9th Annual Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium

Event Date:  July 10, 2014 – 8:00am – July 12, 2014 – 2:00pm

Since 2006, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) has honored the life and work of one of Indian Country’s most recognized and respected leaders by hosting the Annual Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium.


In his lifetime Deloria, a Sioux scholar, was an advocate for tribal sovereignty, Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians, a professor, an activist for social justice, a critic of western science and society, a champion of Indigenous values, and wrote nearly 25 books and 200 published articles.

The purpose of the symposium is celebrate and continue Deloria’s work by bringing together Native and non-native scholars, tribal elders, traditionalists, and others who are interested in honoring the causes Deloria devoted his life to, and building upon the foundation he and others helped build.

The symposium is organized as a series of intellectually driven panels – no workshop-type presentations. Individual presentations may be formal or informal, but in keeping with the spirit of Deloria, there will be no PowerPoint or other electronic presentations.

Bobby Bridger will be delivering the Vine Deloria, Jr. address at the 9th annual symposium. Past keynote speakers have included Billy Frank, Jr., Hank Adams, Oren Lyons, Suzan Shown Harjo, Tom Holms, and Hennrietta Mann.

Registration costs $150, which will cover continental breakfasts and lunches each day of the event and a celebratory salmon dinner.

Hotels fill up fast during the summer, so book your reservation soon. Small blocks have been reserved for symposium attendees at the Silver Reef Casino (five minutes from NWIC’s campus) and the Hampton Inn (ten minutes away). The Silver Reef can be reached at (360) 383-0777 and the Hampton Inn at (360) 676-7700. To receive a special rate, be sure to say you are with the Vine Deloria Symposium when you book.

For more information or to register, contact Angel Jefferson at (360) 392-4287 or ajefferson@nwic.edu.

Student built rain gardens are key to salmon recovery

Hanna Bridgham, Cassidy Forler and Tessa Rurup, students at Eatonville High School, inventory plants in a new raingarden built in a courtyard at their school.

Hanna Bridgham, Cassidy Forler and Tessa Rurup, students at Eatonville High School, inventory plants in a new raingarden built in a courtyard at their school.


Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Eatonville will keep its title as the “rain garden capital” because of some work being done by the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the Nisqually River Council. Working with local high school students, the tribe and the council are building six rain gardens in Eatonville this year, continuing several years of stormwater mitigation work in the community.

“If we don’t do something, growth in Eatonville will have a massive detrimental impact on salmon and water quality,” said David Troutt, natural resources director for the Nisqually Indian Tribe. “But, if we can handle the growth the right way, we can have salmon and a healthy community. Rain gardens are an important tool in making that happen.”

Dozens of rain gardens have already been built throughout Eatonville, giving the city the distinction of the highest density of rain gardens of any community in the country.

Rain gardens landscape amenities that are designed to capture and absorb polluted runoff from impervious surfaces, like roofs or parking lots. They reduce runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains causing pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater.

As a part of the project, the council’s Nisqually River Education Project is engaging local high school students in building and caring for the city’s growing collection of rain gardens. The education project is working with four students from Eatonville High School to design each new rain garden. Each student also participated in the tribe’s Stream Stewards training course this summer.

Poor stormwater management leads to high flows in the winter and low flows in the summer. The Mashel River, which runs through Eatonville, already is too low and too warm for fish.

Low flows in the Mashel typically occur just as adult chinook salmon are making their way back to spawn. “Adult salmon need cool, deep pools to rest as they swim upriver,” Troutt said.

“This kind of effort is what we’d like to see across the watershed and across the region,” Troutt said. “When we end up saving salmon and Puget Sound, it will be because we’ve found ways to handle the population growth that is going to come.”

Snoqualmie Tribe Sues to Recover copy.5M Investment in Fiji Casino

Indian Country Today


In mid-2011, the Snoqualmie Tribe was approached by Larry Claunch’s One Hundred Sands corporation to invest copy.5 million in the developer’s $290 million luxury resort and casino in Fiji. Plans called for a destination casino on Denarau Island, on the west coast of Fiji, and potentially building a second casino at Suva, on the southeast coast.

