Native Americans | KUOW News and Information

Native Americans

Kennewick Man is an ancient skeleton found along the banks of the Columbia River by students in 1996. The discovery caused a legal battle between Northwest tribes and scientists. But now, President Barack Obama has signed a bill that requires the 9,000-year-old remains be returned to tribes within 90 days.

Several Northwest tribes are meeting this week with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the Washington state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to discuss the imminent reburial of the Ancient One, or Kennewick Man.

The Colville Indian Reservation in Northeastern Washington could soon get $25 million worth of land returned to it as part of a federal land-buy-back program.

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Weekly reporter David Lewis about the Ballard Locks and the man behind their construction, Hiram M. Chittenden. Lewis has researched Chittenden and found that not only did he consider Native Americans genetically inferior, but the construction of the locks themselves drained a body of water sacred to them -- the Black River. 

The U.S. Department of the Interior will consult with tribes this winter on how best to modernize laws that regulate business in Indian Country. Interior made the announcement on the Swinomish reservation in Western Washington Thursday.

Members of the U.S. House and Senate expect to pass a law in the next few days that would return a 9,000-year old set of human remains to Northwest tribes. “Kennewick Man” was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1996 by two students.

The governor of North Dakota says he has not authorized roadblocks or forcible removal of protesters from the area near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple spoke to reporters in an effort to clarify the implications of an evacuation order he issued earlier this week, which he said had led to "some miscommunication" with local law enforcement.

A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.
AP Photo/James MacPherson

A Seattle official is speaking out in support of the protests in North Dakota, a week before the camp could be shut down. Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez has supported the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline all along.

As resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, N.D., concludes its seventh month, two narratives have emerged:

  1. We have never seen anything like this before.
  2. This has been happening for hundreds of years.

Both are true. The scope of the resistance at Standing Rock exceeds just about every protest in Native American history. But that history itself, of indigenous people fighting to protect not just their land, but the land, is centuries old.

Police and demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline clashed overnight on a bridge that has been a flashpoint in the ongoing protests.

"Police say protesters set fires in the area Sunday night and threw rocks at officers," Prairie Public Broadcasting's Amy Sisk reported. But an activist said in a live-stream video that projectiles fired from the police side started the fires and that demonstrators, who call themselves water protectors, were trying to extinguish the flames.

Front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper on March 9, 1970.
University of Washington

People across the nation are protesting and Native Americans are occupying. It’s against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

Thanks to improved health care, the Native American populations around the country are growing. But the number of homes hasn't kept up. That's especially true of the Northern Arapaho on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation.

Northern Arapaho elder Kenneth Shakespeare raised seven children in a house with views of mountains and hayfields surrounding it. But now he has dementia and it's his kids turn to take care of him in the same four-bedroom, two-bath house they grew up in.

Bill Radke speaks with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker about their new book, "All The Real Indians Died Off And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans."

“For a lot of Americans the image they carry in their imagination of Indian peoples is teepees, war bonnets, and Sitting Bull at Wounded Knee and Custer’s last stand – these are those people. This is that place,” said Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes, describing the scene of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

“Once again, here we are. They’re getting chased off a piece of land that’s in the path of a pipeline.”


Police used pepper spray and what they called nonlethal ammunition to remove Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from federal land Wednesday. Demonstrators say they were trying to occupy land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where construction of the controversial pipeline is scheduled.

A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.
AP Photo/James MacPherson

Jeannie Yandel sits down with Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes to talk about the latest in the standoff over the construction of a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota. 

In North Dakota, tension over the 1,200-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline is escalating. Police and National Guard troops arrested more than 140 protesters near a construction site Thursday.

The Standing Rock Sioux have sued to stop the pipeline from crossing under the Missouri River next to their reservation, claiming the project would destroy sacred sites and threaten the water supply.

'Week in Review' panel Sherman Alexie, Phyllis Fletcher, Rob McKenna and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

What do you do if you’re an anti-Trump Republican or anti-Hillary Democrat? Should you vote for a third party candidate?          

And this week the Brady Walkinshaw campaign released its first attack ad against opponent Pramila Jayapal in the 7th Congressional District race. After the ad was released Jayapal's campaign accused the ad of being racist and misogynistic. Was the ad “Trump-like?”

Bill Radke speaks with investigative journalist Stephanie Woodard about the shooting death of Renee Davis, a 23-year-old pregnant mother who was shot by King County Sheriff's Deputies during the course of a wellness check. Davis, who grew up on the Muckleshoot Reservation, had struggled with depression and was feeling suicidal.

State and federal law protect the rights of Native American children even when one of their parents is not Indian. That’s the word today from the Washington state Supreme Court.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times environment reporter Lynda Mapes Thursday morning about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Mapes is on the scene in North Dakota where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and hundreds of supporters are continuing a months-long protest against the construction of a pipeline. 

Police moved in on Thursday to disperse protesters who have moved the front line of their demonstration onto private land. 

Sally Jewell has served as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for three and a half years. Before that she was CEO of Kent, Washington-based REI and a member of the UW Board of Regents.

The Presbyterian Church officially apologized to indigenous people across the country during a gathering of Alaska Native people this weekend. For decades the church took part in the forced removal of children from their homes and families.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has stepped up its opposition to a proposed coal terminal in Longview, Washington, saying state and federal officials have underestimated the environmental risks of the project and ignored the tribe’s requests for consultation.

Cowlitz Chairman Bill Iyall, on a call with reporters Friday, said plans to export 44 million metric tons of coal through a terminal in Longview threaten the tribe’s culture and homeland.

“Since time immemorial we’ve relied on the once bountiful resources for survival,” Iyall said.

Alaska’s largest statewide native organization honored the Yakama Nation during their annual convention Thursday. The Yakama Nation loaned the Alaska Federation of Natives $225,000 to establish itself 50 years ago.

Matt Remle drafted the resolution adopted by the Seattle City Council recognizing the ongoing negative consequences of the American Indian boarding schools
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Monday is Seattle's third annual celebration of Indigenous People's Day. We asked members of our local indigenous community to share what it means to them. 

Northwest tribes continue to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Indians and their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over the weekend, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville delivered hand-smoked salmon and firewood to North Dakota.

President Barack Obama wears a blanket and hat given to him by Brian Cladoosby, left, President of National Congress of American Indians, during the 2016 White House Tribal Nations Conference, Monday, Set. 26, 2016.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Many people recognize today as Columbus Day, but that’s not the case in Seattle, Spokane, Olympia and Yakima. Those cities have voted instead to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

When she was growing up, Dina Gilio-Whitaker was constantly asked, "How much Indian blood do you have?" She could never figure out how to respond, which is not to say she didn't know who she was.

"I knew that I was Native, I knew that I was Colville, I knew my family up there on the reservation," she said recently. "But what I grew up with was a process of not being seen and not being recognized as being Native, because I was completely out of context.

The state of Vermont and the city of Phoenix have joined the list of places that now call the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples' Day, in a show of momentum for honoring indigenous people on the federal holiday that's named for Christopher Columbus.

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