Indian Country Chooses Sides for Super Bowl XLVIII

manning_vs_shermanSource: Indian Country Today Media Network

The beginning, middle and end of the 2013 season had plenty of ups, downs and surprises for Native American NFL fans.

For starters, the Rams’ Sam Bradford, Cherokee, lost his season in October to a torn ACL. But there’s good news. According to, Bradford was cleared by the team’s medical staff to run on the treadmill on Wednesday, and ESPN reported that Les Snead, the Rams’ general manager, remains committed to Bradford as the starting QB for the 2014 season.

RELATED Rams QB Sam Bradford out for the Season, Team Needs Backup

A loss that Cherokee Nation fans could not recover from so quickly was the passing of Bud Adams. Adams, a Cherokee descent, was the founder of the Houston Oilers and owner of the Tennessee Titans who died in his Houston home at age 90.

On a happier note, Kansas City Chiefs backup QB Tyler Bray, citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL while helping the Chiefs beat Green Bay 30-8. Who cares if it was a preseason game?

And speaking of Green Bay, don’t forget about the Native (and non-Native) Packers fans who braved freezing temperatures to make sure that the Washington Redskins did not get a warm welcome to Lambeau Field during the Packers home opener in September. Members of Wisconsin’s local chapter of Idle No More, various tribes, as well as local and national leaders led those demonstrations outside the stadium; perhaps achieving their own, personal dig at Dan Snyder’s decision to “Never — put that in CAPS” change the team’s name.

Protests against the nickname for the D.C. franchise started early and grew louder every week; many Natives protested at every away game for the ‘Redskins.’ This all became the fodder for a growing name-change debate; taking the Change the Mascot campaign from a grassroots organization to a national movement.

But, through the good and bad, the beginning and middle of the 2013 NFL season, the ending of the season was the most exciting and rewarding time for Indian Country.

The two most popular NFL franchises in Indian Country — the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos–will battle in the 48th Super Bowl — and Native fans are supporting them all the way.

“The most Native support used to be for the Dallas Cowboys,” said Ken Frost, Southern Ute, to ICTMN. “But it’s no longer America’s team.”

Frost said he’s been a hardcore Denver Bronco fan since he was a child. He’d holler and scream at the TV with his grandma. He said Natives in the West claim the Broncos because the team is in the “heart of Indian country” and close to several reservations.

Ken Frost tailgating at a Broncos game. Beside the "Broncos car" which has been around since the John Elway era. (Courtesy Kenny Frost)
Ken Frost tailgating at a Broncos game. Beside the “Broncos car” which has been around since the John Elway era. (Courtesy Kenny Frost)

It’s probably not a shock to hear that Frost picks Denver to prevail in the Super Bowl. “Peyton’s going to pick apart the Seattle defense,” he said over the phone. “Denver’s gonna win it. I think it’s gonna be around 37-23.”

Seahawk fans disagree.

“Alaskans support the Seahawks as if they are our team,” said Myrna Gardner, Tlingit Indian tribe, who flew into Seattle from Alaska to watch the NFC Championship game last week. “My love began when I was born. My whole family watched the Seahawks. I recall Steve Largent’s poster on the walls in the hallway at my parent’s house.”

“Being at the game, experiencing the power of the ’12th Man’ was a Bucket-list event,” said Gardner. “Representing Heinyaa Kwaan, ‘the water people from across the bay,’ was an honor,” she said.

Myrna Gardner and Debra Guerrero are Tlingit Haida Seahawks fans thrilled by the team's NFC victory. (Courtesy Myrna Gardner)
Myrna Gardner and Debra Guerrero are Tlingit Haida Seahawks fans thrilled by the team’s NFC victory. (Courtesy Myrna Gardner)

Chuck James, Treasurer of Tulalip Tribes, has been a Seahawks season-ticket holder for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Illene, attended last Sunday’s playoff game as well, and expect Seattle to take home the Lombardi trophy next week.

“The Seahawks have always been a big part of our lives here on the reservation and they’ve inspired our young people to want to compete and win,” James told ICTMN.

RELATED Excited for Super Bowl XLVIII! 10 Pics of Native Fans Rooting for Denver or Seattle

“If you go to the Tulalip Tribes administration building before a game, you’ll see the excitement, with everyone wearing Seahawks gear and showing pride. We even have tribal members who design Seahawks gear that is sold in our casino resort gift shop,” he said.

“Win or lose, the Seahawks are our team and we’ll be there to support them,” James said.



Abused Mohawk woman fears becoming statistic among growing number of missing and murdered

By Kenneth Jackson, APTN National News
The bedside alarm clock said it was 1:58 in the morning.

