Northwest Tribes Take Steps To Corral Growing Wild Horse Population

By Tom Banse, NW News Network

Growing populations of wild horses in the inland Northwest are creating headaches for federal land managers. Wild and feral horse herds overrun tribal lands in our region too.

A National Academy of Sciences review of federal wild horse management recommended greater use of birth control injections to control overpopulation. Horse lovers want to see that happen on tribal lands too.

University of Missouri biology professor Lori Eggert, who took part in the National Academy report, said “extensive and consistent” contraception can stabilize a horse population on a range.

“It is not over the short term going to take these horses down population wise,” Eggert said. “It will simply slow the growth. There may have to continue to be some gathers and removals from the range until these populations come down.”

Injecting wild mares with birth control on a regular schedule seemed impractical to the tribal range managers I heard from. Jason Smith of Warm Springs said his tribe does have a castration program. He said it castrates 100-150 wild stallions per year to help with population control.

The question of how to proceed in some ways boils down to different world views. People from animal advocacy groups describe wild horses as intelligent, magnificent creatures, symbols of the West and the embodiment of freedom on the open range. On the reservation, rodeo champion Smith said the horse is a “really respected animal,” but fits another category.

“Warm Springs has always considered the horse as their livestock,” he explained. “It is just like cattle is, livestock. We love our horses. They are our tool. They are our work force.”

Smith said he’s looking forward to the next wild horse inventory on the Warm Springs reservation next spring. He’s hoping to see a major decline in numbers from the 5,700 to 6,000 horses counted by an aerial survey in 2011.

Economics of tribal wild horse management

People with an interest in wild horse management also are keeping an eye on Congress. Members of Congress must soon decide whether to keep a de facto ban on domestic horse slaughter for human consumption. The 2014 federal budget signed by President Obama barred the U.S. Agriculture Department from spending money on necessary inspections of commercial horse slaughterhouses.

The last domestic horse processing facilities closed in 2007 after an earlier Congress withheld funding to provide inspections. That is why horses destined for slaughter are exported to Canada or Mexico.

Last year, the Warm Springs tribe and Yakama Nation joined a lawsuit in federal court in defense of the planned opening of a private slaughterhouse in New Mexico. In written testimony, Yakama Nation biologist James Stephenson described how high transportation costs have undermined the economics of tribal wild horse management.

“Before cessation of horse slaughter in the United States, members of the Yakama Nation could sell horses at a price of approximately $150 to $400 per animal. Now, if you can find a buyer, such horses are often sold for prices of $5 to $20 per head,” Stephenson wrote.

Wild horse advocacy groups are marshaling their arguments to prevent any resumption of domestic horse slaughter. In addition, sympathetic senators and representatives have proposed to go further and ban the transport and export of American horses to foreign slaughterhouses.

However, those measures have not advanced in a gridlocked Congress.

Meanwhile, a Prineville, Oregon-based nonprofit proposes to open a completely different type of facility from a slaughterhouse to take horses removed from tribal lands. Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition founder Gayle Hunt envisions a “horse gentling” program where prison inmates could break wild horses and train more of them to be suitable for adoption or sale as riding horses.

“Problem offenders within the community are actually rehabilitated at the same time they are rehabilitating the wild horses of Warm Springs,” Hunt said while describing her vision.

She credits the idea to a Nevada Department of Corrections program that uses inmates to saddle-train wild horses gathered by the Bureau of Land Management from public lands in Nevada and Oregon.

Marysville school shooting victim doing well after surgery


Associated Press


SEATTLE (AP) – One of the students wounded in last Friday’s shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School is doing well after undergoing surgery Thursday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The hospital says 14-year-old Nate Hatch had surgery to repair his jaw. He will need more surgeries to repair the damage. Hatch is listed in satisfactory condition.

Two other victims remain in critical condition: 15-year-old Andrew Fryberg is in intensive care at Harborview; 14-year-old Shaylee Chuckulnaskit remains in critical condition at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

Three students have died: 14-year-old Gia Soriano, 14-year-old Zoe Galasso, and the shooter, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg, who shot himself.

Truth of Marysville shooting will take time for investigators

Genna Martin / The HeraldPumpkins with the names of the victims and shooter of the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting carved into them sit along the south fence of the school, which has become a growing memorial. The shooter, Jaylen Freyberg, and victims Zoe Galasso and Gia Soriano have died. Andrew Freyberg and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit are in critical condition and Nate Hatch is in satisfactory condition.

