold the sacred responsibility to the shared lands and waterways of the Salish Sea.

Whiteswan Environmental, WE (One Mind for the Purpose of the Work) are the vision keepers for establishing an indigenous-led Coast Salish Tribal Heritage Field Institute. This vision includes building Houses of Learning and Houses of Healing at traditional sites on the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington and the Gulf Islands of Canada; 160 years ago, there was no boundary dividing the Salish Sea. WE educational programs share ancestral and contemporary knowledge about our ecosystem expressed in regional Native commerce and culture. Programs include 13 Moons Food Sovereignty, Mountain to Sea about regional ancestral trails, and Reef to Reef about traditional waterway routes and navigation. With respect to cultural appropriation and tribal-intellectual property rights, select bio-regional native wisdom is being shared with the non-native world.


About the Presenter

Shirley Williams, RN, an enrolled member and resident of Lummi Nation, is the founder of Whiteswan Environmental, a Native-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that develops programs and services to educate and strengthen relationships between bio-regional native and non-native organizations and academic institutions to reconnect Coast Salish youth and community members with their culture and ancestral homelands to ensure the Schelangen (way of life) will thrive. She is also a cofounder of Whatcom Intergenerational High School.


Primary Audience

Adults: Community; Educators