N8tive Vote 2018 Rez-to-Rez tour visits Tulalip

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On October 27, tribal leaders embarked on a momentous 10-day tour to visit all 29 of Washington State’s tribal nations in a first-of-its-kind effort to encourage Native citizens to have their voice heard by voting in the November 6 midterm election. 

According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), nationwide 34% of eligible Native voters are not registered to vote. The turnout rate of American Indian and Alaska Native registered voters is also very low, being historically 5 to 14 percentage points lower than the rate of many other racial and ethnic groups. The Rez-to-Rez tour aimed to change that by going directly to Native voters and encouraging them to vote.

“The Puyallup Tribe is proud to sponsor the N8tive Vote 2018 Rez-to-Rez tour,” said Puyallup Tribe Chairman Bill Sterud. “This is the very first time we’ve had an intertribal tour like this. Now is the time to stand up and use your voice so get out and vote!”

While encouraging Native voter turnout, N8tive Vote 2018 also shared information about initiatives 1631 (Carbon Emissions Fee Measure) and 940 (De-Escalate Washington).

“This is a historical election year for Washington natives with both I-1631 and I-940 involving Native peoples and communities at their core,” said Quinault President Fawn Sharp. “As Natives, we have power… the power of our voice, the power of our unity and strength, and the power of our vote. We encourage all Natives to exercise that power by voting in this year’s election.”

The N8tive Vote 2018 movement came about thanks to a political coalition, called the First American Project, founded by an all-star collective of Native American leaders from within the state and their allies from fellow communities of color. With a mission to advocate for righteous environmental and civil rights policies, the First American Project’s first priority was to pass I-1631, the comprehensive climate change policy that was co-authored by tribal leadership. 

After visiting 21 tribes in seven days, N8tive Vote’s Rez-to-Rez tour made their 22nd stop at Tulalip on Friday, November 2. An engaged gathering of 40+ individuals from youth to elders convened at the Tulalip Youth Center for an evening dedicated to empowering each and every Native citizen to cast their votes and mail in their ballots. 

“My hands go up to all of you who are committed to spreading awareness and encouraging participation in this most important midterm election,” expressed Tulalip Chairwoman Marie Zackuse during the voting rally. “We must work hard to protect our people and our sovereignty that is being attacked every single day. We must never forget our ancestors who stood up strong and fought for us as a people to have the right to vote, to have our voices count.”

Tulalip tribal member Ryan Miller was recognized for his steadfast commitment to advocating and creating policies that protect the environmentand our treaty rights.

During the evening’s event, Tulalip tribal members Terry Williams and Ryan Miller were both recognized for their steadfast commitment to strengthening our community by advocating and creating policies that protect the environment and our treaty rights. For their years of service and dedication they both were wrapped in blankets and gifted cedar woven headbands. 

Tulalip tribal members Theresa Sheldon and Terry Williams with
Tim Reynon, Puyallip tribal council member. Terry was recognized by N8tive Vote Washington for his work in fighting climate change and protecting our treaty rights.

“It has been a very good day. A day where we came together as different tribes to speak the same language and see the same vision of what’s in front of us,” reflected Terry, who made his career as a treaty rights commissioner working for Natural Resources. “The togetherness allows us to walk in unison with good hearts and good minds as we look to protect our Mother Earth.” 

Celebrating midterm election results

Progress, justice, and history is being celebrated around Indian Country as Election Day results showed Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) and Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) becoming the first-ever Native women elected to Congress, and the tribal-sponsored Initiative 940 (De-Escalate Washington) passed with strong support.

“Washington becomes the first state in the nation to respond to the national conversation about use of force by passing a ballot measure by a direct vote of the people,” stated De-Escalate Washington’s official campaign page following the victory. “Yes on 940 will improve training, save lives, and help build better relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

A large contingent of 250+ Native citizens gathered at the Puyallup Tribe’s stylish showroom for an election night viewing party. The occasion also marked the final destination of N8tive Vote 2018’s Rez-to-Rez tour. 

“We are so grateful for Theresa Sheldon’s (center) leadership during our Rez-to-Rez tour. I call her the cheerleader because at every tribe we visited she would always lead us with her enthusiasm.”  – Puyallup Tribe councilman Tim Reynon.

