College Speech Contest Awards Scholarships

speech project1st Annual Scholarship encourages Native youth to showcase their speaking skills

 Press Release, Cut Bank Creek Press

Suquamish, WA [December 7, 2012] – Cut Bank Creek Press, a Native-owned publishing company, will award two $1500 college scholarships to the winners of its first speech contest titled “Speakin’ in Indian.”

Currently enrolled college students will upload 5-minute video entries to YouTube in response to one of two theses:

1)    “Native people and Tribes should expend substantial resources on the preservation/restoration of Native languages and make it a top priority because…”, or alternatively,

2)    “Native people and Tribes should not expend their limited resources on the preservation/ restoration of Native languages and make it a top priority because….”

One scholarship will be awarded for each argument – the best argument in favor of language preservation and the best argument against making language preservation a priority. Spokespeople for the contest are Dallas Goldtooth (Dakota and Dine), a renowned speaker and language preservation advocate, Mike LaFromboise (Blackfeet), Blackfoot language scholar and computer nerd, Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet), author of Don’t Know Much about Indians (but I wrote this book about us anyways), and Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa and Choctaw), a renowned visual artist and filmmaker. Dallas, Gyasi and Steven will also serve on the final panel of judges. Ross created the scholarship specifically to increase the amount of young Native people that feel confident speaking for themselves and for Native people. “It’s a very small step. Still, those that speak persuasively and passionately tend to be leaders within our communities. Native people are, and always have been, perfectly capable of speaking for ourselves, yet we haven’t had a formal pipeline to develop strong Native speakers and leaders. Now, of course we have some amazing and great Native leaders, but they succeeded through sheer will and without a formal mechanism to develop them. This scholarship is a start to creating a formal program because the leaders of today need to take the initiative to help mentor and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders.”

Contest rules will be announced on January 1, 2013. Submissions will be accepted from January 15 through February 15, 2013 and will be reviewed from February 15 to April 1, 2013. Finalists will be announced the first week in April.

In late April, four finalists will be flown to Albuquerque to present their speeches, after which the two winners will be selected. Finally, scholarships will awarded at the beginning of the ’13-’14 academic year.

Speakin’ in Indian is presented in partnership with Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre, a progressive 20-year-old Seattle non-profit engaging Native youth in creative self-expression and critical discussions about the issues affecting their lives.

Interior Launches Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations to Manage $1.9 Billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund

Implementation plan to help unlock lands for tribal economic development, self-governance purposes; initial plan emphasizes tribal consultation, flexibility as keys to success

 Press Release, U.S. Department of the Interior,

WASHINGTON D.C. –The Department of the Interior today announced the initial framework of the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations that will purchase fractional interests in American Indian trust lands from willing sellers, enabling tribal governments to use the consolidated parcels for the benefit of their communities.

The initial implementation plan, based on consultation with tribes, outlines how Interior will carry out the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided a $1.9 billion fund to purchase the fractionated interests in trust or restricted land, at fair market value, within a 10 year period. These acquired interests will remain in trust or restricted status through transfer to tribes.

“Freeing up fractionated lands for the benefit of tribal nations will increase the number of acres in tribal land bases, stimulate economic development and promote tribal sovereignty and self-determination,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes. “This initial plan will guide this landmark effort, and we will continually update the plan to reflect lessons learned and tribal input. We know that success will only happen with the leadership of tribes, and we look forward to working through our nation-to nation relationship to implement the important initiative.”

As outlined in a Secretarial Order also announced today, the organizational structure for the Buy-Back Program will consist of a core group in the Office of the Secretary to provide management and performance expertise under the supervision of a Program Manager. The program relies on the extensive expertise and services within Interior, primarily in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians, to implement the operational aspects, including valuations and acquisitions.

To ensure high-level accountability, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has established an oversight board, which includes the Deputy Secretary, Solicitor, Director of the Bureau Indian Affairs and the Special Trustee for American Indians.

Fractionation of Indian lands stems primarily from the General Allotment Act of 1887 which allotted tribal lands to individual tribal members, often in 80 or 160-acre parcels. The lands have been handed down to heirs over successive generations, causing the number of shared interests in one parcel to grow exponentially. Currently, more than 92,000 tracts of land held in trust for American Indians contain 2.9 million fractional interests.

When tracts have so many co-owners, it is often difficult and impractical to obtain the required approvals to lease or otherwise use the lands. As a result, highly-fractionated tracts lie idle, unable to be used for any economical or beneficial purpose or for direct use by tribal communities for their members.

“This program is our chance to begin to solve a fractionation problem that has plagued Indian Country for decades,” said Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. “Tribal leadership and community participation are the cornerstones of this program, and we look forward to extensive communication and continuing consultation with Indian Country as we move forward.”