That’s the exact moment when she was awoken from her bed by a man who had broken into her home and was grabbing her.

Groggy and frightened, as she lived alone with a cat, she thought she was having a nightmare.

She was.

In fact, she’d be living it for several years.

Before the sun would come up she was punched, choked, kicked and threatened to be killed by her ex-boyfriend, a Caucasian who always ridiculed her Indigenous roots.

“He said: ‘Only one of us is going to wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be me,’” the young women recounted to an APTN National News reporter who agreed to protect her identity and some details of the attack because she fears for her safety.

The Mohawk from Tyendinaga thought she was going to die, but somehow was able to survive and call police.

She gave a video statement to police and went to the hospital.

He wasn’t arrested until two days later and was then released from the station. She spent a weekend thinking he was being held for a bail hearing only to find out that wasn’t the case.

She said a police officer refused to tell her they released him.

He was charged with mischief and assault. She questions why he wasn’t charged with more.

She can no longer live in the small town near Ottawa anymore, where the abuser and his family live.

She has to quit her job and move away – far away –  from him.

“It’s not safe for me to be here anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to become a statistic. I don’t want to be another murdered First Nations woman.”

That statistic, which she refers to, is apparently climbing according to a recent study by Maryanne Pearce, an Ottawa researcher, who says she’s compiled over 800 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women dating back to 1946.

A few years ago that number was pegged at about 600 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Pearce, who is part Mohawk, told APTN her work was done, in part, for her doctorate in law at the University of Ottawa.

“Issues of violence against women are very important to me, so I wanted to help in any way I can,” said Pearce.

Pearce used online media stories, archives and other related work to make her list.

“Most were from 1980 and beyond, and more from 1999 onward,” she said, mainly because the Internet made it easier.

Pearce said she was inclusive and detailed as possible when collecting the date, but is upfront it can’t be 100 per cent.

“Inevitably, I will have missed cases or included case has changed and shouldn’t be there any more,” she said, adding a newspaper recently spotted two in her database that had been found alive.

But her work has sparked others to submit names she never had.

“Since the media began reporting on the research, I have also been sent emails with names or numbers of women that were omitted. One of the cases brought to my attention I have yet to be able to find in any public source,” said Pearce.

Many have called for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he won’t call one.

Pearce isn’t necessarily against an inquiry. She does question how it would work.

“I certainly understand the reasons behind calling for a national inquiry. We all want answers and action. While I am not against a national inquiry per se, I have many questions about how it would proceed and function,” she said.

That includes how it will be funded and involve the provinces and territories.

“If we did have an inquiry, would the non-binding recommendations in a report be acted upon, or sit on a shelf?” she wondered.

Still, she hopes her research can attempt to help other work in the area, and try to fill any gaps.

Shawn Brant is also from Tyendinaga, and a well-known Mohawk activist willing to stand up against what he perceives as injustices against Indigenous peoples.

Brant is about to begin a campaign “to force the federal government” to call a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

It’s what he calls the first step in a plan to protect Indigenous women in Canada.

“There’s no limit in how far we’ll go to resolve this,” said Brant.

He said that includes “direct conflict” if required.

Brant is aware of the Mohawk woman and her situation.

“I think that she models the circumstances that inevitably lead to tragedy,” he said.

A Year of Action for Indian Country


Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today Media Network, 1/30/14

The thing I like about state of unions – the national kind, the NCAI kind, and the tribal kind – is that it’s a to do list. Leaders see this as a list of “action items” while I see this as a list of fascinating issues that are worth exploring in future columns.

I want to start with an idea raised by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union message: “Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.”

What would a “year of action” look like in Indian country? And, more important, how do we get there?

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby began this year’s State of Indian Nations by talking about so many of the success stories from Indian country. “Tribal leaders and advocates have never been more optimistic about the future of Native people,” he said. But that sense of possibility is “threatened by the federal government’s ability to deliver its promises.”

President Cladoosby released NCAI’s budget request for the coming fiscal year. That document calls for funding treaty obligations with the “fundamental goal” of parity for Indian country with “similarly situated governments.” As a moral case, and cause, this is exactly right. This is an aspirational document, as it should be.

But in a year of action there needs to be another route forward. This Congress is incapable of honoring treaties. Even in a more friendly era, members of Congress proudly called Indian health a “treaty right” only to appropriate less than what was required. This year’s federal budget essentially is flat (which means less program dollars because Indian country’s population is growing). NCAI puts it this way: “However, the trend in funding for Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior does not reflect Indian self-determination as a priority in the federal budget.”

But it’s not the Interior Department. It’s all of government and especially the Congress.

