"I think there was a misunderstanding," said Marty Bluewater, the foundation's executive director. "The [homeless] group thought the land we occupied for our center might be federal land or land we actually own. When there had been talk in the wind about moving out there, we weren't able to give any permission, as much as we'd like to help."
"Our response at this point is to see how much we can support them and their needs," Bluewater said. "We let them know that we aren't in the position to give that permission. ... We're obviously kind of caught in the middle here. We want to help where we can, but we have partnerships with the city on a number of things."
All the while, Nickelsville leadership has said, "If they ask us to leave, we will."
Now, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Late this afternoon, UIAT delivered an unqualified statement of support for Nickelsville. One in three Native Americans is homeless, they said. "We intend to intervene," they said. There will be tipis at Nickelsville, for real. It was signed, "in peace and solidarity."
This makes me so happy I can barely stand it.
Anyone who has been on the wrong side of the Nickels administration knows how unpleasant that can be, and how easily and completely access is denied to perceived enemies. I'm sure the past few days haven't been pleasant. But they weighed it out, made their decision, and are standing with the homeless.
Much still rests upon Monday morning's exparte hearing in King County Superior Court, where competing notions of who has a right to do what where will begin to get sorted out.
Meanwhile, a large show of support at Nickelsville on Monday before noon is critical.
I've only heard the document United Indians of All Tribes presented to Nickelsville described third-hand. Someone read it to Revel and Revel told me what she heard. So I'm being a bit vague here. But it sounded to me like the Indians are maybe a little pissed at how the city's been dealing with things.
There was something in there about the city stomping around on their notions of what is sacred. I'm paraphrasing here.
If that's the case, I'm remembering a church in Ballard that, in around 2001, pushed back hard. When threatened with fines and harassment for hosting Tent City, Trinity United Methodist's Reverend Rich Lang went all church and state on their asses, and the city couldn't backpedal fast enough. This marked the beginning of the city's acceptance of a permanent Tent City in Seattle.
Mark Sidran and Mayor Schell tryed to bully the wrong organization. It's not hard to imagine Tom Carr and Mayor Nickels making the same mistake.
—Photo by Revel