In February 2012, Larry Claunch on behalf of One Hundred Sands, Ltd. issued a promissory note that gauranteed it would repay the tribe copy.5 million, plus interest, by February 2, 2012. When the project was slow to start, the tribe pulled out of the deal with developer One Hundred Sands, which is headquartered in Fiji and has an exclusive 15-year gaming license to be the only casino operator in Fiji. One Hundred Sands finally broke ground on the Denarau Island resort earlier this month. The tribe has yet to be repaid.

On May 27, 2014, the Snoqualmie Tribe filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court in Washington State seeking to recover its copy.5 million, plus interest and other fees. The lawsuit names Larry Claunch and three of his business entities associated with the Fiji project as defendants.

“We have been trying for months to recover the copy.5 million without having to file suit,” said Carolyn Lubenau, the chairwoman of the Snoqualmie Tribal Council. “But no one responded to the Tribe’s demand. The Note is past due and must be repaid in full.”

Lubenau added, “Snoqualmie Tribal Council’s primary job is to protect the welfare of the Tribe and the Snoqualmie people. Our goal with this lawsuit is to recover the money that was loaned to Mr. Claunch for Fiji so that it can be used to benefit our Tribal members here at home.”

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe is a federally recognized tribe in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The Tribe owns and operates the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/30/snoqualmie-tribe-sues-recover-15m-investment-fiji-casino-155081

Tribal Journeys to Bella Bella 2014

Source: First Nations in British Columbia


From Date: Sunday, July 13, 2014

To Date: Saturday, July 19, 2014

Location:  Journey to Bella Bella for Qatuwas II


Description: Following traditional protocol the Heiltsuk sent canoes to invite both the North and South coastal First Nations once again to Bella Bella for the Qatuwas “People gathering together”- Festival from July 13th – July 19th 2014. We expect over 100 canoes with over 1,000 pullers and about 5,000 visitors to join us for this important event.


Invitation to Bella Bella for Tribal Journey in 2014

Helitsuk hosted the Qatuwas Festival in Bella Bella in 1993, and have been actively involved in modern day canoe resurgence. The Heiltsuk leadership invite the canoe nations to once again journey to Bella Bella for Qatuwas II “people are coming together” in 2014. Our intent is to host the gathering in our new Bighouse.


Pulling Together

The ocean going canoe is our traditional mode of transportation. Participants in Tribal Journeys learn traditional ecological knowledge of weather and tides, gain respect for the ocean and its power, and work together as a team to build on individual strengths.

This year, Helitsuk youth had the opportunity to paddle to Neah Bay, Washigton. Helitsuk acknowledge the generosity of our hosts, the Makah Tribe. we also acknowledge our Hemas (traditional leaders) and elected leaders who endorsed the journey, and are thankful for the support of the community organizations.

The Heiltsuk Integrated Resources Management Department (HIRMD) is building capacity to achieve long term sustainability of not only natural resources, but also Heiltsuk human resources. HIRMD is working with QQS Projects Society and out youth on an engagement strategy related to science and culture, to ensure that youth are ready, willing and able to replace the HIRMD managers and staff over time. We plan to train coordinators and facilitators in planning processes, and employ youth to organize and participate in a canoe gathering in Bella Bella in 2014.

For decades the Hemas and elders have seen the need for a Bighouse in Bella Bella. Funds were raised to support some of the anticipated costs of construction and projects management. A team of supporters with the Kvai Projects Society are moving forward to realize the Bighouse goal.


The Journey Ahead

In the year ahead we will research and develop a strategic plan for Qatuwas II and the Bighouse project. We are interested in trade and barter to secure financial resources for project implementations.