To my way of thinking, this particular moment in history is especially important. The demographics of Indian country – a young, growing population – exactly matches the greater need of the nation as a whole (a nation that is rapidly aging). Cladoosby said in the past 30 years the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives in college has more than double.

Cladoosby, who is chairman of the Swinomish Indian Community, said that his tribe is providing scholarships for their young people to the colleges of their choice. That’s smart. I wish more tribes could afford that approach. But there are other ways that this can happen, too.

So here is one idea: What if President Obama, when he visits Indian country this year, partners with tribal leaders to raise private money for tribal colleges? How much is possible, a new billion dollar endowment? Why not?

Or what about expanding efforts to forgive student debt? Too many young Native Americans are burdened by loans. If tribal members choose to be teachers or serve tribal governments, erase what they owe. (And expand similar programs for young people who choose health care careers.)

Two other items in the State of Indian Nations that are important and exciting are tribes building international partnerships, President Cladoosby mentioned Turkey, as well as tax reform so that tribes can raise their own funds. He said tribes should get at least the same tax treatment as states. This could be new money. Action dollars.

In a year of action, it seems to me, the most lucrative funding routes do not involve Congress or appropriations.

In his congressional response, Montana Sen. Jon Tester hit on a couple of billion dollars just waiting to be picked up, and that’s the Affordable Care Act. Congress is not going to fully fund Indian Health Service. But that full-funding could happen if every eligible American Indian and Alaska Native signed up for tribal insurance, Medicaid, or purchased a free or subsidized policy through an exchange. This is money that Congress does not have to appropriate.

A couple billion dollars? Just waiting for a year of action.

Mark Trahant is the 20th Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a journalist, speaker and Twitter poet and is a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Comment on Facebook at:



Under Tribal Scrutiny, Cantwell Exiting SCIA; Tester to Take Charge


Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today, 1/30/14

After a tenuous year of leading the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) has confirmed that she is moving on.

Following weeks of speculation that she would step down to lead the Small Business Committee after a leadership shuffle among Senate Democrats following Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-Montana) retirement, Cantwell made her intentions clear at a January 29 hearing in Washington, saying it has been a pleasure to serve alongside vice-chair John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and to work with current Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn.

“It has been a smooth working process,” Cantwell assessed of her work relationship with Barrasso. “We will certainly appreciate working with you again in the future.”

Reid Walker, a spokesman for the senator, said after the hearing that she will remain on SCIA as a member “and remains committed to Indian country.”

Cantwell, while praised as the first female chair of SCIA, has been criticized by some tribal leaders and advocates for not holding as many hearings and for not pushing for as much pro-tribal legislation as immediate past SCIA leaders by this point in their tenures.

Mary Pavel, Cantwell’s staff director and chief counsel, has held several listening sessions with tribal leaders and citizens, but these have not translated into firm action on many economic and social issues facing tribes today.

Pavel told Indian Country Today Media Network in an interview at the beginning of Cantwell’s term in 2013 that she expected the senator would be a strong leader of SCIA, which is not exactly the perception that many tribal leaders currently have of Cantwell’s one year in the position, although Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Cantwell’s home state of Washington, said she has done “a great job on behalf of Indian country” in his testimony before the committee on January 29. Tribal leaders from Cantwell’s region have generally been more pleased with her leadership than others.

In the weeks before the Small Business Committee chairmanship opened up, Cantwell had been working behind the scenes at tackling one of the major issues facing Indian country—a legislative fix to the controversial 2009 Supreme Court Carcieri decision that called into question the Department of the Interior’s ability to take lands into trust for tribes recognized by the federal government after 1934.

But Cantwell’s Carcieri legislation was mired in conflict before even getting out of the starting gate, since it was not drafted with wide consultation from tribal leaders. It called for a fix that would exclude the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island, and it made modifications to rules that would make gaming impossible or more difficult for some tribes. Many tribes and Indian organizations have argued that land-into-trust policy should not be tied to gaming policy, as they are distinct issues.

According to sources familiar with Cantwell’s effort on the Carcieri draft legislation, she worked with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on ideas involving historical connections tests for tribes that want to pursue off reservation gaming. Feinstein has long been controversial in Indian country for her desire to limit tribal gaming, especially in California. In a sign of their closeness, Cantwell sat next to Feinstein at the president’s January 28 State of the Union address, and they have introduced joint legislation in the past. Still, Feinstein’s office insists the senator did not play a role in drafting the legislation.

Tribal leaders who have seen the draft Carcieri legislation have generally let their displeasure with Cantwell’s work here be known, and the legislation is widely considered to be stalled with her moving on from the leadership.

Cantwell’s staff is well aware of the difficulties, but they say the senator has not given up. “Several ideas are being considered with input from multiple stakeholders, and more work needs to be done,” said Walker. “She and the committee remain committed to finding a solution.”

