Native Americans | KUOW News and Information

Native Americans

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.

On a late summer day in 2010, John T. Williams, a Native American woodcarver, was walking across the street carrying his carving knife and a small piece of wood when he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.

"He was carving an eagle at the moment," his brother Rick recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. Rick tells his friend Jay Hollingsworth that his brother loved to carve — had been carving even at age 4, when he completed his first totem pole. He says John could walk and carve at the same time, and that was just what he was doing, carrying his knife openly.

The passage of a congressional bill that authorizes drinking and wastewater projects nationwide has Northwest tribes celebrating. An amendment to the bill means the 9,000-year-old human remains discovered near Kennewick, Washington, 20 years ago will be returned for final burial.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior Monday announced a $492 million settlement with a number of tribes. It ends decades-long disputes between the tribes and the federal government over land management.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay a total of $492 million to 17 American Indian tribes for mismanaging natural resources and other tribal assets, according to an attorney who filed most of the suits.

The hurdles Native American teenagers face in and out of school are daunting. College Horizons, a small organization based in New Mexico, has proven they're not insurmountable.

Every year, the group sponsors week-long retreats on college campuses for teenagers from some of the more than 500 federally-recognized tribes in the U.S.

One of those retreats was at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where 85 students gathered along with dozens of admissions officers from some of the nation's most selective universities.

U.S. Native American tribes and Canadian First Nations are banding together to "collectively challenge and resist" proposals to build more pipelines from tar sands in Alberta, Canada. At least 50 First Nations and tribes signed a treaty on Thursday at ceremonies held in Vancouver and Montreal.

KUOW photo/Bond Huberman

After last week’s announcement by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to put the plans for the new North Precinct building on hold, protesters interrupted a City Council meeting. What new issues are they raising with the city?

A case against a Washington state man in a British Columbia court that begins Monday could bring an extinct Canadian tribe back to life. 

As part of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo in northeast Oregon, a Western pageant called “Happy Canyon” will kick off its 100th year run Wednesday. The show includes hundreds of volunteer performers, galloping horses, a live orchestra, Old West cowboy antics and real Native Americans.

Poet Laura Da'
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Elizabeth Austen talks to local poet Laura Da', the author of "Tributaries", about how she uses poetry to tell the story of her ancestors. Her book is the recipient of the American Book Award. 

Gabe Galanda is an attorney specializing in Native American law
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle-based lawyer Gabe Galanda to talk about the protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Galanda opposes the pipeline and joined the protests in North Dakota earlier this month.

He also helped draft a resolution in opposition to construction of the pipeline that was introduced at a Seattle City Council meeting Monday.

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Andrew Cullen/Reuters

For weeks, members of the Standing Rock Sioux have gathered in Cannonball, North Dakota standing against what's known as the Dakota Access pipeline.

The 1,172-mile pipeline is a $3.7 billion dollar project that would carry about 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

Its route would take the pipeline under the Missouri River, just upstream from the Standing Rock reservation, and Sioux tribal members say this would threaten their drinking water and sacred sites.

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

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