First Nations ceremonial shaming rite targeted at federal government

An ancient First Nations ritual steeped in symbolism is going to take place in the nation’s capital this summer.


 by Carlito Pablo on Jun 25, 2014,, Vancouver BC


First Nations carver Beau Dick says a copper shield, like the one he holds, will be shattered in Ottawa in a symbolic gesture of anguish.Carlito Pablo

First Nations carver Beau Dick says a copper shield, like the one he holds, will be shattered in Ottawa in a symbolic gesture of anguish.
Carlito Pablo

A copper shield will be smashed on Parliament Hill, an act believed never to have been done before in Ottawa. Called copper cutting, the ceremonial shaming practice will evoke what many consider to be a broken relationship between the federal government and Canada’s aboriginal people.

“Our coppers are a symbol of justice, a symbol of truth, a symbol of balance,” according to Beau Dick, a renowned carver from Vancouver Island’s Namgis First Nation.

At his UBC studio, the resident artist in the department of art history, visual art, and theory explained that breaking copper constituted an insult in old times.

“It is banishment. It is an expression of extreme disappointment and anguish,” Dick explained to the Georgia Straight.

The ritual, indigenous to Natives of the Pacific Northwest, had not been practised for decades until the 59-year-old artist revived it last year.

After marching for a week from the northern tip of Vancouver Island with relatives and supporters, Dick shattered a copper shield in front of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on February 10, 2013.

During a gathering at UBC later last year to celebrate his artist residency, the idea was born to perform the ceremony in Ottawa. One of those present at that social event was Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw. Also a famous carver, Guujaaw is a former president of the Council of the Haida Nation.

When aboriginal representatives meet on Parliament Hill on July 27 for the shaming ceremony, it will be Haida copper that will be split.

“We’re facing a federal government here that has shown total disregard for the environment, for the wildlife, for the people of the coast, and we want to express that in the best way that we can and that’s in the breaking of the copper,” Guujaaw told the Straight in a phone interview.

Foremost among the grievances is Ottawa’s recent approval of Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline, a $7.9-billion project that has divided First Nations in B.C.

“It’s a one-show pony over there. They’re only interested in oil,” Guujaaw noted.

The Haida artist also mentioned cutbacks to Fisheries and Oceans Canada undermining the conservation of marine resources that many Native groups rely upon for food and cultural purposes. Guujaaw said he doesn’t expect anything to change on the part of the government anytime soon.

As to what aboriginal people want to put across to Ottawa, Guujaaw said: “The message will be the ceremony.”

In the past, copper was a marker of Native wealth and status, according to Eldon Yellowhorn, chair of SFU’s department of First Nations studies. When chiefs held a potlatch, the metal was given as a gift, said Yellowhorn, who hails from Alberta’s Piikani First Nation.

Although the planned breaking of copper may be symbolic, he noted that it’s indicative of Native sentiment about processes around projects such as oil pipelines. “Many of them feel that they haven’t been consulted,” Yellowhorn told the Straight by phone, “so I’m sure this is a way of illustrating to the government that they’re not pleased.”

Like broken metal, frayed relationships can be restored, but there should be amends, according to Dick. “There has to be atonement,” he said.

On Wednesday (July 2), Dick and Guujaaw will meet at the UBC First Nations House of Learning for ceremonies to kick-start a cross-country journey to Ottawa. Dick’s five-year-old grandson and an almost 90-year-old aunt are coming along.

“We as a First Nation group want to move forward together in unity with our fellow men to create a better world,” Dick said. “I think that this is where we start this notion of reconciliation and unity.”

Field Notes: a Visit to Lummi Nation’s Sacred Summit and the Protection of the Salish Sea

By Ana Chamgoulova, Summer Law Student Volunteer at West Coast Environmental Law, 25 June, 2014


The 10 day Water Festival hosted by The Lummi Nation of Washington State wrapped up on June 22nd. I had the opportunity to attend part of the festival, along with another law student volunteer and WCEL Staff Lawyer, Eugene Kung. The part we were present for was the Stommish Sacred Summit, which consisted of a day of presentations on the topic of Sacred Obligations, a talk by Winona LaDuke, and a rally against a proposed coal port in the Salish Sea. These events hold great relevance for the environmental movement and the fight against fossil fuel projects in Canada.



The Lummi are Coast Salish people, whose combined traditional territory stretches throughout the Pacific Northwest, from the northern limits of the Strait of Georgia through Puget Sound (together known as the Salish Sea), and covers present-day Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. The Lummi have close trade, cultural and family ties with Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueum, the Coast Salish First Nations that may be more familiar to the Canadian audience. The Oregon Treaty of 1846, which set the present-day Canada-USA boundary, determined their divergent courses of history. And yet, as my fellow law student volunteer Elizabeth Zarpa put it:

Their lineage and kinship with other Coast Salish nations stretches across international boundaries here in Canada. The struggles which they face against natural resource companies imposing pipelines, railways and tankers throughout their territories is similar to what other First Nations in Canada experience.

