Makah Nation’s New Dock Bolsters Fishing Industry, Emergency Response

Wells Fargo Youtube captureMakah Nation’s new commercial fishing dock
Wells Fargo Youtube capture
Makah Nation’s new commercial fishing dock


Richard Walker, Indian Country Today

The Makah Nation’s new commercial fishing dock is 120 feet long, has two lanes, five offloading terminals, and an ice machine capable of holding 110 tons of ice, and is designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and a 15-foot tsunami wave.

“It’s going to be a huge plus to have all the catch come in at one dock,” dock manager Michael Lawrence said on the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission website. “We’ve invited a flotilla of boats to tie up at the new facility as part of the celebration.”

The Makah Nation celebrated the opening of the $3.8 million dock with a blessing and ribbon cutting on October 10. The old dock had become unstable, and the Nation expedited its replacement – obtaining permits, demolishing the old dock and completing the new dock in less than a year.

“It is estimated more than 50 percent of the Makah Nation relies on income from fishing in some way and the dock construction has meant not only some jobs during construction, but a lasting improvement to the community that will pay for itself rapidly,” the NWIFC website reported.

Makah contributed $10.5 million toward the project.

A $1.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant will assist with the second phase of the project: an oil spill prevention and response dock that will extend beyond the current structure. Emergency response is critical in this area, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean.

Every year, oil tankers, fuel barges and large commercial cargo, fish-processing and passenger vessels make about 3,000 transits into the Strait bound for Washington ports. From 1999-2014, an emergency tug stationed at Neah Bay assisted 49 ships either completely disabled or with reduced maneuvering ability.

Having a specific structure for the oil spill response vessels, including the emergency tug, will allow all the response vessels to be located in one place and will expedite their deployment, NWIFC reported. A crane on the completed dock is already allocated for industrial lifting to assist in oil spill equipment deployment.

“The crane can lift 10 tons and it was mostly with oil spill response in mind,” Lawrence said.



