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Native Americans

The Yakama Nation will have more control with its tribal police and courts over crimes committed on the nation’s reservation. That’s according to the federal Interior Department this week.

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

On Oct. 12, the Seattle City Council voted to acknowledge the trauma caused by the government’s American Indian boarding schools. Matt Remle, an educator and member of the Lakota tribe, talked about the lasting impacts with KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel.

You are five years old. You are literally taken from your home. There was no choice. You have somebody coming to your door to take you away to these boarding schools.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will hold public meetings the week October 12 in Richland, Washington, about opening Rattlesnake Mountain to the public.

This wildfire season has hit northwest tribal lands particularly hard. Firefighters’ first priority is “life and property.” But some tribal members wonder why protecting some kinds of property—like farms and even second homes— comes before tribal forest land.

Halibut catch in Alaska.
Flickr Photo/Jay Cross (CC BY 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Lee van der Voo, a Portland-based investigative reporter for Investigate West, about her reporting on how some sustainably-certified pollock and sole fisheries are actually harming small, Native halibut fishing communities in western Alaska. 

Fewer than 20 miles north of Portland, Ore., off Interstate 5 in southwest Washington state, sits a 150-acre former dairy farm. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe eyed the grassy field as the future home of a casino, and a developer purchased the land for the tribe more than a decade ago.

"It will be a good attraction for the whole community here, drawing thousands of people daily but also providing thousands of jobs," says Bill Iyall, the Cowlitz tribal chairman.

Artist Lois Thadei in woven hat, photographed at Ginger Street in Olympia during Art Walk.
Courtesy of Kay Shultz

Lois Thadei’s full name is Lois Chichnikoff Thadei.

But everyone calls her Louie. She says white people have a hard time pronouncing her name.

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Chris Cultee will have a close-up view when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies past Pluto on Tuesday.

Cultee, who attends the Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham, is an intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center this summer. He tweeted Monday about his experiences at @NASASunEarth with the hash tag #RaceOnTech. 

First lady Michelle Obama spoke to Native youth at the White House last week, saying their customs, values, and discoveries "are at the heart of the American story."

"Yet as we all know, America hasn't always treated your people and your heritage with dignity and respect. Tragically, it's been the opposite," Obama continued.

Obama addressed the inaugural White House Tribal Youth Gathering, which brought together more than 1,000 youths from around the country. The conference featured sessions on safety, health and education, moderated by young people.

Duwamish Chairwoman Cecile Hansen, left, stands with family and supporters at the tribe's longhouse.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Duwamish tribal members say they'll keep fighting after the federal government denied their longstanding petition to be recognized as a tribe.

Duwamish tribal chairwoman Cecile Hansen hold her great-grandson, Maximus Pearson in this photo from May 2013.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A long journey for Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe appeared to have hit a dead end Thursday. The federal government rejected the tribe’s decades-long fight for official recognition -- and many benefits that come with it. KUOW’s Liz Jones reports.

Voices of Youth Keep Lushootseed Language Alive

Jun 24, 2015
Maria Martin teaches Lushootseed to preschoolers at the Tulalip Montessori School.
KUOW Photo/Ben Gauld

In Maria Martin's preschool classroom at the Tulalip Montessori School, the children were learning to count to 10. 

"Two!" they shouted.

But this lesson wasn't in English. "In Lushootseed!" Martin instructed her class.

"Saliʔ!" their tiny voices rang out.

Makah whalers celebrate atop a dead gray whale after a successful hunt seen in this May 17, 1999, file photo, in Neah Bay, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Ross Reynolds talks to historian Joshua Reid about his new book, a history of the Makah tribe  titled, “The Sea is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs."   

The Makahs' tribal land occupies  the Northwest corner of Washington state.  They gained worldwide attention in 1999 when they resumed the traditional practice of hunting for grey whales. Reid's book takes a fresh look at the controversy seen through the  history of the Makahs.

Reid, a member of the Snohomish tribe, was born and raised in Washington. In the fall he’ll be at the University of Washington as an associate professor of history and American Indian Studies.

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It started out as a joke. 