Stommish Sacred Summit

The Water Festival includes such events as a film festival, canoe races, a carnival and the Sacred Summit, and it is part of the cultural revitalization efforts by the Lummi Nation. The Sacred Summit in particular was organized in accordance with the Lummi traditional laws, opening with a prayer and selection of prominent community members to act as witnesses. I am personally always honoured and excited to attend such events, because of the palpable resilience and sacredness of Indigenous traditions. It helps that there is usually bannock being served.
The day’s events were held in a giant longhouse supported with massive cedar trunks, some of which have been carved into beautiful totem poles.


The day began with welcomings from elected council member Jay Julius and Hereditary Chief Tsilixw. Despite the two representing different sources of leadership, one from a Tribal Council established by the United States government and the other from a traditional system of governance, they both spoke about the sacred obligation to protect the environment in their traditional territory. To them, the environment is not something external to human life, but is the source of their livelihood. Lummi have survived and thrived off of salmon, clams, mussels and other seafood abundant throughout the Salish Sea since time immemorial.

Resource extraction projects would inevitably contaminate the coastal waters and the seafood and so they would threaten the very way of life of the Lummi. The idea of protecting the environment is not just rhetoric for them, but is a matter of survival and sacred duty. We also heard from Jewell James, who Environmental Law Alert readers may remember as the master carver and spiritual leader that gifted a totem pole to the Tsleil-Waututh as a symbol of solidarity among Coast Salish Nations opposing destructive fossil fuel projects.

The Canadian Connection

The cross-border links became even more obvious when the two Canadian guests spoke: Rueben George, the Sundance Chief of Tsleil-Waututh, and Eugene Kung, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law. Rueben spoke of the shared culture of the Lummi and Tsleil-Waututh. Despite the many years of being separated by an international border, their shared understanding of the responsibility for the environment persists. For the Tsleil-Waututh, the idea of sacred obligations to the environment found expression in the Sacred Trust Initiative, whose goal is stopping the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Their resistance was motivated by their experience with the existing pipeline, which has had four major leaks since 2005. Because of this and other industrial developments in the Burrard Inlet, it has been harder and harder for the Tsleil-Waututh to practice their traditional way of life. Rueben doesn’t want this to happen to the Lummi, and he encouraged them to keep up their fight against the local resource extraction projects.

Eugene then spoke more specifically about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion proposal, the flawed National Energy Board process, and the legal aspects of the resistance to this project. This Canadian project is important for the Lummi, because the tanker traffic, set to increase to 400 tankers a year, would cross their territory and threaten their water as well.

The environment transcends national borders, contaminants transcend national borders, just as the environmental movements and the Coast Salish culture should transcend national borders. Eugene also explained how strong indigenous laws can help the greater environmental movement through such legal tools as the duty to consult and accommodate where Aboriginal rights and title are involved.

Coal Port at Cherry Point

The Lummi are facing their own fossil fuel project: a proposal to build a deep-water marine terminal at Cherry Point, which would become North America’s largest coal port, exporting up to 54 million dry metric tons per year. The project got off to a rocky start with the Lummi Nation, when in 2011 the company behind the proposal failed to obtain government permits for some preliminary work but went ahead with it anyway and ended up disturbing an ancient burial site. Now, as the Sacred Trust Initiative reports, “The Lummi Nation is concerned not only about the destruction of their sacred sites, but also about the deterioration in air quality and contamination of water and soil as a result of fugitive coal dust dispersal. Shipping of coal could also have devastating impacts on fishing and fishing rights along the Washington coast.” The Lummi do have a strong legal case based on treaty fishing rights, so much so that the US Army Corps of Engineers considered denying permits for the proposal based solely on their opposition.

Getting Out of the Fossil Fuel Economy

The highlight of the Sacred Summit for me was a very inspiring talk by Winona LaDuke, an internationally renowned Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) activist. People from all over Whatcom County, Bellingham and Seattle joined us for her talk. Environmental work can sometimes feel like a game of whac-a-mole, with a new pipeline or coal mine or refinery being proposed every few months. We live in the fossil fuel age, from the car-friendly infrastructure of our cities to the policies and subsidies our governments use to promote an oil-based economy. Ms. LaDuke reminded us of the bigger picture, of the dangers posed by climate change, of the inevitable end to big oil. We should be aiming for a graceful transition instead of a catastrophic crash, and we should do it as soon as possible. Every pipeline that we stop should give our governments pause about their energy policies. Every renewable energy project and conservation measure will decrease our own dependence on fossil fuels.

The WCEL delegation at the end of a long day, left to right: Ana Chamgoulova, Elizabeth Zarpa and Eugene Kung

The evening wrapped up by calling forward the witnesses, who gave their reflections on the evening. Their job throughout the day was to make sure everything was done properly, and their reflections legitimized the event according to traditional Lummi law. I could feel the significance of following protocol and doing things property in this great longhouse, and how the Lummi drew strength from the thousands of years of history so they can continue to fulfill their sacred obligations.