The Carcieri discussions and other issues within SCIA have been tense of late, and there were recent indications that the general tension of the atmosphere was affecting staffers there when Denise Desiderio, a deputy staff director at SCIA, decided to leave after five years with the committee. She has long told colleagues that she loved working there, so her decision was one indication of the difficulties surrounding Cantwell’s tenure, according to sources close to Desiderio.

A major highlight of Cantwell’s leadership was the passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 that included strong tribal jurisdictional provisions for prosecuting non-Indian offenders on reservations. The senator strongly supported that legislation, and she helped Indian advocates make their voices heard on the issue. She’s also been strong on forcing the federal government to pay contract support costs to tribes, and she has played a role in holding up Indian Health Service Director Yvette Roubideaux’ re-nomination to the position due to tribal concerns.

With Cantwell making her intentions to exit SCIA known, all eyes now turn to Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), who will take on the chairmanship, Senate sources have confirmed.

Tester, who has served on the committee since his first term in Congress that started in 2007, has been angling for the position with support from Senate colleagues, including the retiring Baucus. Other contenders were Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), but he is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, and Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) were also interested, according to Senate sources.

Tester, with the strong backing of the tribes in his home state, ended up with the gavel, and he is quickly signaling his intentions to be a proactive chairman. In mid-January, he introduced legislation that would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide increased federal financial support to Native American language programs at American Indian-focused schools. And on January 30, he provided the congressional response to the annual State of the Indian Nations address hosted by the National Congress of American Indians. He’s also been meeting behind-the-scenes with many tribal leaders and advocates.

“I serve on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs—we work hard, and the accomplishments are many, from the Native American protections in the Violence Against Women Act to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to water settlements to my work with veterans to the Tribal Law and Order Act to NAHASDA,” Tester told ICTMN in a 2012 interview. “I am very proud of my record. I also visit every reservation in Montana every year.”



Nature Conservancy Raises $33.3 Million for Conservation

Private donations transform work to restore natural systems in Washington and around the world


Source: The Nature Conservancy

Seattle — The Nature Conservancy’s three-year Forces of Nature campaignhas raised $33.3 million in private dollars for conservation in Washington and internationally. The campaign, the largest in the chapter’s history and one of the largest campaigns for conservation ever in Washington, was focused on conserving and restoring natural systems while enhancing the well-being of people.

“Our economy and quality of life are intertwined with our state’s clean water, abundant natural resources and astounding beauty,” said Mike Stevens, the Conservancy’s Washington director. “Through their generosity to this campaign, the people of Washington have shown they understand and value what we have and are willing to work to steward it.”

“We are grateful to our donors who have demonstrated their passion and commitment to conservation even during difficult economic times,” said Campaign Chair Elaine French, a volunteer and member of the state chapter’s board of trustees.

In all, the Conservancy raised nearly $18 million for acquisitions, $10 million for on-the-ground work, and more than $6 million for international programs.

Funds raised through the Forces of Nature Campaign are already bringing results.

  • Puget Sound: Partnership-driven, high-impact projects are blending flood protection, salmon habitat, stormwater reduction and agricultural preservation across more than 1,000 acres of floodplains along eight major rivers.
  • East Cascade Forests: Critical timberlands have been brought into public ownership and we are partnering to restore forests to reduce the risks of catastrophic megafires, while promoting ways to ensure the economic viability of forest-dependent communities.
  • Olympic Rainforest: We are working hand in hand with coastal communities to conserve and restore forests along our most important coast salmon rivers.
  • Marine Waters: A new program focuses on conserving Washington’s 28,000 square miles of  marine waters and fisheries in Puget Sound and off the coast.
  • Emerald Edge: A new international program conserves habitat, restores forests and fisheries and builds sustainable economies across 70 million acres in the world’s largest temperate rainforest, stretching from the Washington coast through British Columbia and into Southeast Alaska.
  • International: Support from Washington allows Conservancy programs around the world to benefit nature and people, for example protecting elephant habitat in Africa through indigenous communities.


Forty-five donors gave gifts of $100,000 or more. The campaign was also supported by corporations and private foundations, including Boeing, Harriet Bullit’s Icicle Fund, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

“What makes this campaign so special is our work with people—farmers, fishermen, loggers, business owners, tribal communities—to develop projects that will have the biggest impact on people’s lives and on our future,” said Mary Ruckelshaus, chair of the chapter’s board of trustees. “Using innovative, science-based solutions, we are making life better for people and communities while protecting the natural resources on which we all depend.”

Brrrr! How will fans weather first cold-weather Super Bowl?

