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Native Americans

Flickr Photo/Keith Allison (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Jay Rosenstein, journalism professor and producer of "In Whose Honor?", about the history of Indian mascots and the significance of the U.S. patent's office cancelation of the Washington Redskins' trademark.

Yakama Nation Protests Coal Export Terminal

May 21, 2014

BOARDMAN, Ore. -- Yakama Nation tribal members took to the Columbia River Tuesday to protest a proposed coal export facility in eastern Oregon. The tribe says the export facility would cut fishers off from treaty-protected fishing sites along the river.

More than 70 people held signs and waved flags on the banks of the Columbia River, just downstream from the proposed Morrow Pacific coal export terminal.

 Billy Frank Jr., a legendary champion of tribal treaty rights and Northwest salmon restoration, died Monday. He was 83 years old.

After 180 years, it is not too late to say thank you. That is what a Japanese delegation did last week as it retraced the history-making path of three  castaways to the Makah Indian Reservation on the Washington coast.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Tribal leaders in the Puget Sound area gathered on Bainbridge Island Thursday for a summit about top issues in Indian Country. They were joined with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to discuss federal priorities.

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Editor's note, 5/5/2014: Billy Frank Jr., who led the "Fish Wars" of the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was 83. Below is an interview with Frank, conducted in March by KUOW's Steve Scher and Arwen Nicks. We also featured Frank in a series on tribal fishing.

Billy Frank Jr. helped secure Indian fishing rights through protest and legal action in the 1960s and '70s. The 83-year-old Nisqually tribe member has been arrested about 50 times over the years; the first time was in 1945 when he was 14, for fishing.

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

Courtesy of Angel Rabang

This weekend’s tribal council election on the Nooksack reservation near Bellingham leaves an uncertain future for hundreds of its members. The tribe has sought to remove about 15 percent of its people in what would be the largest tribal disenrollment in Washington state’s history.

KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

Members of the Nooksack tribe near Bellingham will cast votes in a high-stakes election this Saturday. The outcome could change the fate for hundreds of members facing disenrollment from the tribe.

This membership controversy within the Nooksack Tribe surfaced about a year ago. The tribal council questioned the ancestry of 306 members, about 15 percent of the tribe, and moved to disenroll them.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

The past could present yet another obstacle to the future of the state Route 99 megaproject on the Seattle waterfront.

Archaeologists with the tunnel project started digging a series of 60 small holes Thursday to see if any signs of historic or prehistoric human activity are in the area.

State officials are reporting the discovery of a second set of human remains near the cracked Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington state.

This Thursday, three Native American tribes are changing how they administer justice.

For almost four decades, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling has barred tribes from prosecuting non-American Indian defendants. But as part of last year's re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a new program now allows tribes to try some non-Indian defendants in domestic abuse cases.

Flickr Photo/SalFalko (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Tulalip Tribe Chairman Mel Sheldon about a federal pilot program that will allow the Tulalip Tribe to prosecute non-tribal members who are accused of domestic violence on the reservation.

A file photo of a member of Puget Sound's Swinomish tribe participating in a ceremonial salmon blessing. Northwest tribes hold vigils along the Columbia River to pray for the return of salmon.
KUOW Photo/Katie Campbell

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has declared the Fraser River sockeye salmon run a “fishery disaster” for nine tribes and non-tribal fishers in Washington state.

Legacy Of Forced March Still Haunts Navajo Nation

Jan 27, 2014

Musician Clarence Clearwater, like so many Navajos, has moved off the reservation for work. He performs on the Grand Canyon Railway, the lone Indian among dozens of cowboys and train robbers entertaining tourists.

"I always tell people I'm there to temper the cowboys," says Clearwater. "I'm there to give people the knowledge that there was more of the West than just cowboys."

The Fish Wars: Fighting As Northwest Salmon Run Dry

Jan 23, 2014
Mural near the Fisherman's Cove Marina and Lummi Island Ferry on Lummi Nation.
KUOW Photo/Jeff Emtman

This is an excerpt from KUOW's "Sacred Catch" series. Explore the full series with additional audio, pictures and materials.

Hundreds of Indians climbed the cliffs at night and waited under the edge of the bluff for the first morning light.

'Schelangen,' But Also A Right

Jan 22, 2014
Jay Julius is a member of the Lummi Tribe and an outspoken defender of his people's fishing rights
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Back in the 1850s, the United States negotiated a series of five treaties with the coastal tribes living in what is now Washington state. The treaties secured a majority of the land for the state and broke the tribes up into reservations. But of less interest to early white settlers were water rights. Native Americans kept their right to fish along coastal waters. However, over the decades those rights have been disputed.

Before Salmon Was King, Before Salmon Was Greed

Jan 21, 2014
KUOW Photo/Jeff Emtman

The Salish Sea is a network of waterways that run from northwestern Washington to British Columbia. The waters of the Salish Sea are home to some of the richest marine life on the planet. The Lummi Tribe of Northern Washington rely on the abundance of these waters, but the fish have been in decline for the last century and a half.

Clean Slate For Tribal Fishing Rights Protesters?

Jan 15, 2014

Around 40 to 50 years ago, American Indians in Western Washington were repeatedly arrested during protests over treaty fishing rights.

Seattle 2013: A Year In Protest

Dec 30, 2013
Heather Villanueva

As we looked back on the last year, debating which stories to highlight here, we noticed a trend that surprised us: 2013 was a year of activism and protest in the Seattle area.

Flickr Photo/USFWS Pacific

Pacific lamprey were once a major staple in Northwest tribes’ diets. The oils were a source of nutrition. Babies used lamprey tails as teething rings.

Now, as numbers decline, lamprey only make it to the table during ceremonies or special occasions. Washington biologists hope to turn those numbers around and in doing so, may create the world's first lamprey hatchery.

Nooksack tribal police stand outside the courthouse during a disenrollment hearing in 2013.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It's a frosty morning at the Nooksack tribal courthouse in Deming, Wash., and caution tape and tribal police block the entrance.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Adelina Parker lets up on the gas as she drives through her childhood stomping grounds.

“Up there, that was all Filipino farmers and strawberry fields,” Parker says, motioning toward a school and apartments that occupy this land.

On December 6, 2013 at Town Hall in Seattle, reporter Ashley Ahearn moderated a discussion with Jay Julius, Lummi councilmember; and tribal law experts Mason Morisett and Knoll Lowney about an ongoing battle over a coal terminal, proposed to be built at Cherry Point, a sacred site for the Lummi.

A massive load of oil equipment is on its way to Canada, along a winding route that began near Hermiston, in northeast Oregon. 

EarthFix/KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Three summers ago, the company that hopes to build the largest coal terminal in North America failed to obtain the permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres. 

marijuana
Flickr Photo/North Cascades National Park

Ross Reynolds interviews Robert Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, who explains why most Native American tribes in Washington are unlikely to allow the production, sale or use of recreational marijuana.

Imagine running power lines through a cathedral. That's how archaeologists describe what the Bonneville Power Administration proposes doing in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. The federal electricity provider is trying to string a new transmission line near a cave that contains ancient paintings, a site considered sacred by Native Americans.

Tribal casinos are trying to appeal to a new kind of customer – one who may not even gamble at all. 

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