West Coast Environmental Law has long been working within the Canadian legal system to advance and uphold indigenous laws to protect the environment. This trip gave me a more international perspective on our work and reminded me that there are a lot of people – Aboriginal and not – fighting for a better world. This Earth is of all of our home.

By Ana Chamgoulova, Summer Law Student Volunteer at West Coast Environmental Law

Capitalizing on Fear

by Jay Taber on June 30, 2014, Intercontinental Cry


Tea Party Terrorists, published 29 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes that in Whatcom County, Washington, “Wise Use ideology and anti-Indian rhetoric today — as the Tea Party and Wise Use hate entrepreneurs try to capitalize on fear over water rights and anxiety over economic salvation by the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal — again threaten to throw the region into turmoil.” Written shortly after the Anti-Indian Conference, promoted on KGMI radio by Tea Party leader Kris Halterman, and organized by anti-Indian activist Skip Richards, the concern about organized racism entering the electoral arena was a valid one.

Hate For Hire, published 27 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes a special report by Charles Tanner that includes revelation of a scheme by anti-Indian organizers at the conference to finance a hate campaign against the Lummi Nation, using funding by the consortium behind Gateway Pacific Terminal. While the Anti-Indian Strategy by KGMI to drum up resentment against Lummi Nation was a vital vehicle for promoting the hate campaign, it was the insertion of monies from the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium that would provide the fuel.

Anti-Indian Power, published 18 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes that the Anti-Indian Movement infrastructure of national umbrella organizations like Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) — the conference sponsor — is effective when paired with local anti-Indian groups. In Whatcom County, those groups include Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) and the Tea Party.

Coalgate: The Gateway Pacific Terminal Scandal, published 23 February 2014 at IC Magazine, notes that CERA celebrity Philip Brendale — speaking at the April 2013 conference — offered his non-profit to serve as a conduit for coal company monies, which in turn could be used for an attack on Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians that are opposing Gateway Pacific Terminal. As Brendale put it, this would enable them to, “take these tribes down.”

In August and September 2013, Tea Party leader and KGMI radio host Kris Halterman established the Save Whatcom and Whatcom First PACs with $149,000 from the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium. Further funds from the consortium for the Tea Party slate followed in November, after being laundered through the Washington Republican Party. In October and November 2013, Craig Cole was appointed by Gateway Pacific Terminal developer SSA Marine to lead Team Whatcom in supporting the Tea Party slate.

As noted in Hubris Syndrome, published 26 February 2014 at Public Good Project, Cole may actually believe there is a media conspiracy out to get him. If that is so, it is hard to say how reckless he might become.

The Politics of Land and Bigotry, published 14 February 2014 at IC Magazine, notes that “the Wall Street/Tea Party convergence is counting on intimidation and thuggery to maintain power and privileges based on wealth and race.” Unless moral authorities once again step forward to protect activists and journalists who support Coast Salish nations in their quest to save the Salish Sea, threats like Craig Cole’s will be emulated by the Tea Party and Christian Right.

Culture Bearers: 5 Carvers Who Kept Northwest Coast Carving Alive, Part 1

Richard Walker, Indian Country Today


From the late 1800s until 1934 in the U.S. and 1951 in Canada, the potlatch—the great system of celebration, honoring, witnessing, and wealth redistribution—was banned in an effort to kill indigenous cultural ways. Potlatch-related activities, such as carving, were banned. Authorities confiscated regalia. People who went to potlatches were arrested and jailed. And yet, the cultural ways survived.

Among those who defied the unjust laws of the time were the artists who continued to carve regalia masks, house posts, great totem poles, and sea- and ocean-going canoes. Here’s a list of some of the carvers and their artistic heirs whose legacy is a culture that is living and thriving. This list is by no means complete.

Charles Edenshaw, Haida (1839-1920) For three months this year, the National Gallery of Canada exhibited 80 objects created by Edenshaw, calling him “one of the most innovative artists working on the West Coast at the turn of the 20th century.”

He was in his mid-40s when Canada’s anti-potlatch laws were enacted, yet, according to the National Gallery, his “deep-seated belief in Haida traditions … gave him the agility and fortitude to thrive as a Haida artist during oppressive colonial rule.”

His works included bentwood boxes, masks, rattles, staffs and totem poles. He advanced gold and silver engraving in traditional formline design. He had, the gallery wrote, an “ability to animate Haida stories in his carving.” He was interested in new materials and visual ideas and, according to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, may have been the first Haida artist to work in silver and gold.

Edenshaw produced many commissioned works; major collections of his works are housed in museums in Chicago, New York, British Columbia, Quebec, and Oxford. His drawings were published in the anthropologist Franz Boas’s 1927 book, Primitive Art. And his work was first exhibited as “fine art” in 1927 by the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; the exhibit later travelled to the Musée du Jeu-de-Paume in Paris.


Chief John McCarty, Makah (c. 1850- unknown) McCarty, whose Makah name was Hishka, was a hereditary chief whose uncle signed the Treaty of Neah Bay in 1855. Hishka carved canoes used in whaling and sealing and “had a whaling canoe of his own,” said John McCarty, Hishka’s namesake and grandson. He said a sealing canoe carved by his grandfather still existed in the 1950s.