The Heiltsuk territory still contains stands of old growth cedar. We would like to explore the idea of Nation to Nation protocols to allow us to share access to old growth cedar from Heiltsuk territory for canoes and ceremonial house logs, in exchange for financial resources to cover the costs of building the Heiltsuk Bighouse to host the 2014 Tribal Journeys. Another goal is to organize an intertribal exchange between the Heiltsuk and Washington State tribes to share information about governance, resources management, business and investment.

Please support Qatuwas 2014

We are a small community with limited resources, however, we are determined to make Qatuwas 2014 a success. We are seeking support from other First Nations, private and public donors.

Your support will allow us to organize this gathering with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers to take care of accommodation, transportation, food, sanitation needs, festival logistics, protocol planning, support for Big House construction, programming and communications.

We believe that bringing together youth and elders to celebrate our traditions and culture will strengthen us as a people and a community.

Qatuwas 2014 will let our youth experience the importance of the Glwa that connects us so much to our lands and seas. It fills our elders with pride to see our culture and traditions continue to live on through our young people.

The Heiltsuk Hemas (Hereditary Chiefs) and the Heiltsuk Tribal Council are proud to support Qatuwas 2014.


To discuss trade and barter possibilities contact:

Kathy Brown Email: canoe1993@gmail.com | Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Box 880, Bella Bella, BC, V0T 1Z0


The Bella Bella Big House – Heart of our Culture



Tribal Journeys to Bella Bella 2014

Fresh Columbia River Chinook Salmon! Tribes Open Sale Memorial Day Weekend

Courtesy Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish CommissionFresh-caught fish for sale on the Columbia River

Courtesy Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Fresh-caught fish for sale on the Columbia River

Indian Country Today

For Memorial Day weekend, leaders from the Umatilla, Yakama, Warm Springs and Nez Perce tribes opened a two-night commercial gillnet fishery that will bring ample amounts of fresh spring chinook to the salmon-loving public. The latest fishery comes on the heels of an above average spring chinook run which should reach 224,000 returning adults. This spring’s commercial fishery will be the largest in the last four years.

“The tribes are just one the many communities benefiting from this year’s spring chinook run,” said Paul Lumley, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s executive director. “For the first time in four years, we are thrilled to share the coveted spring chinook salmon with our loyal customers that appreciate fresh and locally-caught fish.”

A tribal fisher checks his nets along the Columbia River. (Courtesy Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission)
A tribal fisher checks his nets along the Columbia River. (Courtesy Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission)


Indian fishers may be found selling fish at a number of locations along the river including Marine Park at Cascade Locks, Lone Pine at The Dalles, and the boat launch near Roosevelt, Washington as well as other locations. Commercial sales will not occur on Corps of Engineers property at Bonneville Dam. Information on where the day’s catch is being sold is available by calling Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s salmon marketing program at (888) 289-1855 or visiting the salmon marketing website http://www.critfc.org/harvest. Price is determined at the point of sale and sales are cash only.

The tribal fishery is protected by treaties made with the federal government in 1855, where the right to fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places in the Columbia River basin was reserved. The tribal treaty right extends beyond ceremonial and subsistence fisheries to commercial sales. The Columbia River fisheries are adjusted throughout the season in accordance with management agreements and observed returns.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/25/fresh-columbia-river-chinook-salmon-tribes-open-sale-memorial-day-weekend-155023

Grain Car Derailment Could Have Been Oil: Quinault Raise Alarm Again

KXRO: If this grain were oil…. The third train-car derailment in as many weeks has Pacific Northwest tribes that oppose oil-rail transport on edge.

: If this grain were oil…. The third train-car derailment in as many weeks has Pacific Northwest tribes that oppose oil-rail transport on edge.


Indian Country Today


It has happened again, this time not with oil but with grain.

However, the Quinault Nation pointed out on May 16, the derailment of a grain train in Grays Harbor County is all the affirmation needed to show that transporting something more hazardous, namely oil, in this manner has too much chance of ending badly.

