O Si’am ne schaleche sii’am (our respected friends and relations),
You mean the world to us.
Your moral, emotional, and spiritual support for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut has helped shift policy and practices. For 52 years, our relation performed for the public, but her conditions were kept hidden from view. Now, in the past year, everything has changed. The Miami Seaquarium was sold and is now operated by The Dolphin Company. Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut has been retired from performance. Independent veterinarians regularly assess and publicly report on her health. And we are working in a good way with Miami Dade County, Friends of Lolita, the Whale Sanctuary Project, and The Dolphin Company. We are all working so that Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut can have the best life possible, both right now and in the future.
We have faith that our relation will come home one day. This work is on her timeline, not ours. Right now, we are focused on her physical health and treating her chronic infection. Then we will focus on mentally and physically conditioning her. Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut is leading this process.
Your financial generosity makes our work possible. Our GoFundMe has raised almost $50,000 to date! Hy’shqe! These funds go directly toward our work for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut. The funds you donate go and have gone to:
- The Operational Plan. Beginning more than 3 years ago we partnered with the Whale Sanctuary Project to create a detailed plan to bring Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut home. The Whale Sanctuary Project donated their management services and staff time and, with your generosity, we financed out-of-pocket direct costs and consultant services. This plan, as drafted by marine mammal experts from around the world, represents science supporting ceremony. Lhaq’temish (Lummi) cultural values provide the framework for the evidence-based approach to every step of her homecoming and ongoing care.
- The design of the Xwlemi Tokw (Lummi Home). This is a custom seapen designed to allow for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut’s freedom of movement while also allowing access to her human caretakers. Her Xwlemi Tokw will be situated in her natal waters where she will be in a living, natural environment. Sound is vital to qwe’lhol’mechen (killer whales), as it is the primary way they perceive and navigate life (as sight is for us). In her Xwlemi Tokw, Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut will be acoustically linked to the environment beyond her enclosure. The cash cost to us for the Operation Plan and Xwlemi Tokw design was $10,000.
- 2021-22: Phases I & 2 of the Xwlemi Tokw site search. Siting Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut’s home correctly will be critical to its success. We commissioned The Whale Sanctuary Project to come up with a list of potential sites throughout the Salish Sea in Phase 1. Each of those sites was then further assessed for for water quality, protection, noise, proximity to her family’s migration patterns, and other criteria. Upland ownership was also considered, as this is a factor in permitting. We have narrowed our search to three excellent candidate sites. The approximate cash cost to us for these two Phases was $20,000.
- 2022-23: Phase 3, yet to be undertaken, will be the most complicated and the most expensive phase. This phase will involve securing permits, required environmental studies and permissions for the site. Phase 3 will likely cost upwards of $100,000.
- There are costs associated with her healing, and with running this Campaign. Some of those costs include those associated with advocacy, collaboration, sharing her story across a number of platforms, travel, and fundraising.
- We are not currently building or fundraising for her Xwlemi Tokw because we are not at that point in the process. We cannot rush or skip steps. We must focus on her health and well-being right now. We must focus on our good collaboration with the people who care for her, and who will help decide her future.
- We are a small non-profit organization. We don’t have salaried staff or an office. We pay a fair but frugal hourly wage for contract work. We value your financial contributions and use them mindfully.
- Donations directly to SacredSea.org fund our Xw’ullemy (Salish Sea) Campaign to help protect the vitality and sanctity of the Salish Sea. Our Campaign for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut is a major project of our Xw’ullemy Campaign.
We are grateful to you all for your engagement, your prayers, and your support. We pray and work for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut’s return to our shared home. We also remember: we are working for her best interest, and on her timeline, not ours. We must help her heal, and let her lead this process.
Hy’shqe for your continued love, prayers, and support!