Hishka also created a large Thunderbird with moveable wings and beak, which was used to tell the story of how Thunderbird captured a whale for food. Hishka’s grandson and great-grandson made a similarly dramatic presentation when the Makah Nation hosted the 2010 Canoe Journey: they created a large whale with moveable fins, eyes and mouth. Singers sang a song to wake up the whale, its eyes opened, and dancers came out of the whale’s mouth.

Hishka’s descendants continue his legacy of service to the Makah Nation—his son, Jerry, served as chairman. His namesake grandson served as director of the Makah Whaling Commission and dances the chief’s song he inherited from his grandfather, and his great-grandson, Micah McCarty, served as Makah Nation chairman.


Micah McCarty continues his great-grandfather’s work on behalf of Makah’s culture and people. He’s served as chairman of the Makah Nation, and was a 2012 finalist for the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award. Ecotrust wrote that McCarty has strengthened “response to oil spills in coastal waters, has helped to protect tribal whaling rights, and has fostered strong connections between tribal and non-tribal governments.” (Ecotrust)
Micah McCarty continues his great-grandfather’s work on behalf of Makah’s culture and people. He’s served as chairman of the Makah Nation, and was a 2012 finalist for the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award. Ecotrust wrote that McCarty has strengthened “response to oil spills in coastal waters, has helped to protect tribal whaling rights, and has fostered strong connections between tribal and non-tribal governments.” (Ecotrust)


Charles Edwards, Samish (1866-1948) The Samish Indian Nation had “a reputation for its skilled craftsmen,” historian Bret Lunsford wrote in his book, Anacortes. To that reputation, Edwards contributed The Telegraph, a famous racing canoe carved circa 1905, now on display at a museum on nearby Whidbey Island; the Question Mark 2, a racing canoe carved in 1936 after the original Question Mark went into retirement (it now resides in Virginia); and a 60-foot pole in 1938 that depicted important cultural figures.

The 1938 pole was removed in 1981; the carved images were restored and are on display in the Swinomish Tribe’s social services building. Swinomish artist Kevin Paul carved a replica pole that was raised in 1989.

Edwards was also a leader and advocate for Native treaty rights. He represented the Samish before the U.S. Court of Claims in 1926 in Duwamish, et al Tribes of Indians v. United States. His son, Alfred, served as chairman of the Samish Indian Nation. A great-granddaughter, Barbara James, is treasurer and former vice chairwoman of the Swinomish Tribe.

William Shelton, Snohomish (1869-1938) At a time when his people were disallowed from speaking their language and practicing their customs, Shelton devoted his life to preserving and sharing the traditions of the Snohomish people through art, public presentations, and his book, The Story of the Totem Pole or Indian Legends, written at the Bureau of Indian Affair’s request. (The book was republished in 2010 by Kessinger Publishing, which specializes in rare, out-of-print books.)


Shelton’s works included a longhouse and a story pole on the Tulalip Reservation; a story pole commissioned by residents of the City of Everett; a 37-foot story pole for a park in Freeport, Illinois; and a story pole, requested by his state’s governor, for the state capitol grounds.

In 1931, he was a speaker at the dedication of a bronze and granite marker commemorating the 1855 signing of the Point Elliott Treaty; other speakers included a member of Congress and the governor.

Shelton passed away before his final pole was finished and the work was completed by other Tulalip carvers. There was some symbolism in that; historian Margaret Riddle wrote on that Shelton’s accomplishments “served as the bridge for following generations who found new ways to continue his work.”

William Shelton carves a story pole circa 1920. He wrote a book about totem poles and Native stories, and used his art to build bridges of understanding between Native and non-Native peoples. ( of History and Industry)
William Shelton carves a story pole circa 1920. He wrote a book about totem poles and Native stories, and used his art to build bridges of understanding between Native and non-Native peoples. ( of History and Industry)


Mungo Martin, Kwakwaka’wakw (1879-1962) Martin was raised in the potlatch tradition of the Kwakwaka’wakw and hosted the first public potlatch since his government’s potlatch ban of 1884. His career was long and prolific; he carved his first commissioned totem pole in Alert Bay around 1900.

In 1947, Martin was hired by the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia to restore and create replicas of sculptures, totem poles, masks and other ceremonial objects. Between 1952 and 1962, he created new and replica poles for Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. Among his monumental works: Wawadit’la, a Kwakwaka’wakw big house; a 160-foot totem pole that remained standing until 2000; and the Centennial Pole, presented to Queen Elizabeth to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of British Columbia. This pole stands in Windsor Great Park near London.

In his later years, Martin sang and recorded songs, and prepared novices for Kwakwaka’wakw ceremonies.

Martin’s descendants include some of the most accomplished Northwest Coast Native artists: Richard, Tony and Stanley Clifford Hunt are his grandsons; Shirley Hunt is a granddaughter; Jason and Trevor Hunt are great-grandsons.