“Another train derailment in Grays Harbor County? Three in three weeks? Rails ripped up, Cars tipped over. Cargo spilled out,” said Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp in a statement. “That cargo may have been grain this morning, but it might just as well have been oil, and that would have been disastrous.”

Sharp was alluding to a May 15 incident in which seven cars carrying grain tipped over when 11 cars on the train they were part of derailed. It was the third such occurrence in as many weeks on the network of tracks operated by Puget Sound & Pacific Railway in the Grays Harbor area, the Quinault statement said. This came right on the heels of two earlier derailments—one on April 29, when a grain car tipped over in Aberdeen, and another on May 9 in east Aberdeen, when some cars came off their tracks, the Quinault said.

The cargo was different, but the propensity of train cars to derail no matter what they were carrying says that transporting oil via this method is not safe, the Quinault said. Around the country and in Canada, derailments of trains bearing crude oil, much of it from oil sands and deemed especially flammable, have resulted in destruction and even death.

RELATED: Exploded Quebec Oil Train Was Bringing Crude From North Dakota’s Bakken to New Brunswick Refineries

Lynchburg Oil Train Explosion Refuels Rail-Terminal Opposition in Northwest

However, Puget Sound & Pacific Railway, a division of Genessee & Wyoming, said it was investigating the cause of the derailment.

“This series of minor derailments is a highly unusual, unacceptable occurrence and subject to a rigorous investigation,” company spokesperson Michael Williams, Genesee & Wyoming, told radio station KXRO on May 16. “The first two derailments were caused by localized failure of railroad ties that were saturated with moisture from recent heavy rains. Other locations experiencing this issue have been identified and are being corrected prior to receiving another train. The cause of yesterday’s derailment is still being determined.”

Several tribes in the Northwest are opposing railroad terminals in or near their territory that would handle oil and coal. Oil traffic in particular has troubled the Quinault.

“Now, one-two-three, it’s as easy as that. Any argument in favor of bringing Big Oil into our region has been knocked out cold,” said Sharp in the statement. “As we have consistently stated, our people and our treaty-protected natural resources are jeopardized by these oil shipments. This danger is real. We have invested millions of dollars to protect and restore the ecological integrity of our region, and we will not allow Big Oil to destroy it.”


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/19/grain-car-derailment-could-have-been-oil-quinault-raise-alarm-again-154940

Free days at Washington State Parks during June

Monica Brown, Tulalip News

This June, Washington State Parks (WSP) will be hosting three “free days”, June 7, 8 and 14th and will not require payment for day-use. In honor of National Trails Day and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  Free Fishing Weekend, June 7th and 8th and National Get Outdoors Day on June 14th will all be “free days”. Some nearby popular WSP include Deception Pass, Mount Pilchuck, Fort Casey, Birch Bay and Larrabee State Parks.

All WSP’s “free days” apply only to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities). A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington state departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife.

Discover Pass and Day-use

$30 annual Discover Pass and $10 day pass’s can be purchased at a license dealer, by phone or online. *transaction fees do apply.

Fort Casey State ParkPicture source:Washington State Parks

Fort Casey State Park
Picture source:
Washington State Parks


Snohomish County Parks

These “free days” do not apply to Snohomish County parks of which only some require a day-use or annual permit. For frequent users of Snohomish County Parks, they offer an annual permit pass that can be used at all county parks that charge a day-use fee (Flowing Lake Park, Kayak Point Park, Wyatt Park, and Wenberg Park).

Permits can be purchased for $7.00 at the Welcome Center Pay for day use, $70 for annual *transaction fees do apply. Purchases can be made online, at the Parks Administration office (Willis Tucker Park) and, in most cases, at the parks where day-use fees are required.

Willis Tucker ParkSource: Snohomish County Parks

Willis Tucker Park
Source: Snohomish County Parks


WSP Information Center
Ph: (360) 902-8844 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday)
E-mail: infocent@parks.wa.gov
Snohomish County Parks and Recreation information
6705 Puget Park Dr. Snohomish, WA 98296
Ph: (425) 388-6600

Highway 530 set to reopen this weekend

By Jerry Cornfield, The Herald

OSO — The damaged stretch of Highway 530 closed since the deadly March mudslide will reopen to traffic this weekend, state transportation officials said Thursday.