The plan will use a flexible, adaptive management approach to make continuing improvements based on tribal feedback, lessons learned, and best practices. To unlock the beneficial use of the land and facilitate economic development, the proposed acquisition strategy will prioritize the consolidation of the most highly fractioned tracts of land and will structure acquisitions to maximize the number of tracts in which the tribe gains a controlling ownership interest. To achieve this goal, the Program will target fractionated tracts that are most amenable to cost-efficient valuation techniques.

The Buy-Back Program will be structured to allow as much opportunity for tribal participation and assistance as practical, including consulting with Indian tribes to identify acquisition priorities. The program will actively report progress and communicate with tribal communities throughout the life of the initiative.

Interior has been working on land consolidation efforts since the program was authorized by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, but could not officially implement the program until the settlement was considered final on Nov. 24, 2012 after appeals were exhausted through the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Now that the Cobell Settlement is final, we are eager to connect with American Indian individuals and tribal leaders across Indian Country about the opportunities the program has to offer,” said Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins. “We urge tribal leaders to participate in the consultation processes outlined in the initial implementation plan, including the upcoming consultation sessions.”

As part of the Interior’s continuing dialogue with tribal nations, Interior will host three consultation sessions early next year to discuss the Initial Implementation Plan and receive tribal feedback — on Jan. 31 in Minneapolis, MN; on Feb. 6 in Rapid City, SD; and on Feb. 14 in Seattle, WA.

The Initial Implementation Plan reflects the comments received from tribal consultation sessions in the summer and fall of 2011 and the draft Implementation Plan released in January, 2012. The plan outlines the initial goals and priorities of the program, summarizes key parameters and operational concepts, and outlines ways in which tribes can participate in the Buy-Back Program through cooperative agreements. The Initial Implementation Plan is available for public comment for 75 days.

Interior holds about 56 million acres in trust for American Indians. More than 10 million acres are held for individual American Indians and nearly 46 million acres are held for Indian tribes. The department holds this land in more than 200,000 tracts, of which approximately 92,000 contain fractional ownership interests subject to purchase by the Buy-Back Program.

For additional information on the Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations and to view the Initial Implementation Plan, please visit

For information about the individual class-action payments under the Cobell Settlement, please contact GCG, Inc. at 1-800-961-6109 or via email at

Heritage High School has GIS education day

Students observe exhibits setup for GIS day at Heritage High School
Students observe exhibits setup for GIS day at Heritage High School

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Communications Department

TULALIP, Washington – Heritage High School classrooms were set-up on the morning of December 13th, geared towards teaching students the many aspects of what a Geographic information system is and how to use it. GIS is  a system for storing and manipulating geographical information on computers. Throughout the day students rotated on thirty-minute classroom sessions which covered software, planning, surveying/ground penetrating radar, natural resources, trivia and geocaching, which is basically a world-wide scavenger hunt using GPS technology.  Students were given hands-on experience using a GPS outside and were able to navigate on-foot to set points through a GPS. GIS day was hosted by the Tulalip Data Services GIS team and Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources.

Selling Golden Eagle and other migratory bird parts

Submitted by Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Golden Eagle and Other Migratory Bird Parts

WASHINGTON – A Tuba City, Ariz., man pleaded guilty in federal court in Phoenix to illegally selling golden eagle and other migratory bird parts, a felony criminal offense, announced Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and John S. Leonardo, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.

According to the plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix yesterday, in January 2008, Patrick Scott, 46, used the Internet to illegally offer to sell a golden eagle fan for $950.   An undercover law enforcement officer exchanged emails with Scott and ultimately agreed on a purchase price of $900.  In February 2008, a second undercover law enforcement officer went to Scott’s house and bought the golden eagle fan by making an initial payment of $550 and later deposited the remainder directly into Scott’s bank account in two installments.  Also according to the plea agreement, between July 2007 and February 2009, Scott sold, purchased, and/or offered to sell other migratory bird parts, from species including bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, golden eagle, crested caracara, anhinga and rough-legged hawk.

 Golden eagles and other migratory birds are protected by federal laws and regulations.  Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is unlawful to possess, offer to sell, sell, offer to purchase or purchase any migratory bird or migratory bird part, or any product that consists, or is composed in whole or part, of any such bird or bird part.  It is a federal enforcement priority to prosecute those who violate federal laws by engaging in commercial activities involving federally protected bird feathers or other bird parts.  The objective of these enforcement efforts is to reduce and eliminate the unlawful taking of federally protected birds by prosecuting not only individuals who kill protected birds but also individuals who seek to profit from the commercialization of federally protected birds or their feathers or other parts.  This helps to ensure that golden eagle and other bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate the commercial exploitation of federally protected birds, which are important not only as protected species but also as sacred elements of the religious and cultural traditions of many Native Americans,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “This is why the department recently published a policy to clarify that while the possession and use of migratory bird feathers and other bird parts is permissible for religious or cultural purposes by members of federally recognized tribes, it remains illegal to buy, sell, or trade in them for compensation.”