Mungo Martin is one of the 20th century’s most distinguished Kwakwaka'wakw carvers. (Wikimedia)
Mungo Martin is one of the 20th century’s most distinguished Kwakwaka’wakw carvers. (Wikimedia)





Navajo Nation Makes Historic Agreement With DHHS to Handle its Tribal Foster Care

Courtesy Navajo NationOn June 27, Navajo Nation Presient Ben Shelly signs the Title IV-E funding agreement with the DHHS.

Courtesy Navajo Nation
On June 27, Navajo Nation Presient Ben Shelly signs the Title IV-E funding agreement with the DHHS.


Suzette Brewer, Indian Country Today


Window Rock, Arizona—On Friday, June 27, the Navajo Nation made an historic pact with the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services to execute a direct funding agreement through the Title IV-E program under the Social Security Act that will reimburse the tribe and its child welfare agencies for federally eligible foster care, adoptions and guardianships.

The reimbursements cover maintenance, including room and board; administration, including determination of Title IV-E eligibility, placement of the child, development of a case plan, and other administrative duties under the act; and short- and long-term training for the tribe, including child welfare agencies and court personnel. Title IV-E reimbursements are open-ended and are not a grant, according to the DHHS.

The Navajo Nation tribal jurisdiction covers three states: New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, but if a child was placed into state care, each of those states made the eligibility determination and placed the child. Meanwhile, the tribe’s social workers had to plead with each of the three states to return the child to the Navajo jurisdiction to be placed with one of its licensed foster homes. Additionally, the tribe only received funding from the state of New Mexico. Arizona and Utah did not provide Title IV-E reimbursements to the tribe.

Through this agreement with the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, however, the Navajo Nation will now make its own eligibility determinations and home placements within its jurisdictional borders in all three states and receive federal funding to assist the foster families to help in taking care of its own children. In qualifying for this direct funding agreement, the Navajo Nation is setting a national precedent for other tribes to follow.

RELATED: 5 Sioux Tribes Applied to Fund Their Own Foster Care Programs

“The Title IV-E is a model program for other Indian tribes throughout the United States,” said Sharon Begay-McCabe, director of the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services. “Because tribes have an input on how their program will be administered and [how to] incorporate their tribal culture into the plan.  Native Americans, including Navajo, believe that children should be raised within their immediate family or within their Indian tribe. The family bond Navajo is their matrilineal clan system and families can exercise these traditional customs by keeping the children in kinship and permanent placement.  Our children are the future leaders of our tribes and we must continue to hold them sacredly and keep them safe.”

Begay-McCabe, said that the tribe had been working since 2011 to qualify for the federal funding with a $300,000 planning grant. According to tribal officials, Title IV-E is an annual appropriation with specific eligibility requirements and fixed allowable costs for uses of funds. In fiscal year 2010, the direct funding provision was made available to Indian nations, tribal organizations and tribal consortia with approved plans to operate the program. The Navajo Nation is the first tribe to qualify for the funding.

“The Navajo Division of Social Services requested a one year extension and used its own resources to complete the Title IV-E plan, including the assistance from the Casey Family Foundation,” said Begay-McCabe. “Once the Title IV-E plan was submitted for approval, it took additional time to finally obtain the approval from DHS.”

In addition to the Casey Family Foundation, the tribe also partnered with the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, Division of Public Safety, Office of the Chief Prosecutor, Office of the Chief Public Defender, Department of Dine’ Education, Division of Health and the Office of the President and Vice President in getting the direct funding agreement approval.

“The Navajo Division of Social Services is the first tribal program in the country to administer the Title IV-E program,” said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. “I commend Sharon McCabe and her staff for making this possible. Our kids are important and we must do everything we can to protect them.”

Tribal officials said the program is set to go into effect on October 1, 2014. Until that time, the tribe’s Department of Family Services will begin trainings, which will include the Navajo Nation Courts and other tribal programs that will cover eligibility requirements for the children and families receiving Title IV-E and the requirements of language in the courts’ rulings.

Currently, the tribe only receives funding for six children, but the new program could impact up to 200 Navajo children currently in foster care, said Begay-McCabe.

“Title IV-E enhances tribal sovereignty, [because] the Navajo Nation will receive direct funding from the federal government,” said Begay-McCabe “Before, the Division had to work with the three states – Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – individually to receive Title IV-E. The Division had to follow the process of eligibility, which differs in each state and was not culturally sensitive. Now, the Division will administer the whole Title IV-E program for the tribe, [which] will keep our children safe, provide permanency, and incorporates Navajo culture that will enhance our tribal sovereignty.”



Breaking News – Climate Activists Blockade Oil Terminal, Demand Halt to Crude-By-Rail traffic in Pacific Northwest

By: Global Justice Ecology Project


PORTLAND–This morning, climate justice activists with Portland Rising Tide shut down the ArcLogistics crude oil terminal in Northwest Portland.

Portland resident Irene Majorie, 22, locked herself to a 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete that was placed on the railroad track leading into the facility. Train cars enter from a nearby yard to offload oil into 84 storage tanks, before it is piped onto oceangoing ships bound for West Coast refineries.