Exactly when it will open is to be announced today by the state Department of Transportation, whose leaders had predicted it would be mid-June before enough slide debris could be removed to enable safe travel by drivers.

When it reopens, the road will be a single lane and a pilot car will lead vehicles in each direction, as is done now on the parallel Seattle City Light access road that has served as a temporary route for the past month.

The March 22 mudslide killed 42 people and entombed a mile-long stretch of the highway under more than 100,000 cubic yards of debris. One person, Kris Regelbrugge, is still missing.

IMCO Construction of Ferndale received a $4.9 million contract to clear the debris in preparation for another contractor to repair and reconstruct damaged sections. The state might award a contract for that work as early as today.

In recent days, as IMCO workers removed more and more material, state transportation officials got a better sense of the extent of damage.

Most of the original road is intact, with slightly more than 500 feet actually missing, said WSDOT spokesman Travis Phelps on Thursday. That section will be lined with gravel and rock when the single-lane road is reopened, he said.

The state isn’t expected to restrict who can use the one-lane road.

Meanwhile, residents and community leaders plan to gather along the closed road Saturday morning for a moment of silence. Then they, with Gov. Jay Inslee and Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, will walk the road.

This will be one of the final events before cars and trucks are allowed to drive by the Steelhead Haven neighborhood wiped out in the disaster.

Pine Ridge: A broken system failing America’s most forgotten children

Students leave class and wait for the bus on the last day of classes at the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson, South Dakota.Photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum for MSNBC

Students leave class and wait for the bus on the last day of classes at the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson, South Dakota.
Photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum for MSNBC

By Trymaine Lee

05/29/14 MSNBC.com



MANDERSON, South Dakota — In almost any other context it would be a given, an expectation as simple as a dark cloud spitting rain. But when 12-year-old Carleigh Campbell tested proficient on the South Dakota achievement test last year, it was a rather astonishing feat.

Campbell is a student at a school where four students have attempted suicide this year alone. Roughly four out of five of her neighbors are unemployed and well over half live in deep poverty. About 70% of the students in her community will eventually drop out of school.

It’s against this backdrop that Carleigh met expectations on the state’s mandated exam, the only student out of about 150 in her school to do so. To state the obvious, Carleigh’s academic achievement is a bright spot in an epically dark place.

Carleigh is a Native American sixth grader at the Wounded Knee School located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where a well-documented plague of poverty and violence has festered since the Oglala Sioux were forced onto the reservation more than a century ago. There is virtually no infrastructure, few jobs and no major economic engines. Families are destabilized by substance abuse and want. Children often go hungry and adults die young.

These realities wash onto the schoolyards here with little runoff or relief, trapping generations of young people in hopelessness and despair.

“We’re in an urgent situation, an emergency state,” said Alice Phelps, principal at the Wounded Knee School. “But underneath all the baggage is intelligence, potential, and these children all have that.”

Few communities in America are as eager for a silver lining as the Lakota of the Pine Ridge reservation, situated on more than 2 million rambling acres, nudged up against the Black Hills and Badlands National Park. Nowhere is it more palpable than in the reservation’s schools, a jumble of public, private and federal systems that often overlap but rarely ever bolster the academic prospects of the most forgotten children in America.

Carleigh Campbell, 6th grader at Wounded Knee school. She was the only student of 150 students who tested proficient on last year’€™s state exams.Photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum for MSNBC

Carleigh Campbell, 6th grader at Wounded Knee school. She was the only student of 150 students who tested proficient on last year’€™s state exams.
Photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum for MSNBC

While the 565 Native American tribes recognized by the U.S. government enjoy sovereign status as separate nations, nearly all Indian education funding is tied up with federal strings. Unlike most public schools that rely largely on local tax money, there are virtually no private land owners on the reservations, so no taxpayers to tax. The government often pays as much as 60% of a reservation school’s budget compared to just 10% of the budget of a typical public school. When last year’s federal sequestration cuts kicked in, Indian country was hit first.