Genna Martin / The Herald
Pumpkins with the names of the victims and shooter of the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting carved into them sit along the south fence of the school, which has become a growing memorial. The shooter, Jaylen Freyberg, and victims Zoe Galasso and Gia Soriano have died. Andrew Freyberg and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit are in critical condition and Nate Hatch is in satisfactory condition.


By Rikki King and Diana Hefley, The Herald

MARYSVILLE — Eventually, there will be some answers.

Hundreds of pages of investigative records will become public. They will reveal what detectives believe happened in the days and weeks leading up to the burst of violence Friday in a high school cafeteria.

Finding answers could take a year. It could take two.

As emotions and judgments pick up speed following Friday’s deadly shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School, the clock slows down for investigators.

Each witness. Each bullet fragment. Each text message.

The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, or SMART, the county-wide cadre of homicide investigators, is in charge of finding the truth.

The team was requested because of the scope and complexity of the investigation. Two Marysville detectives are part of that team.

Detectives owe it to the victims and their families to release only accurate information and to do the investigation the right way, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Wednesday. A large volume of information — unverified and frequently coming from anonymous sources — already is in circulation.

“We only want to release facts that have been verified through the investigative process,” Ireton said. “A tweet is not fact.”

Detectives have reasons for not revealing details before the investigation is complete.

“We have to protect the integrity of the case,” sheriff’s detective Brad Walvatne, a member of SMART, said Wednesday. “We don’t want to poison a witness’ memory. We want to know what they specifically know.”

Investigators are responsible for “weeding through the rumors to get to the actual facts,” he said.

That takes time.

Previous SMART investigations have shown a meticulous level of detail, pulling together witness interviews, footprint analysis, medication prescriptions, dental records, three-dimensional digital maps, ballistics, crime-scene log-in sheets and more.

Forensic test results alone can take months to come back from labs. Victims and witnesses may need to be interviewed more than once. The interviews will have to be transcribed and proofed. Detectives will have to detail how they were able to find evidence on a cellphone or computer.

“We’re not going to rush. We want to be thorough. We want to be fair and impartial,” Walvatne said.

That doesn’t change if a suspect is dead, he said.

“We could still find out why this happened if we can’t speak to the person who did it,” Walvatne said.

The homicide detective has been with the sheriff’s office for 15 years. He has been part of SMART since 2009. He’s been involved in complex investigations, such as the murder of a Monroe corrections officer which required interviewing dozens of inmates and corrections officers. The team also investigated the killing of six people in Skagit County, including a sheriff’s deputy.

Walvatne declined to discuss investigative details of the Marysville school shooting. Instead, he explained that in a complex case multiple detectives are put in charge of various aspects, such as crime scene processing and coordinating witness interviews.

The team has detectives who specialize in three-dimensional mapping, trajectory analysis, computer forensics and witness interviews. They share the workload and brief each other on what they uncover.

“There is nothing more important going on. The detectives need to be given the time and space to do it thoroughly and professionally, which is what they are doing now,” Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said.

Typically, the team is called in to run investigations into officer-involved shootings or in-custody deaths. Roe reviews the team’s cases.

Roe was part of a meeting Tuesday that involved dozens of investigators. They all are working on their own piece of the case.

“This is time-consuming, painstaking, detailed work,” Roe said. “They need to take the time to get the facts.”

Instant access to information and 24-hour news cycles have created an expectation for detectives to finish their case and make everything public right away, and that’s not possible, said John Turner, a retired police chief who served in Marysville in the late 1980s and early 2000s.

“There’s a reason police don’t disseminate all of the information,” said Turner, who also led departments in Snohomish and Mountlake Terrace. “There are valid, justifiable reasons for not doing it. Facts that are known to the police (but) are not known to the public help the police investigate, whether it’s interviewing, interrogation, polygraphs, all of that.”

In addition, this investigation adds a layer of cultural complexity, Turner said. The shooter and some of the victims are Tulalip tribal members.

Turner was a police chief in Snohomish in 2011 when a troubled 15-year-old student stabbed two Snohomish High School classmates. Both victims survived.

That investigation took months, and was complicated in part because police had to gather psychological reports and account for witness stories that changed over time.

In Seattle, police have had to investigate several mass shootings over the years, including one at Seattle Pacific University in June, said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, department spokesman. The SPU shooting is still an active investigation.