Tribal Fishing Rights Cases Hit the 9th Circuit

By June Williams, Courthouse News Service

SEATTLE (CN) – Native American tribes fighting over fishing rights in Washington asked the 9th Circuit to intervene in separate proceedings last week.
The cases stems from a 1974 injunction by U.S. District Judge George Hugo Bolt in U.S. v. Washington that affirmed certain tribal fishing rights the state had been denying.
Among numerous subproceedings, the Tulalip back in 2005 requested a permanent injunction to prevent the Suquamish from fishing in waters outside their usual and accustomed, or U & A, grounds, an area determined by the 9th Circuit in 1990. The Suquamish were accused in that case of fishing on the east side of Puget Sound, in violation of court order.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez last year clarified “the geographic scope” of the Suquamish fishing grounds in Bolt’s decision. He said Bolt “relied heavily” on the reports of anthropologist Dr. Barbara Lane, who testified about various tribes’ traditional fishing areas in the 1974 case.
Martinez said it was “nearly certain” Bolt intended to include Possession Sound and waters at the mouth of the Snohomish River in the Suquamish U & A.
“On the other hand, there is an absence of evidence in her [Lane’s] report regarding Suquamish fishing in the waters on the eastern side of Whidbey Island such as Skagit Bay, Saratoga Passage and its connecting bays Penn Cove and Holmes Harbor, and Port Susan,” the July 29, 2013, ruling says. “Therefore the court finds that Judge Boldt did not intend to include these areas in the Suquamish U&A.”
The Tulalip appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit. After a three-judge panel’s Aug. 8 hearing in the Tulalip dispute, it heard the appeal by the Quileute and Quinault tribes of a similar decision by favoring the Makah tribe.
The Makah filed their Bolt subproceeding in 2009 to determine the boundaries of U & A fishing areas for the Quileute and Quinault tribes. The Ho tribe opposed the Makah’s motion as an interested party. In the complaint, the Makah argued the tribes intend to harvest Pacific whiting outside their traditional fishing grounds, which would affect the Makah’s catch. Pacific whiting travel from south to north, so the Quileute and Quinault would harvest the fish before the Makah.
Martinez let the case to proceed to trial by granting the Makah partial summary judgment last year. The Quileute and Quinault objected, arguing they waived sovereign immunity in the 1974 case only for determining their fishing rights in Washington. They claimed the court did not have authority over waters outside the 3-mile limit from the shore.
Martinez found that “incorrect” on July 8, 2013, saying the court’s jurisdiction extends to all treaty-based fishing and not limited to Washington waters.
The Quinault and Quileute’s claims of sovereign immunity also failed.
“The tribes came to Court in 1970 asking the court to determine and enforce their treaty rights, and they subjected themselves to the court’s jurisdiction for all purposes relating to the exercise of their treaty rights,” he wrote. “The Quinault and Quileute objections to the Makah motion for partial summary judgment on jurisdiction are thus without merit.”
Ho intervened in the appeals by both tribes.
With the 9th Circuit hearing the Tulalip case first Wednesday, Mason Morisset, representing the Tulalip, said Judge Bolt never “called out the specific waters we’re dealing with here.”
The lower court erred in finding the Suquamish regularly fished the east side of Whidbey Island in the past, he added.
Although the Suquamish fishing grounds extended north to Canad’s Fraser River, the tribe “would have to go out of their way” to fish on eastern Whidbey Island, Morisset said.
“In this case, there’s no evidence that the Suquamish went out of their way,” he said.
Judge Consuelo Callahan asked Morisset about the findings by an anthropologist that the Suquamish “traveled widely in the Puget Sound area.”
Morisett said this was true of “all the tribes,” and “it’s not evidence to make a general statement.”
The Suquamish may have traveled to the eastern parts of Whidbey Island and done some fishing, “but that doesn’t rise to the level of a usual and accustomed fishing place,” the attorney added.
Though Morisset called it “very telling” that the Suquamish did not contest Judge Bolt’s definition of their territory for 30 years, Callahan said “that doesn’t negate that they may have a right to do it.”
Howard Arnett, representing the Suquamish, said the tribe regularly fished in East Puget Sound based on historical reports.
“The testimony is clear,” he said. “They went there often. They went there frequently and they fished along the way – enough to establish that the entire area is a U & A.”
The Quileute, Quinault and Ho tribes dispute the finding they waived sovereign immunity, their attorney, Lauren King, said. The tribes agreed to court determination of fishing rights only in Washington State waters, she added.
With Callahan asking why the court shouldn’t “rule here that if you’re in for a penny then you’re in for a pound,” King said it would contravene Supreme Court precedent. “The Supreme Court said if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a penny,” King said.
Callahan countered that “every single one” of the fishing rights cases involved interpretation of the same treaty.
King did not get far with her explanation that the tribes waived sovereign immunity only for one part of the treaty involving Washington fishing rights.
“If it involved all things in the treaty, we’d be here talking about hunting, about making war on other tribes,” King said.
But Callahan said the tribes’ approach seems to be “we waive sovereign immunity piece by piece until we don’t like what a court does.”
The Makah, represented by Marc Slonim, repeated their position that sovereign immunity was not an issue.
“Sovereign immunity is not a defense as to how an issue will get decided,” Slonim said.
He argued that the determination of the Quileute and Quinault traditional fishing grounds is “no different” from all of the other tribal determinations under the original U.S. v Washington case.
Callahan asked if the subject matter of this case was “inextricably linked” with U.S. v Washington.
“Absolutely,” Slonim replied.
The heart of the original case was the determination of usual and accustomed fishing grounds, the attorney added.
“You have to know where usual and accustomed fishing grounds are to adjudicate the treaty rights,” Slonim said. “The United States has said explicitly that the place these issues should be resolved is in U.S. v. Washington.”
Washington Assistant Attorney General Joseph Panesko also weighed in on the tribes
claim of sovereign immunity, saying it was “patently false” to claim the state has no regulatory authority over the waters in dispute.
He called the tribes “disingenuous” for claiming they never waived immunity over the waters. He said if they succeed in arguing Judge Bolt’s decision doesn’t affect the ocean waters, the state wouldn’t be bound by an injunction in the case.
“The state would be cleared to start regulating all tribal harvests of crab and a few other resources that the state does manage beyond the three mile line,” Panesko said. “The state could require regulatory permits, impose excise taxes on fish that tribal members bring in from beyond that 3-mile line – ”
Laughter broke out in the courtroom as Callahan translated.
“You’re saying be careful what you ask for,” she said.
Judges Jay Bybee and Richard Paez joined on the panel.

Deceased man who worked for Makah Nation called serial killer


Federal authorities say a deceased man killed several people 11 people, including five during his time as an employee of the Makah Nation of Washington.

Israel Keyes allegedly admitted to the murders while he was being held in Alaska for the death of a young woman there. The FBI needs help identifying the victims.

“We’ve exhausted all our investigative leads,” FBI spokesperson Eric Gonzalez told The Peninsula Daily News. The FBI posted information about Keyes in hopes of drawing new leads.

Keyes worked for the tribe from 2001 through 2007. The first murder was committed while he lived on the reservation in 2001, the FBI said.

Makah Police Chief Charles Irving previously told The Seattle Weekly that Keyes didn’t draw attention to himself. He reportedly lived with a woman who bore his child.

“He had no run-ins with the police,” Irving told the Weekly back in January. “A lot of people were surprised because he was pretty well liked here.”

The woman and the child still live on the reservation, The Peninsula Daily News reported. Keyes was known as a good father, tribal judge Emma Dulik said.

“He never seemed to cause any problems,” Dulik told the paper.

It wasn’t reported whether the woman or the child are tribal members. Of the three known victims, including the one in Alaska, none have been identified as American Indian or Alaska Native.

“Out of the respect for the family of Mr. Israel Keyes, the Makah tribe will not be making any formal comment to the media related to Mr. Keyes’ time spent in Neah Bay,” the tribal council said in a statement to the Daily News

Keyes killed himself in December 2012 while being held for the murder of an 18-year-old woman in Alaska.


Get the Story:
FBI releases taped interviews with Alaska serial killer indicating 5 victims in Wash state (AP 8/13)
SERIAL KILLER I: Israel Keyes history a shock to those who knew him in Neah Bay (The Peninsula Daily News 8/14)
SERIAL KILLER II: Murderer tied to five slayings while living in Neah Bay, including body in Lake Crescent (The Peninsula Daily News / AP 8/14)
SERIAL KILLER III: FBI’s updated timeline for Israel Keyes (The Peninsula Daily News /