The Associated PressThis aerial photo shows MetLife Stadium, lower left, in East Rutherford, N.J., with the New York City skyline, top, not that far away in the background across cold marshlands.

The Associated Press
This aerial photo shows MetLife Stadium, lower left, in East Rutherford, N.J., with the New York City skyline, top, not that far away in the background across cold marshlands.

The debate heats up over Sunday’s first cold-weather Super Bowl, but Weather Channel’s Sam Champion thinks the game is a cool idea.

By Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times

NEW YORK – Don’t tell Sam Champion that a cold-weather Super Bowl was a bad idea.

As a former longtime, upbeat weatherman for ABC’s Good Morning America — who became a managing editor at The Weather Channel in December — Champion makes his living off wind-chill factors, snow, ice and everything else some had anticipated for Sunday’s game. He’s giddy about the prospect of a championship played in wintry conditions and figures all the talk of chilly weather talk has been part of the NFL’s plan from the very beginning.

“I think this is exactly what the NFL wanted,’’ Champion says. “It’s going back to the basics of football — a game played in the elements. It’s a tough game and it’s played in tough conditions. And people want to see that.

“I think people want to go back to that tangible feel of what it’s like to have sports played out in the elements.’’

This is the first time a Super Bowl will be outdoors anywhere but California or the South. And the naysayers have shaken their heads ever since that decision was made, fearing the league is leaving its showpiece event open to an all-out blitz by Mother Nature.

It didn’t help that frigid blizzard conditions blasted New York and New Jersey last week. This week, temperatures again plunged into the midteens, with wind chill in single digits.

Things are expected to be warmer Sunday, but Champion says the dire weather lead-up to the game — prompting speculation of possible postponements to Monday or Tuesday — has already accomplished what the league wanted.

“You’ve got that big buzz and big buildup to the game because people are worried about what the weather is going to be like,’’ he says.

In fact, the game conditions themselves shouldn’t be all that terrible for the players. Champion figures temperatures will be mainly in the low 30s — making it the coldest Super Bowl on record, though far warmer than the chilliest games in league history — with little chance of rain or snow.

“It’s almost like this beautiful oasis in the middle of all we’ve been seeing,’’ he says. “It’s almost like the seas are parting just in time for the game.’’

But it won’t exactly be balmy.

Champion warns fans will have to layer clothing, especially since the stands at Met Life Stadium tend to get damp breezes blowing in from surrounding marshlands. He doesn’t expect wind to have an impact on the game itself, but says it could make it feel up to 10 degrees colder for fans in certain seating sections.

A Woodinville-based company, BDA Inc., is helping fans stay warm by producing 84,000 “warm welcome kits’’ to be placed on every stadium seat before the gates open. The company designed commemorative seat cushions the past five Super Bowls as part of a longstanding merchandising partnership with the league, but this year was asked to supply the kits — containing ear muffs, gloves, lip balm, three pairs of hand warmers, a winter hat and even a small radio.

“I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done for the NFL,’’ says Seattle native and company CEO Jay Deutsch. “Everyone will want to take them home. These items are something that make nice collectibles.’’

Deutsch founded the company 30 years ago, partnering with the NFL to make Seahawks sweatshirts with “Alaska’s Team” on them. He and 20 Seattle-area employees are here this week, looking forward to cheering on their Seahawks no matter what the elements bring.

“There’s something romantic about being out there in the cold and the snow,’’ he says.

But not everybody takes a romantic view of players frolicking outdoors this time of year.

Former NFL tight end and coach Mike Ditka, working here for ESPN, played for the Chicago Bears when they won the 1963 NFL championship over the New York Giants in temperatures about 9 degrees. But Ditka says the now-TV-driven NFL is vastly different from a half-century ago and wonders why it would risk adverse weather.

He also says fans paying hefty ticket prices shouldn’t be subjected to an outdoor endurance test.

“The World Series wouldn’t be played in inclement weather,’’ Ditka says. “People say ‘It’s cold and that’s the way football was meant to be.’ Well, yeah, it was meant to be that way. I played it that way 50 years ago. But now, it’s different. So, let’s make it right for the fans, the sponsors and the players.’’

Before the Super Bowl, home teams hosted NFL title games, and the coldest ever saw Green Bay beat Dallas 21-17 in 1967 at Lambeau Field, with kickoff temperature at minus-15. Shivering players huddled on the sidelines trying to stay warm, while referees resorted to yelling out calls after one had a whistle freeze to his lips.

The 1934 title game, played at this city’s Polo Grounds, saw the underdog New York Giants upset the undefeated Chicago Bears 30-13 on a slippery field frozen by an ice storm. New York trailed 13-3 in the second half, but switched to basketball sneakers for better traction and scored 27 unanswered fourth-quarter points.