The government is starting to own up to its failures. In a startling new draft report released in April by the federal Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees 183 schools on 64 reservations in 23 states, the agency draws attention to its own inability to deliver a quality education to Native students. BIE-funded schools are chronically failing and “one of the lowest-performing set of schools in the country,” according to the report.

“BIE has never faced more urgent challenges,” the report said. “Each of these challenges has contributed to poor outcomes for BIE students.”

During the 2012-2013 school year, only one out of four BIE-funded schools met state-defined proficiency standards, and one out of three are under restructuring due to chronic academic failure, according to the report. BIE students performed lower on national assessment tests than every other major urban school district other than Detroit Public Schools, the report says.

BIE students also perform worse than American Indian students attending regular public schools. In 2011, 4th graders in the BIE scored 22 points lower in reading and 14 points lower in math on national proficiency tests than their Indian counterparts attending public schools.

BIE schools are typically located in some of the poorest, most geographically isolated regions of the country. Four of the five poorest counties in America are located on reservations. Shannon County, where Pine Ridge is located, is the second poorest with a per capita income of just $6,000-$8,000 a year. It’s also extremely difficult to attract quality teachers willing to relocate to remote outposts with limited quality housing and extreme quality of life issues.

052014-south-dakota_graduationThe BIE blames its failures on “an inconsistent commitment from political leadership,” institutional, budgetary and legal barriers as well as bureaucratic red tape among federal agencies. Those systemic issues have produced a disjointed system that has even clogged up the delivery of required materials, including textbooks.

The BIE has had 33 leaders in 35 years, making a chaotic system that has not operated efficiently for decades even worse.

Dr. Charles Roessel, director of the BIE, told msnbc that the agency is actively consulting with tribes across the country to identify ways the bureau can help tribes bolster the academic outcomes of their students. The draft report was the product of those consultations.

Some challenges are obvious. “How do you get a quality teaching staff at a very remote part of the country where you don’t have a city to support or you don’t have the infrastructure and the salaries are lower?” Roessel said, adding, “The greatest impact in a classroom is the teacher and we need to improve the quality of that instruction. And we have to do it with our hands tied behind our back and our feet tied together, too.”

Never Gave Up Sovereignty

Poor academic performance plagues American Indian students both on and off federal lands.

Even as other historically oppressed minority groups like African Americans and Hispanics have made steady academic progress over the last decade, achievement among American Indian youth has stalled. Huge spikes in black and Hispanic high school graduation rates have pushed the country’s overall graduation rate to an all-time high, while the rate for Native American students is trending in the opposite direction.

Compounding the poor academic outcomes is what advocates in Indian country describe as a history of broken treatises, lingering racism and chicanery.

While tribes operate some of the BIE schools, the funding comes with various restrictions and benchmarks. And in the case of traditional public schools that operate near reservations and have a large number Indian students, funding goes directly to states and does not provide culturally relevant Indian education.

“The central offices, they take their big cut out and they have everything, so by the time it gets to our children there’s very little money left and that’s one of the big problems,” Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said on a recent afternoon during a town-hall style meeting between tribal members and BIE officials. “We don’t have enough money for facilities. If we need to buy something, a furnace, something like that, we have to cut out a teacher. It’s that bad.”

The economic and political implications are worst in states with the largest populations of American Indians, including New Mexico, Montana, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

“There are challenging state and tribal dynamics. There’s history involved here and the reality of sometimes incompatible bureaucracies, the lack of capacity and understanding of one another and even alternative goals,” said William Mendoza, the executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. “The experience has been one of a history of tragedy where the effort, both real and perceived, was to assimilate American Indians.”

Continue reading article here.