Klallam language dictionary now available

By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

The Klallam native language was nearly lost until it was preserved in a Dictionary by linguist Timothy Montler of the University of North Texas. In 1978 Montler began studying and documenting the native language when he was a student until 1991 when he began to record the language on his own.

Montler worked with elders in order to document and record the ancient language and created an alphabet that conveyed the unique sounds and pronunciations used. Elder Adeline Smith was the major contributor with a 12,000 words and sentences translated.

Basics of the Klallam language have been used in booklets guides and lessons which are used in schools of all age levels in the area and will now have the use of a dictionary to extend their knowledge of the native language. The families of Port Gamble S’Klallam and Tribal Government Department each received a copy.

Research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Documenting Endangered Languages Grant and the National Endowment for Humanities. The Dictionary was published by the University of Washington Press and is available for purchase for $85.

Montler will be book signing in Port Angeles during the month of January although no set date has been scheduled, please view Timothy Montler’s page for other project work and check out the  website for the S’Klallam language

Native American Gallery opens in Bellingham

Submitted by Kim Kalliber

Doralee Sanchez, a prominent artist from the Lummi Nation, opened her new gallery, Coast Salish Creations, in Bellingham, Washington this November. A center for Native arts education in the community, the gallery will not only feature Native American art from around the region, but will offer regular classes to nurture local artists.

Sanchez, who comes from a long line of Lummi artists, is thrilled to have opened her own gallery after years of showing her art at various shows, including selling at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Her gallery represents artists mainly from the Lummi and Nooksack Nations, but she hopes to add more art from other Northwest tribes.

Stop by to shop and view paintings, ornaments, cedar hats and baskets, dolls, drums, purses and other authentic handmade tribal art.

Coast Salish Creations is in the Bakerview Square Shopping Center, 424 W. Bakerview Rd., Suite 102 Bellingham, WA 98225. 360-922-7902.

Men’s Health Fair





By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

“It’s ideal,” said Tribal employee David Henson, “All men over 40 should come and get checked out.” Tulalip Health Clinic is hosting the Men’s Health Fair from 9am-3pm, today, Friday December 14th at the Tulalip Health Clinic. This year’s fair includes flu shots, information about keeping a healthy diets, tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and sustaining eye/dental health.

Snacks and refreshments are offered along with health screenings from Everest College to take blood pressure, height and weight while the Tulalip Health Clinic is offering free screenings for Diabetes, Prostate and Cholesterol.

The clinic will be closed during Health fair hours to patients seeking flu shots, Labs, X-rays and nurse visits but is open to patients with acute care.

Cantwell to Chair Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Press Release, Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today 

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is scheduled to become the first woman chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs when the new session of Congress begins in January.

The Senate Democratic Steering Committee and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put out the official word on December 12, also indicating that Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and newly-elected Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., would be joining the committee.

The plans are subject to full Democratic caucus and full Senate approval.

Cantwell will replace a retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who has led the committee for the past two years

“I look forward to continuing to fight to support Washington state job growth and economic opportunity, through my service on the Commerce, Energy, Finance, Indian Affairs, and Small Business Committees,” Cantwell said in a statement.

“I am honored to be selected to chair the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, following the tremendous leadership of Senator Akaka. I am proud of my work with Washington state tribes, on issues such as self-determination, education, health care and environmental issues including salmon restoration. I would be proud to serve as the first female chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.”

Indian observers were quick to praise the pick.

“She has about as strong a knowledge of Indian country and tribal sovereignty as anyone in the Senate,” said Navajo lawyer Chris Stearns, chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. “Her 2000 win over Indian fighter Slade Gorton was due to the Native vote, and she has never forgotten that. My guess is that Indian country will collectively shoot a hail of arrows into the sky if she takes the chair.”

Asked to compare Cantwell’s ability to lead the committee to that of Akaka, Stearns said: “Without taking anything away from Akaka’s 35-year legacy, Cantwell is a fighter, and she has already carved out a reputation as a tough critic and watchdog of both Wall Street and the energy industry. She was not afraid to take on Ted Stevens and Alaska delegation to block drilling in ANWR, incurring Stevens’ personal wrath and his unsuccessful attempt to open up Puget Sound to an armada of oil tankers. She has 29 tribes in her state with maybe a few more on the way.”

Stearns added that the planned line-up of the committee appears strong as well. “There is not a weak point at all in this line up—it’s all heavy hitters,” he said. “Everybody here is a pro and has deep ties and a background in Indian country.”

Holly Cook Macarro, a Red Lake tribal citizen and a lobbyist with tribal affairs firm Ietan, said Cantwell’s ascension has a “great feel” to it.

“Her defeat of Slade Gorton in 2000 signaled to the nation the power of the Native vote and motivated tribal nations across the country to similarly organize their communities,” Macarro said. “I am sure many tribal leaders are looking forward to joining forces with her leadership and advancing tribal issues in the new Congress.”

The full committee line-up follows:


Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii

Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Al Franken, D-Minn.

Mark Begich, D-Alaska

Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.