A snowstorm during the 1948 championship in Philadelphia helped limit the scoring to a lone fourth-quarter touchdown as the Eagles defeated the Chicago Cardinals 7-0. Players had to help remove a snow-covered tarp pregame, delaying kickoff by 30 minutes. Officials were told to do their best at estimating first downs.

Hockey fans here got a taste Wednesday night of what a frigid sporting event feels like when the New York Rangers defeated the crosstown Islanders 2-1, outdoors at Yankee Stadium. The game began with a temperature of 15 degrees that fell into single digits with the wind chill.

Some of the 50,027 fans left during the first intermission, unable to stand the cold. But the majority stayed, including Eddie Natos, 20, shivering with pals Joe Santos, 18, and Dick Wallace, 18, in the left-field bleachers as wind gusts blasted them.

“You’ve just got to keep moving or you freeze,’’ Natos says, bouncing up and down on his feet. “But this has been a totally awesome experience.’’

Whether fans have the same reaction in Sunday’s first cold-weather Super Bowl remains to be seen.


Jersey forecast looking more Seattle-likeComparing game-time temperatures and weather conditions for the two Seahawks playoff games at CenturyLink Field and the forecast for kickoff at Sunday’s Super Bowl:

48°Jan. 11 @ Seattle

Rain, 20 mph winds, wind chill 41


Jan. 19 @ Seattle

Cloudy, 1 mph winds.


Feb. 2 @ East Rutherford, N.J.

Forecast: 10 percent chance of rain

Shell cancels 2014 Arctic drilling – Arctic Ocean & Inpuiat rights reality check

Today Shell announced it was canceling its 2014 drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. This is a guest blog by Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), on the court decision that forced Shell’s hand, and the Indigenous rights context behind it. 

By Faith Gemmill, January 30, 2014. Source: Platform London


Photo: Faith Gemmill/ REDOIL

Photo: Faith Gemmill/ REDOIL

Last week the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the US government violated the law when it sold offshore oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska.  The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups.  Indigenous Plaintiffs included The Native Village of Point Hope, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), among numerous conservation groups.  EarthJustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization, represented our groups.

REDOIL joined this lawsuit because we strongly uphold and promote the subsistence rights of Alaska Natives and offshore development poses a very real threat to those rights in relation to the Chukchi Sea and Inupiat subsistence and that is unacceptable.

This decision is one that we celebrate.  Although we’ve had legal victories in court skirmishes on this issue, we’ve been dealt political blows that favored Shell and ignored the rights of the Inupiat and their food security.  This is another opportunity for those in decision making positions to realize that offshore drilling in this region is too risky, not only to Inupiat subsistence but to this critical ecosystem.

Indigenous Peoples have always viewed human rights and a healthy environment as fundamentally linked. The careful management and protection of the Arctic environment is a requirement for the enjoyment of Alaska Native human rights, particularly as they relate to the “subsistence” or “traditional” economy.  Indigenous Peoples of Alaska have long fought for recognition of subsistence rights as a basic inherent fundamental human right.  The Inupiat of the North Slope of Alaska continue to live the ancestral subsistence way of life, which is dependent on a healthy ocean ecosystem.

This right is recognized and affirmed in the international covenants on human rights.  Article I of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights read in part:

In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

Proposed offshore drilling of the Chukchi Sea puts subsistence rights and multi-national companies at odds.

Though the subsistence rights of Inupiat was not the foundation of the ruling, it puts the impacts to those subsistence rights on the table again, because the impacts to the natural habitat and ecosystem of subsistence resources needs to be analyzed once again, and you cannot separate environmental impacts from subsistence impacts, for they are the same.

In this recent win, the Court ruled that the Department of Interior failed to adequately analyze the potentially dramatic environmental effects of the sale before offering the leases.  It determined that the agency had analyzed

only the best case scenario for environmental harm, assuming oil development,

and that

[this analysis] skews the data toward fewer environmental impacts, and thus impedes a full and fair discussion of the potential effects of the project.

The agency will have to revise or supplement its analysis for the lease sale once again and must reconsider its lease sale decision.

We believe that the lease sale should be cancelled.  That would be the best decision that the US Government can make on this issue, for several important reasons.  First is the relationship that the Inupiat have with the Chukchi Sea and the resources it provides the communities for their food security.

Mae Hank, Inupiat grandmother from the community of Point Hope was happy with the decision

With this court ruling; it has given me a sense of contentment for now that we have prevented another intent to drill in nature’s abundance of our food resources. With whaling season coming in a few months we will worry not, my heart sings with joy for this ruling we know there is justice!