In general, violence in public settings generates more fear and concern, he said. People need answers they can rely upon.

“So there’s this added responsibility for us to really make sure that we take our time and ensure every possible lead is followed up, every last scrap of evidence is collected and gathered, and every last witness is tracked down and interviewed,” he said.

Roe on Wednesday said he hopes people use the time waiting for answers to supporting victims of Friday’s violence.

“This is the time to focus on what we should — the kids, the school, the community,” he said.

As of Wednesday, victims Andrew Fryberg, 15, and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, were in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head. Nate Hatch, 14, who was shot in the jaw, was in satisfactory condition. Both boys are at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Shaylee is at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

Zoe Raine Galasso and Gia Soriano, both 14, were killed. A family funeral for Zoe is set for this weekend.

She is survived by her parents, Michael and Michelle, and brother, Rayden. Zoe was a loving girl, who “spread her happiness and delight in new experiences everywhere,” her obituary said.

A traditional two-day funeral for shooter Jaylen Fryberg, 15, will conclude with his burial today.


Honoring Nations Announces 2014 Awards in American Indian Tribal Governance


Swinomish stands with Harvard representatives for a group photo after being awarded at the 2014 NCAI Conference in Atlanta, GA. Photo courtesy Brian Cladoosby. #SalishSeaOilFree

Swinomish stands with Harvard representatives for a group photo after being awarded at the 2014 NCAI Conference in Atlanta, GA. Photo courtesy Brian Cladoosby. #SalishSeaOilFree



CAMBRIDGE, MASS, OCT 29 – From more than 60 applicants, six tribal governance programs have been selected as 2014 Awardees by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s Honoring Nations program. The Honoring Nations awards identify, celebrate, and share excellence in American Indian tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations is the principle that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, cultural, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian nations.

Calling them trailblazers, Chairman of the Honoring Nations Board of Governors Chief Oren Lyons (Onondaga) says, “the 2014 Honoring Nations awardees look down the long road and don’t get lost in the demands of the moment. They are about our future, and the children coming, and the responsibilities of all leaders to their nations.”

Administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School, Honoring Nations is a member of a worldwide family of “governmental best practices” awards programs that share a commitment to the core idea that government can be improved through the identification and dissemination of examples of effective solutions to common governmental concerns. At each stage of the selection process, applications are evaluated on the criteria of effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, cultural relevance, transferability, and sustainability. Since its inception in 1998, 118 tribal government programs and three All-Stars programs have been recognized from more than 80 tribal nations.

Honoring Nation’s Program Director Megan Minoka Hill (Oneida Nation WI) states, “Honoring Nations shines a light on success in Indian Country to share valuable lessons that all local governments, Native and non-Native, can learn from to better serve their citizens.”

Presentations and dissemination of the work of the 2014 awardees will include exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution, a web platform through Google Cultural Institutes, written and video reports and case studies, executive education curriculum, and national presentations.

The 2014 Honoring Nations awardees are:

  • The Lummi Nation’s Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank: A bank of tribal wetlands habitat set aside and preserved to sell as “credits” to offset the impact of on- and off-reservation development projects that impact wetlands habitat.
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Child Welfare Program: Tribal child welfare services provider that administers Social Security Act programs to provide culturally reflective programs and services and keeps S’Klallam children in S’Klallam homes.
  • Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo’s Owe’neh Bupingeh Rehabilitation Project: A complex project to rehabilitate and restore homes in the “Pueblo core” of the community, preserving the core’s 700+ year-old structures while modernizing homes for 29 families.
  • The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Potawatomi Leadership Program: A six-week summer internship program for college-student Potawatomi citizens to work in the tribal government offices and gain a more thorough knowledge of tribal organization, thereby increasing their capacity as future tribal leaders.
  • The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Role in the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE): A local collaborative association of tribal and municipal governments to increase efficiency and cooperation among agencies and governments in Scott County, Minnesota.
  • The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s Climate Change Initiative: A thorough initiative that incorporates assessment of current and forecast climate change impacts on the tribal community and resources, and a plan with tools for establishing mitigation strategies.