Majorie’s arm is locked to a piece of metal rebar embedded in the Attempts by law enforcement to move her and the barrel simultaneously would likely result in grave injury; likewise, any train traffic would threaten her life.



Irene Majorie this morning

“This is about stopping the oil trains,” said Majorie. “But beyond that, it is about an industry and an economic system that places the pursuit of profit before the lives and relationships of human beings seeking survival
and nourishment, and before the communities, ecosystems, and planet of which we are a part.”

Oil trains are coming under increasing scrutiny recently owing to their propensity to derail in fiery explosions. Portland Rising Tide, however, disputes the notion that an oil train is ever safe, since crude oil is only transported to be burned. Whatever the risk of explosion, the guaranteed result is a worsening of the climate crisis, which is already wreaking ecological havoc and claiming human lives.

US crude oil production has risen from ~5 million barrels per day in the late 2000s to ~7 million barrels per day currently. Increased extraction is North Dakota’s Bakken Shale has resulted in a dramatic rise in oil train traffic, with 250% more oil trains traveling Oregon rail lines in 2013 than in the previous year. Governor Kitzhaber has expressed “deep concern” about oil trains but thus far done nothing to stop them.

“Society should be engaged in a rapid, radical decline in fossil fuel use,” said David Bennett. “Instead, policymakers—even those who claim to understand the magnitude of the climate crisis—are forcing us to engage in an absurd conversation about creating ‘safe’ oil trains and building more fossil fuel infrastructure.”

The ArcLogistics terminal, which began operation in January, is one piece of infrastructure facilitating increased oil production. When ongoing construction is completed, the facility will have the capacity to transport 16,250 barrels of oil per day.

In April, Portland Rising Tide entered the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s offices in downtown Portland, issued termination letters to employees at their desks, and announced the formation of a new People’s Agency, which would carry out DEQ’s mandate free of corporate influence. This is the first enforcement action of the nascent agency.

“If our policymakers listened, we would demand an immediate halt to oil train traffic in Oregon and the closure of all crude oil terminals,” said Emma Gould. “Since they don’t, we’re halting oil trains ourselves.”


Activists at the

Activists at the ArcLogistics crude oil terminal in Northwest Portland today.


Could An Alliance Of Tribes And Farmers Solve Klamath’s Water Woes?

The Klamath Basin spans northern California and southern Oregon and has seen frequent water crises between the farming, ranching, tribal and environmental communities. | credit: Devan Schwartz

The Klamath Basin spans northern California and southern Oregon and has seen frequent water crises between the farming, ranching, tribal and environmental communities. | credit: Devan Schwartz


By Devan Schwartz, OPB

A second straight year of water shutoffs in the arid Klamath Basin is drying up ranchland and forcing many ranchers to sell their cattle early.

But the water woes have created an unlikely alliance that could lead to a historic solution.

Scott White is the Klamath Basin watermaster. He has the difficult task of telling ranchers to turn off the water they use for cattle and crops.

“It was probably one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do – it was a terrible feeling,” said White.

After decades of court wrangling, state water rights became enforceable in the Klamath Basin last year.

Klamath Basin Water Rights

This is how it plays out. Those with the oldest rights make a call to the state of Oregon for the amount of water they’re legally granted. Until those amounts are met, the watermaster shuts off so-called junior water users.

“It was extremely difficult when you’re driving up and down doing your follow-up and seeing all those fields dry up and folks aren’t out working the fields,” White said.

In drought years like last year and this year, that means a lot of spigots turned off, a lot of fields going dry.

So who are the senior water users? In the Klamath Basin, it’s two main parties: a group of farmers from a federal agricultural project and the Klamath Tribes.

When project farmers make a call, water is diverted from Upper Klamath Lake to fields of onions, potatoes, mint, horseradish and grains.

Tribal water rights are a different story. Their water is kept in tributaries to the lake rather than going to ranches. That extra water is meant to improve stream health for fishing and gathering on former tribal lands.

Don Gentry, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, says the long-term goal is restoring waterways for the return of salmon. Four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River have blocked salmon passage for nearly 100 years.

Don Gentry


“I’m always aware of the fact that we don’t have salmon up here anymore,” Genry said. “A number of our tribal members, elders, people that have gone on and aren’t with us here today, talk about the importance of those fisheries and where they caught the fish at.”

2001: A Bad Year In The Klamath Basin

In the flashpoint summer of 2001, the tribes and farmers were in strong opposition. The government kept water in the river system to support fish while project farmers saw their irrigation water shut off.

The bad blood ran deep — with threats of violence and antagonistic signs lining the highway.

For a long time, the tribes and farmers say they could barely sit down at the same table. Now they’re more united than ever.

Both groups support a bill that would remove the Klamath River dams, stabilize the basin’s water supplies and do wide-scale environmental restoration.

Gentry sees great upsides for the tribes. “We really believe that what we’ve built into this is going to help us immeasurably to restore our fish,” he said.

Greg Addington represents Klamath Project farmers. He says the bill would benefit many Klamath Basin stakeholders who joined an agreement to make it happen.