The Chukchi Sea is home to several important Arctic species such as polar bears, walrus, beluga whales, bowhead whales, and seals. Therefore the Chukchi Sea of the Arctic Ocean is critical to Inupiat subsistence lifestyle. These vital subsistence resources that are intrinsic to the livelihood of Inupiat within the Arctic Oceans are at risk from pollution, noise disturbance, and spills.  A major oil spill in the Arctic Ocean would be impossible to clean up and could have devastating consequences for the region’s ecosystem and communities.

Another factor to take into consideration is that Shell has proven that it has no capacity to drill in this region.  In 2012 the company suffered severe setbacks and mishaps—including running one of its rigs aground, almost running its other rig aground, and incurring pollution and safety violations exceeding a million dollars, with investigations still ongoing.  This should be taken into consideration, since the company itself suspended its program for 2013,acknowledging that it was not equipped to drill in this harsh Arctic region.

A final factor would be that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Indigenous communities in Alaska are already facing severe climate impacts. Why compound this with further oil extraction disrupting their food system?   Barack Obama should take action to show he is still committed to act on climate change for the sake of future generations.  The decision whether to affirm leases in the Chukchi Sea presents an important opportunity for the Obama Administration to take real and meaningful action to address climate change. He should cancel the leases and leave the oil in the ground under the sea, where it won’t spill or further warm the planet.  Humanity would benefit from a decision to cancel the leases, but also the Indigenous peoples of the North’s food security would be assured, and an inevitable oil spill accident would be avoided in this critical ecosystem that is home to many threatened Arctic species.


Faith Gemmill is the Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction of Indigenous Lands (REDOIL)  REDOIL is a movement of Alaska Natives of the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Tlingit, Eyak, Gwich’in and Denaiana Athabascan Tribes who came together in June 2002 in Cordova, Alaska to form a powerful entity to challenge the fossil fuel and mining industries and demand our rights to a safe and healthy environment conducive to subsistence.  REDOIL aims to address the human and ecological health impacts brought on by unsustainable development practices of the fossil fuel and mineral industries, and the ensuing effect of catastrophic climate change.  We strongly support the self-determination right of tribes in Alaska, as well as a just transition from fossil fuel and mineral development to sustainable economies and sustainable development.

The three core focus areas of REDOIL are:

  • Sovereignty and Subsistence Rights
  • Human and Ecological Health
  • Climate Change and Climate Justice

Follow REDOIL on Facebook

Good winter blackmouth fishery in Area 9

By Wayne Kruse, The Herald

One of the better winter blackmouth seasons in the past several years is underway on Possession Bar and in the rest of Marine Area 9, according to Gary Krein, All Star Charters owner/skipper in Everett.

“The triangle — Possession, Double Bluff and Point No Point — had a good opener and have held up well since,” he said. “It’s been a much better fishery than we saw here a year ago,”

Saturday creel checks by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel at the Port of Everett ramp tallied 45 anglers in 24 boats with 22 chinook. By comparison, 45 anglers had seven chinook on the same day at the Washington Park ramp in Anacortes, and 27 anglers had 11 fish at the Ediz Hook Public Ramp in Port Angeles.

Possession is probably the most consistent producer right now, Krein said, particularly on a strong tide. On weaker tides, Point No Point and Double Bluff fish better. Pilot Point and Midchannel Bank are also good bets.

The Area 9 fisher stays open through April 15. Areas 8-1 and 8-2 remain open through April 30 with a daily limit of two hatchery chinook. Marine Area 10 (central Sound) closes this week.

Krein likes 3-inch or 31/2-inch Kingfisher Lite spoons in white or greens, such as Irish cream, Irish flag, or red racer, behind a Gibbs Moonglow flasher and 38 to 40 inches of 25-pound monofilament leader. He puts his gear near bottom in 90 to 150 feet of water, and he says good electronics will pick up individual fish, not necessarily around bait this time of year.

Blackmouth are running from just-legal 5-pounders up to about 10 pounds, with good numbers in the 8-pound range.

“Surprisingly, shakers haven’t been the problem we had anticipated,” Krein said.

But seals have. Lots of seals, taking taking lots of hooked salmon.

“They’ve really been pests,” Krein said, “to the point that we’ve had to move to a different area at times, in order to boat a fish or two.”

Areas 8-1 and 8-2 — Possession Sound and Saratoga Passage — haven’t shared in the early action to any degree, Krein said. A fish or two from south Hat Island, but nothing much from Onomac, Ole’s Hole or any of the other north-end prospects.