Moment of Silence, Healing Song Planned at Potlatch Fund Gala


By: Indian Country Today



TULALIP – Dana Arviso, Dine’, executive director of the philanthropic Potlatch Fund, made this announcement on October 27 about the upcoming Potlatch Fund gala at the Tulalip Hotel Resort Casino:

“After speaking with representatives from the Tulalip Tribes to offer our profound condolences and words of comfort, Potlatch Fund will move forward with holding our gala on Saturday, November 1. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tulalip Tribal community, Marysville community, Marysville-Pilchuck High School student body, and all the families impacted by this terrible tragedy.

“We will open the dinner portion of the gala with a moment of silence followed by a healing song to acknowledge the tragedy that has impacted the Tulalip and Marysville communities and offer a space for reflection and healing for all.”

The Tulalip and Marysville communities are grieving after the shooting on October 24 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. A student, Jaylen Ray Fryberg, 15, of Tulalip shot five classmates in the head before turning the handgun on himself. Fryberg and two other students died; three others — two of them his cousins — are being treated in area hospitals.

Fryberg was generally viewed as a happy and popular student-athlete, but his Twitter messages over the last couple of months indicate he was deeply troubled by personal crises.

Arviso added, “Our hearts go out to everyone affected and even though it’s difficult to hold our event amidst such tragedy, so much of our work that we do at Potlatch Fund is about investing in our Native youth and strengthening our communities.”

The Potlatch Fund raises money to support Native arts, community building, language preservation and education, and the Canoe Journey. In 2014, the Potlatch Fund awarded $242,220 in grants to individuals, organizations and Tribes in the Northwest.



Marysville high school prepares to reopen; some students ‘fearful”

At right, Elijah McGourty, 15, and his sister Kylah, 16, hug their mother, Mary McGourty, at 10:39 AM, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 as they stand at a growing memorial on a fence around Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

At right, Elijah McGourty, 15, and his sister Kylah, 16, hug their mother, Mary McGourty, at 10:39 AM, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 as they stand at a growing memorial on a fence around Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


By Associated Press and KOMO Staff

MARYSVILLE, Wash. – Classes resume Monday at Marysville-Pilchuck High School for 1,200 students and their teachers and administrators who have been planning for a new routine after last Friday’s deadly shooting.

But some students and their parents remain fearful of returning to class due to continuing threats.

Superintendent Becky Berg spoke to parents Tuesday night at the high school about the reopening plans. She says they will not reopen the cafeteria where the shooting took place.

The shooting left three dead, including the shooter, Jaylen Fryberg. Three students remain in hospitals, two in critical condition.

The Tulalip Indian tribes, of which Fryberg was a member, released a statement Wednesday denouncing his “horrific actions” and saying they were the “acts of an individual, not a family, not a tribe”

The tribe’s statement also said some Marysville schools had received threats since the shootings, and that some of those threats “have been directed at Native children.”

“Many of our kids are fearful to return to school, and some parents are reluctant to send them,” the statement said. “As we grieve our losses and pray for the recovery of the injured, the Tulalip Tribes continue to work with our neighbors in the Marysville community in continued unity.”

The tribe said it would continue to support Jaylen Fryberg’s family.

“It is our custom to come together in times of grief. The tribe holds up our people who are struggling through times of loss. We are supporting the family of Jaylen Fryberg in their time of loss, but that does not mean we condone his actions,” the statement said.

Defeathering Halloween: 3 things to keep in mind about headdresses

By Rosanna Deerchild, CBC News, Canada

Halloween is just around the corner.

I mostly love this celebration. I get to dress my kids up in crazy costumes and raid their Halloween candy as part of my ten per cent mommy tax.

I say ‘mostly’ because there is one aspect of Halloween that I do not love. That is passing by the rows of Indian Princess/Stoic Warrior headdress get-ups that pop up every year.

Seriously, why is this still a thing? I mean costumes are something you put on. Culture is not.

And while we are seeing the headdress being banned from music festivals, it still shows up every Halloween through DIY sites and costume shops.


Native headdress costumeA “Native American Headdress” is still an option at many Halloween costume shops. (CBC) 

So why should you not dress your little one up as an “Indian” or yourself for that matter?

Let’s de-feather the issue and take a naked look at the headdress. There are three things to know about the feather headdress.

1. Who wears them?
The headdress was sacred and still is to many indigenous cultures like the Plains Cree and the Lakota people.

2. How do you get one?
They were not just handed out willy nilly, you know.They have to be earned and gifted in ceremony. Only the most fearless leaders and warriors traditionally wore them. It is kind of a big deal.