The Klamath Agreements

“This agreement doesn’t make more water,” Addington said. “What it does is it gives people more certainty. So, we’d be knowing early in the season what our amount of water is so that we would avoid involuntary shortages — and that’s really the big thing.”

Addington says the Klamath Tribes made the first move in their partnership. “They were the ones also that came to the table and said, ‘Look, there’s a better way — and a way to share water.’”

Many ranchers were holdouts. They hoped to be awarded the best water rights. When the tribes and the project farmers prevailed, the incentive to stay outside the tent evaporated.

Support for the legislation now includes a majority of those ranchers. So even in a drought year with widespread water shutoffs in the Klamath Basin, there’s hope for a solution.

An Unprecedented Environmental Solution?

Experts say that solution would have historical and ecological significance. This includes Michael Hughes, who directs the environmental sciences program at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Waterfowl at Klamath Lake. Credit: Flickr


“This has never happened in our country — and to my knowledge it hasn’t happened anywhere in the world,” Hughes said.

He argues that the Klamath Basin’s natural resource challenges are more complex than any in the nation’s history. That includes Chesapeake Bay, the Mississippi River Delta, the Colorado River, or even the Columbia River here in the Northwest.

“Each of them is overshadowed in some way or another by what’s happening in the Klamath,” he said.

No Easy Path For Solving Klamath’s Water Woes

Solving the Klamath Basin’s water woes would be a major accomplishment. And even with some momentum, it remains a difficult one.

A related bill was introduced in Congress in 2011, but it didn’t go anywhere. An updated, more economical version — still about a half billion dollars — is headed for a likely Senate vote this year. It carries support from all four of Oregon and California’s senators.

But the hurdle of a divided Congress remains a very real one. Some conservation groups say the bill doesn’t go far enough for parched wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin. And some ranchers are still fighting in court for better water rights.

In the meantime, watermaster Scott White will keep telling water users to turn off their spigots.

White says he wishes the situation was different — whether through a political solution or even a few more rainstorms.

“If I could put something on my wish-list, the next 10 years would be extremely wet,” White said. “I can’t remember the last time I got a phone call complaining about too much water.”

Fireworks laws meant to keep people safe on July 4

Sales of fireworks have already begun at Boom City on the Tulalip Reservation. Other fireworks stands will begin sales off the reservation starting June 28.— image credit: Brandon Adam

Sales of fireworks have already begun at Boom City on the Tulalip Reservation. Other fireworks stands will begin sales off the reservation starting June 28.
— image credit: Brandon Adam


By Kirk Boxleitner, Arlington Times

While Arlington and Marysville encourage citizens to celebrate the Fourth of July, the cities’ police officers and firefighters want to make sure those who use fireworks do so safely and legally.

Arlington allows fireworks to be sold from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, through Friday, July 4, whereas Marysville allows sales from noon to 11 p.m. on June 28 and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday, June 29, through July 4.

Marysville residents may discharge fireworks only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 4, while Arlington residents may discharge fireworks between 9 a.m. and midnight that day. Neither city allows residents to discharge fireworks any other day, outside of New Year’s, and both cities limit their legal fireworks to Class C, or “safe and sane” fireworks.

Native American reservations may sell fireworks that do not conform to those laws, but such fireworks must be detonated on reservation lands. The fireworks stands of “Boom City” on the Tulalip Tribal Reservation provide a lighting and detonation area on site for customers. Security personnel will monitor the area to ensure that children age 12 and younger have adults age 18 or older present.

Fireworks that are illegal off tribal lands include bottle rockets, skyrockets, missiles and firecrackers. M-80s and larger, as well as dynamite and any improvised, homemade or altered explosive devices, such as tennis balls, sparkler bombs or cherry bombs, are likewise illegal. Anyone who possesses or uses such illegal devices can expect to be charged with a felony.

State Fire Marshal Charles Duffy is reminding Washingtonians that the purchase of fireworks over the Internet is illegal. Fireworks must be purchased from a licensed retail fireworks stand during the legal sales period.

In its online list of tips to the public, the Arlington Fire Department noted that illegal fireworks are often unpackaged and wrapped in plain brown paper, and warned against purchasing any fireworks that are not in their original packages, or are in opened or damaged packages.

Marysville police are taking enforcement seriously. Up until two years ago, they mainly issued warnings to those caught with illegal fireworks. “Warnings weren’t effective in ending the activity,” Marysville Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said. “Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will be cited, and the fireworks will be confiscated.”

Under state law, possession or discharge of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail and a mandatory court appearance.

City Public Information Officer Doug Buell pointed out that Marysville police can issue criminal citations to violators or civil citations, the latter similar to a speeding ticket. Lamoureux explained that such civil infractions enable officers to spend more time on the streets responding to fireworks complaints, and less time processing paperwork.

He added that Marysville police plan to have more officers on duty during this year’s Fourth of July, and emphasized that the safety of individuals and property is of utmost concern. “We have seen too many instances elsewhere and over the years where celebrations quickly turned to tragedy for families, especially where children and teenagers are involved,” Lamoureux said.