The winter hatchery steelhead season was pretty much a non-event, but recent catches (and releases) of wild-stock fish in the Forks-area streams have been pretty good at times. On the Bogachiel last week, 63 fishermen had released 13 wild steelhead, kept eight and released four hatchery fish. This included 12 bank anglers and 47 boat fishermen. On the Calawah, seven bank anglers kept two hatchery fish. On the Sol Duc, 46 fishermen, mostly boaters, kept one and released 33 wild fish, and kept one hatchery fish. The wild fish kept was illegal.

On the lower Hoh over the weekend, 122 anglers released 14 wild-stock steelhead, and kept 17 and released 11 hatchery fish.

Enough hatchery broodstock steelhead now have been taken in a couple of local rivers to enable biologists to reopen the pair, in whole or partially. The Fortson Hole section of the North Fork Stillaguamish opened last Friday and will remain open through Friday. The Cascade River, tributary to the Skagit at Marblemount, will reopen Saturday and remain open through Feb. 15.

And hey, steelheaders. When was the last time you saw a steelhead fishery disrupted by tumbleweeds? Yeah, tumbleweeds; Russian thistles. State biologist Paul Hoffarth reported that the weekend saw large numbers of the dead, dry, round shrubs coming down the river after strong winds last week and making things difficult for fishermen at the Ringold hatchery upriver from the Tri-Cities. Fishing has been slow, tumbleweeds or not, Hoffarth said.


Discussions are still ongoing between fish managers of Washington, Oregon and the feds about opening at least a limited sport smelt (eulachon) dipping season on the Cowlitz River this winter as a means of gathering catch-per-unit data on the fish, which were listed as a threatened species in May, 2010. Following the ESA listing, both Oregon and Washington enacted permanent rules prohibiting directed harvest of eulachon on the Columbia and its tributaries. Commercial fishing closed permanently on Dec. 1, 2010, and recreational fishing on Jan. 1, 2011.

Then, what was estimated as one of the strongest eulachon runs in 10 years surprised everyone when it showed up in 2013. This winter’s run may not mirror last year’s, but then again, it might. As of last week, smelt have been confirmed in the Cowlitz and also in the Grays.

Free classes

Cabela’s Tulalip Store offers three interesting upcoming free classes: Long Range Shooting; Beginning Decoy Carving; and Successful Chironomid Techniques for Stillwater Fly Fishing.

The shooting class will include equipment, types of rifles and scopes, calibers and ammunition, reading the wind, using a spotter and ballistics computer, and more. It’s scheduled for Feb. 1, 11 a.m. to noon. Please RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

The intro to decoy carving runs on Feb. 7, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., offering hands-on training in carving and painting a mallard drake working decoy. Participants must bring their own carving tools to class. Paint and wood are provided by the instructor for a minimal fee. Please contact instructor Kurt Benson directly with any questions at 425-231-6497. Space is limited to first 20, so RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

Learn how to successfully fish chironomids, an insect seldom used but which comprises 40 percent of a trout’s diet in still waters year-around. Jerry Buron’s Feb. 8 presentation from 2-3:30 p.m. will introduce chironomids as a food source, how to fish them, when to use them and finally, how to tie chironomid patterns. It will explore the fly fishing equipment used, and how to set up your gear to catch fish. RSVP by calling 360-474-4880.

Razor clams

State razor clam manager Dan Ayres in Montesano said the ongoing razor clam dig should produce improved results over the mid-January dig, because of better tides and flatter surf.

The remaining tides and open beaches are: Jan. 30, minus 1.4 feet at 6:11 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; Jan. 31, minus 1.4 feet at 6:55 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; Feb. 1, minus 1.0 feet at 7:38 p.m., at all beaches except Kalaloch; and Feb. 2, minus 0.5 feet at 8:20 p.m., at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.

San Juans blackmouth

Rosario Strait remains the hot spot in the islands, according to Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington. Blakely Island/Thatcher Pass is producing and Strawberry Bay also has held a lot of fish to 12 pounds or so. When tides are right, Eastern and Salmon banks have been good places to catch blackmouth in the eight- to 10-pound range. A few more fish, John said, are coming from Fidalgo Head and Lopez Flats, while Reef Point remains slow.

Bait behind a flasher is still the go-to setup, John said, or small lures such as the 3-inch Kingfisher, needlefish squid, or Brad’s mini cut-plugs.


Heritage High School Art Show

Article and Photos by Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

The students of Tulalip Heritage High School displayed their artistic achievements in various mediums at an art show at the school on January 29th.

Weslynn Jones Knit Cap

Weslynn Jones Knit Cap


Ariana  Hernandez Knit Cap

Ariana Hernandez Knit Cap


Heritage Student Beadwork

Heritage Student Beadwork



Beaded Retro Seahawks Madallion - Anthony Cooper

Beaded Retro Seahawks Madallion – Anthony Cooper



Seahawks Drawing

Seahawks Drawing