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

The University of Washington's Intellectual House.
Screenshot from YouTube

Jeannie Yandel talks with Ross Braine, the University of Washington's tribal liaison, about his big dreams for the University's brand new Intellectual House, a space for Native Americans on campus.

Marcie Sillman talks to author Christine Dupres about her new book "Being Cowlitz: How One Tribe Renewed And Sustained Its Identity." 

Guns line the walls of the firearms reference collection at the Washington Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

For years, Tulalip tribal officials have been pressing for better access to criminal databases. Then the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School last fall made the reason all too clear.

Tribal records should have blocked the purchase of the gun used in the shooting. But the records never traveled the seven miles between the Tulalip Tribal Court and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The Swinomish Tribe has filed a lawsuit against BNSF Railway to stop oil trains from traveling through its reservation.

BNSF train tracks cross the top of the Swinomish Reservation in Skagit County. In recent years they’ve been used to move oil from North Dakota to two refineries in Anacortes.

Josh Etzler, left, and colleague Jeff Stewart break for lunch in Tulalip. Etzler says marijuana retail stores could be undercut by tribes.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

In Les Parks’ perfect world, the Tulalip Tribes would not only legalize marijuana but fund research into its medical benefits.  

“I see Tulalip leading the country and being on this frontier for what this plant can do for mankind, basically,” said Parks, the Tulalips’ vice chairman and a longtime supporter of legalization, speaking from the tribe’s gleaming new government building, with sweeping views over Puget Sound.

Jay Julius is a member of the Lummi Tribe and an outspoken defender of his people's fishing rights
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Jeannie Yandel talks with Bob Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, about a dispute over fishing rights which went to the federal court in Seattle Monday.

The Makah, the Quileute, and the Quinault Nations disagree over who has the right to fish in territories off the west coast of Washington.

marijuana
Flickr Photo/North Cascades National Park

Ross Reynolds talks to Anthony Broadman, a partner with the Seattle law firm Galanda Broadman, about how local tribes can sell marijuana on reservations.

Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, stands on the docks as tribal crabbers unload their catch. The tribe has vowed to fight the oil train-to-ship terminals  proposed for Grays Harbor.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

HOQUIAM, Wash. — Grays Harbor, with its deep-water berths and fast access to Pacific Ocean shipping routes, has all the ingredients to be a world-class port.

SEATTLE -- A federal agency says a Puget Sound tribe has not made a convincing enough case to to halt the permitting process for the largest proposed coal export facility in the country.

It's been 75 years since salmon and steelhead last swam into the upper reaches of the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam.

Tow boat captains, wheat exporters, and the directors of the farthest inland ports in the Northwest are breathing easier today.

The people who live in the northwest corner of New Mexico consider Darlene Arviso to be a living saint.

"Everybody knows me around here. They'll be waving at me," she says from behind the wheel of the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission water truck. "They call me the water lady."

That's because Arviso hauls water for tribe members of the Navajo Nation, where, on average, residents use 7 gallons a day to drink, cook, bathe and clean. The average person in the U.S. uses about 100 gallons a day.

LUMMI RESERVATION, Wash. -- The Lummi Nation issued a letter Monday to the U.S. government seeking to end the project's permitting process for a coal-shipping project encircled by their Puget Sound fishing grounds.

When the federal government decided to make plutonium in southeast Washington, early farmers and whole villages of Native Americans were kicked out. Now, a new collection of oral histories tells some of these stories of the Hanford site.

Mural near the Fisherman's Cove Marina and Lummi Island Ferry on Lummi Nation.
KUOW Photo/Jeff Emtman

After a visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in North Dakota, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to help Native American youth.

Obama's proposal aims to provide culturally appropriate education at tribal schools, access to mental health providers and peer counseling and better preparation for college and careers. KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel spoke with Gyasi Ross, a writer, attorney and member of the Blackfeet tribe. He lives on the Suquamish reservation north of Seattle.

“You can see it in Obama's face, you can hear it in the words that he speaks -- he actually has a passion for trying to do something proactively for Native people," Ross said. "I knew that it was coming from a good place.”

The U.S. Department of Justice this week opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.

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