Although Arlington Fire Deputy Chief Tom Cooper believes that Arlington police and fire personnel are more likely to try and educate those using illegal fireworks, he warned that they will likely be more proactive and visible in various neighborhoods that have experienced problems with fireworks before.

“As much as the Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday, there are more than a few veterans who have a hard time dealing with fireworks because of their experiences,” Cooper said. “If people limit their fireworks activities to the Fourth, it allows those folks, as well as those who own easily spooked pets, to make arrangements.”

Officials in both cities urge Fourth of July revelers to clean up their fireworks. “After you light it up, clean it up,” Buell said. “Discarded fireworks the days after the Fourth are a neighborhood and community eyesore, and smoldering fireworks can still pose a fire hazard if you don’t get rid of them properly.”

To dispose of spent fireworks properly, the Arlington Fire Department advises that people let their used fireworks lay on the ground until they are cool, and there is no chance that any residue will reignite, after which they should place all the expended firework cases in a bucket of water. Those who use fireworks should keep a bucket of water or a running water hose close by.

“We want people in our community to enjoy fireworks and the Fourth, but we want them to do so safely, which is why we’re encouraging them to attend public fireworks shows, like the one at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club,” Cooper said. “Those shows are professional, well-organized, safe and, at least in Arlington, free.”

Cooper cautioned against treating certain fireworks dismissively because of their size. “People tend to think that smaller fireworks are less dangerous,” Cooper said. “That’s how they get injured, from standing too close to those fireworks, or over them, or even by holding bottle rockets with their bare hands.”

Warrant issued for sex offender last seen locally





A felony arrest warrant has been issued for Kevin Scott Miller, a 45 year-old transient Level III sex offender who recently has been seen in Arlington and Marysville.

Miller is wanted for failure to register as a sex offender with Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office detectives. He is 6-foot tall, weighs 175 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information about Miller’s whereabouts is asked to call 911.

In 1995, Miller was accused of picking up a 14-year-old girl and attempting to strangle her with a rope and sexually assaulting her. In a second incident that year, he befriended an adult woman he met in a nightclub, took her into a secluded area, attempted to strangle her with a rope, and physically assaulted the woman.

Treat your dog to 8th Annual Marysville Poochapalooza July 12

Rescue dogs fashion show, wiener dog races, Flyball, contests and more!
MARYSVILLE – Marysville Dog Owners Group (M-DOG) invites you and your pooch to the 8th Annual Marysville Poochapalooza outdoor dog event 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 12 at Strawberry Fields Park, 6100 152nd St. NE in Marysville.
Snohomish County’s largest dog event has kept tails wagging with the Fashions and Rescues Runway Show, Running of the Wieners dachshund races, Flyball exhibitions, pie-eating and Best in Show contests to give dogs their moment to shine, event coordinators say. In addition, you can snoop for bargains among the dozens of pet-related vendors.
Poochapalooza is free, but a suggested minimum $5 donation per person is requested, with goodie-filled “wag bags” to the first 500 visitors. All proceeds support needs at Strawberry Fields for Rover Off-Leash Park, such as agility equipment, picnic tables and benches. The park is maintained year-round by M-DOG volunteers.  
Poochapalooza this year will again go high fashion with the popular Fashions and Rescues Runway Show, mixing country charm with urban chic. The show will feature adoptable dogs modeling the latest eye-catching fashions live on the catwalk…urr….dogwalk.
“This is one our favorite highlights at the event because we like helping pet adoption groups find loving homes for dogs,” says Leslie Buell, Poochapalooza founder and coordinator, and an owner of shelter adopted dogs for years.
Another favorite is the “Running of the Wieners” dachshund races. Watch as these low to the ground but high on energy pups show off their speed and cunning in races starting at 2 p.m., Buell says. The number of qualifier races will depend on how many dogs register, so make sure your dog is in the running! Day of event registration is $10 per dog to race. Top finishers will be invited to compete in wiener dog races at the halftime show of a Seattle Seahawks game at Century Link Field in the 2014 season.
Dogs with a hidden talent can enter fun “Best in Show” contests like Best Kisser, Best Voice, Wackiest Pet Trick, and Pooch Pie-Eating Contests. Contest donation cost is $5 for one contest, or $10 for unlimited contests (excluding the Pooch Pie-Eating Contest in big and small dog categories, which is $10.) Register at the event. Visit the Poochapalooza website at for forms and schedule. The pie-eating contests are sponsored and emceed by Dining Dog Café and Bakery of Edmonds and Owner Dorothy Moore. The fashion show is sponsored by Christy Bows LLC.
Among new events this year, DuTERRA Essential Oils and K9 Nosework will combine to provide a scent demonstration, at 1:30 p.m., and a Doggie Dessert Dash will occur at 3 p.m., courtesy of Pupcakes LLC.
Food and refreshments available for purchase. Parking is free.
For more information about Poochapalooza, contact Leslie Buell at (425) 268-5285, email, or visit the website at Like us on Facebook at