Native Americans | KUOW News and Information

Native Americans

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. 

Makah Filmmaker Fights Stereotypes One Story At A Time

Sep 20, 2013
Courtesy of Sandy Osawa

Sandy Osawa is a local filmmaker and a member of the Makah Tribe. She and her husband, Yasu Osawa, have been creating documentaries for four decades. They have produced more than 65 videos, including five PBS documentaries. But for the Osawas, this is not a business. It's a battle. They use film to fight society's images of American Indian people.

Hometown Heroes: The Conversation Talks To Notable Washingtonians

Aug 22, 2013
Wikimedia

Located in the best city in the best state, The Conversation has a lot of pride in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve got the best apples, planes, music, and yoga paddle board classes in the country.  This hour, we hear from Washingtonians who are making news and bringing fame to the Evergreen State.

When The Odds Are Against You

Aug 15, 2013
Courtesy of Sandy Osawa

In today’s podcast we battle the odds, even when we know our chances of winning are slim. We fight for our dignity and we fight for our lives.

First, we hear from Rachel Lam about local filmmaker Sandy Osawa and how she battles Native American stereotypes through her work. Then Madeline Ewbank introduces us to Mr. Nybs, and his fight with the lump in his throat.

RadioActive is KUOW's youth radio program, and all the stories here are produced by young people age 16-21. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

What’s considered the largest proposed disenrollment of tribal members in Washington state is still moving forward, following a tribal court’s ruling this week.  Leaders of the Nooksack Tribe near Bellingham aim to cut ties with 306 of its 2,000 members – that’s 15 percent of the tribe.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Seattle’s native people, the Duwamish, will learn today about their next step in a decades-old legal battle.  The tribe has petitioned the US government for federal recognition, which would make the Duwamish eligible for certain benefits like health care, fishing rights and the chance to run a casino.

The Suquamish Tribe Recognized Same-Sex Marriage In 2011: Will Other Tribes?
In March, a Northern Michigan Indian tribe became the third in the US to recognize same-sex marriage. The Suquamish Tribal Council voted to recognize same-sex marriage in 2011. Other tribes have passed laws against. And the US Supreme Court is expected to issue a landmark marriage ruling this summer. Ron Whitener, executive director at Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, explains how the nation’s 563 recognized tribes are approaching the issue.

What’s New In Science News?  
Local virologists are tracking the latest flu in China, and the economics of studying science have led to some new ways to raise money for research. Sally James, Northwest science writer tells us what’s new in science news.

A Conversation With Former Child Star Beverly Washburn
Chances are you’ve seen Beverly Washburn perform, but you didn’t know her name. Have you seen Old Yeller? She was the little girl, Lisbeth. Washburn grew up performing opposite Hollywood greats like Lou Costello and Bing Crosby.   

Weekend Weather Forecast
How will the weather be for Mother's Day this Sunday? Nick Bond joins us with a look at the weekend weather.

From Vietnam To Fisherman: Tulalip Tribe Chairman Mel Sheldon Talks Life Then And Now

Apr 17, 2013

Mel Sheldon is chairman of the Tulalip Tribe, but he wasn’t always in politics. Chairman Sheldon fished for 25 years. Before that he worked as a houseboy at two University of Washington sororities. And before that, Sheldon served as a pilot in Vietnam.

Chairman Sheldon says he likes “life on the edge," he likes being busy and he likes working hard. Ross Reynolds talks with Tulalip Tribe Chairman Mel Sheldon about his life, career and hopes for the future.

Courtesy Photo

At the Duwamish Longhouse in West Seattle, Cecile Hansen traces her finger down a plaque of names. “Look at all our leaders, starting with the chief here,” Hansen says.

American Indian and Alaska Native veterans can now see local Indian Health Service providers for care that is covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A tribal court on the Umatilla Indian Reservation is one of the first to hand-down a long prison term under new tougher criminal sentencing laws enacted by Congress in 2010.

It used to be that tribes could only sentence a Native American criminal to up to one year of jail time -- no matter the crime. Typically the U.S. Justice Department was called in for everything else -– but many cases were dropped.

Now, tribal courts have the power to sentence native criminals who commit crimes on a reservation up to three years per count, for up to nine years.

Matika Wilbur

Photographer Matika Wilbur is a member of the Tulalip Tribe raised on the Swinomish Reservation. Her work explores themes of Native American identity and cultural duality, and has appeared in the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, The Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum and the Burke Museum. She joins us to talk about her new project to photograph Native Americans from all 562 tribes in the United States.

Two relatively obscure waterways in rural southeast Oregon are generating a heated dispute over geographic names. The small streams are both named "Squaw Creek," which is considered offensive to Native Americans. But the landowners in each case object to the proposed new names.

A 25-member volunteer panel called the Oregon Geographic Names Board is methodically working to erase the term "squaw" from the state map. Often, the new names are suggested by Native Americans.

Board president Sharon Nesbit says that's the case for two remote creeks in rural Harney County.

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