3. Why is it important to First Nations cultures?
Again, because it is a sacred item. You don’t see people running around with yarmulkes or hijabs in colourful mockery trying to be trendy.

As the image of the stoic warrior and sexy Indian maiden became more prevalent in movies, advertising and pop culture, the more tarnished the headdress became. Until something that once symbolized accomplishment and position was merely a chicken feather hat to be worn as a costume, an accessory, a joke.

While we as a people try to regain the respect for the headdress, we must also still wrestle the image away from hipsters, celebrities, sports team owners and costume shops.

Throw away the war paint, use the feathers to stuff pillows and just say no to culture as a costume this Halloween. Your indigenous friends will thank you.

South Dakotans fight TransCanada on their own turf

Photo of crowd yesterday at hearing, posted on DRA’s Twitter feed

Photo of crowd yesterday at hearing, posted on DRA’s Twitter feed


By Sara Sullivan, Climate Connections

Pierre, SD – The fight to stop TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline can add one more state to its battleground: South Dakota. A powerful coalition of local allies intervened in the certification of the pipeline permit at the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, and the battle for the open US Senate seat in South Dakota could be decided by voters strongly opposed to Keystone XL.

Four tribal nations and a number of grassroots Native groups, each belonging to the Oceti Sakowin, have petitioned to intervene. Those tribes are the Cheyenne River, Rosebud, Standing Rock, and Yankton Sioux Tribes. Dakota Rural Action, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and several South Dakota landowners have also petitioned to intervene. This coalition, called No KXL Dakota, is comprised of tribal nations, non-profit organizations, individual tribal citizens and non-tribal landowners, each dedicated to the protection of Mother Earth and the natural resources of South Dakota.

TransCanada opposed the intervention of several applicants to party status, including the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utility Commission Office, both Native entities dealing with energy issues in South Dakota.

This high-profile pipeline battle has intensified with the South Dakota congressional race. Republican candidate Mike Rounds is the only candidate fully endorsing the pipeline, while Democratic opponent Rick Weiland has gained local support because of his opposition to Keystone XL and Independent Larry Pressler has also courted the Native vote.

Lewis Grassrope of Wiconi Un Tipi: “We are here to ensure that this committee [the PUC] hears our voice on this opposition to the pipeline or any pipeline through these lands.”

Joye Braun of Pte Ospaye Spirit Camp: “Pte Ospaye Spiritual Camp mission is stand in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the social evils that come with Big Oil, to educate the people about the KXL Pipeline, fracking, and the pollution that occurs with oil production. Pte Ospaye Spiritual Camp is located just outside of the Bridger Community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and 2.2 miles from where the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline proposes to go through. It is a hugely historic area known for centuries as a crossroads for Natives Peoples to travel through on their way to the Black Hills. It is ground zero for the Lakota people fighting this pipeline as it would have to pass through this area first to try and get to the other camps and Nebraska.”

No KXL Dakota allies have pledged to stand their ground and not back down in the now local battle over property, land, water, human trafficking, and treaty rights.

Marysville Pilchuck football team welcomed by Seahawks



By Associated Press and KOMO News


RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks welcomed the Marysville-Pilchuck High School football team to practice at their facility Tuesday following last week’s deadly shooting at the school.

Student Jaylen Fryberg opened fired at the school’s cafeteria on Friday, killing two students and injuring three others. Fryberg committed suicide.

Fryberg was a popular freshman who played football and was crowned homecoming royalty days before the shooting.

The Marysville-Pilchuck football team was scheduled to play against Oak Harbor high school in a district championship. After the shooting, Oak Harbor offered to take second place. On Monday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll invited both teams.

Carroll called Oak Harbor’s gesture “extraordinary,” adding “we wish that we could do something to ease the pain of all the people that have been troubled.”

Mike Colebrese, executive director of the WIAA, the governing body for all high school sports, says practicing at the VMAC, a professional football facility, does not violate any rules or regulations.

“There is no violation of association of rules and regulations, they’re simply practicing in a facility that the Seahawks are gracious enough to offer,” said Colbrese. “Out of every tragedy there has to be some healing, and part of that healing is making sure we are paying attention to the community and the kids and I think that’s the important part here.”

A Seahawks spokesperson says Oak Harbor will practice at their facility later this week. Both Marysville and Oak Harbor have playoff games this weekend.