“Today, we finished our 29th tribe on our amazing Rez-to-Rez tour,” reflected Tulalip tribal member Theresa Sheldon while addressing the crowd of supporters. “We have driven across the state from plateaus to the ocean, up and down the Salish Sea to encourage our people to vote! It’s been a fast and furious trip and I’m so thankful for this time.

“It’s been an absolute honor and privilege to have served on this journey to empowering our Indigenous communities,” she continued. “That fact that Initiative 940 passed is amazing; that is victory, that is justice, and that is speaking to the power of what we can achieve when we stand united.”

Celebrations were also enjoyed more locally by the Tulalip Tribes and their allies thanks to tribal member Senator John McCoy retaining his position by defeating challenger Savio Pham, and the passing of Fire District 15 Proposition #1, which will provide the Tulalip Bay Fire Department with much needed funding to upgrade emergency medical services.

UW Tacoma partnership with Puyallup Tribe taps ancient wisdom for innovations in learning

University of Washington


TACOMA, WASH. — The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the University of Washington Tacoma are launching a pathbreaking collaboration that aims to infuse Native ways of knowing into UW Tacoma teaching, learning and research.

The effort will be funded initially by a $275,000 grant from the Puyallup Tribe. During a four-year period, the funding will support curriculum transformation, research activity, community engagement and student enrichment.

Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud said that the collaboration highlights the unique opportunity to “meld into academia in a public sphere” the contemporary experience of Native Americans, rooted in an ancient heritage and infused with a cutting-edge entrepreneurialism.

“With an immense amount of pride, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians has committed to spearheading this program as it is essential to educate students about indigenous ways of knowing, modernity of tribal business, and tribal government. We hope that the impact of our funding will cultivate additional support from our fellow Tribes to ensure a sustainable program that will enrich the lives of many students,” said Sterud.

“We as a society have a responsibility: our unseen future must be unified with our past and our present. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians recognizes this responsibility by our support of higher education and our charitable giving. This is how we build bridges toward community success,” said Sterud.

The idea for the collaboration has emerged at a time of increased focus on the importance of sustainability: in business, government, and individual livelihoods. There is a growing awareness that the practice of sustainability can benefit from the insights offered by indigenous knowledge, with its deep place-based roots (often referred to as “traditional ecological knowledge”). UW Tacoma’s 25-year commitment to community engagement is seen by both the university and the Tribe as an opportunity to establish deep and lasting connections among Tribal and non-Indian communities throughout the Northwest.

“The heart of the collaboration between UW Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe will be the interaction between the tribal communities and the campus community. We hope all our faculty, staff and students will gain a wider perspective on ways of interacting with the world, and we are incredibly grateful to the Puyallup Tribe for supporting this transformational vision,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Mark A. Pagano.

The grant is intended to amplify the teaching, research and service of a growing cluster of Native American faculty and staff at UW Tacoma. The university recently hired Danica Miller (Puyallup) and Michelle Montgomery (Eastern Band Cherokee; Haliwa Saponi) as assistant professors of Native American studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; and Michael Tulee (Yakama) as Native American educator in the Office of Equity & Diversity.

The grant will tap into a growing awareness of the parallel and complementary role that traditional ecological knowledge can play alongside “scientific ecological knowledge.” Examples of how the melding of these two approaches has led to better understanding include forest fire management, water resources management, endangered species protection and fisheries management.

“This grant from the Puyallup Tribe will help address one of the greatest barriers faced by Native people today: the lack of information, and the abundance of misinformation, the general public has about tribes and tribal people. As the work of this grant ripples out, our students, faculty and staff will share in a great communal experience with roots much deeper than the 25-year history of UW Tacoma,” said Sharon Parker, UW Tacoma assistant chancellor for equity and diversity.

The Puyallup Tribe has been providing ongoing support to UW Tacoma and the University of Washington overall for many years, including to the UW School of Law, and events at UW Tacoma such as the annual Martin Luther King., Jr., Unity Breakfast and Convocation. This new grant is, by far, the Tribe’s largest investment in the relationship with the university.

Puyallup tribe buys Seattle-area cancer clinic; will move operation to Fife

A cancer treatment clinic is under construction on the first floor, lower left, at the Trans-Pacific Trade Center, 3700 Pacific Highway East in Fife. LUI KIT WONG — Staff photographer
A cancer treatment clinic is under construction on the first floor, lower left, at the Trans-Pacific Trade Center, 3700 Pacific Highway East in Fife. LUI KIT WONG — Staff photographer

BY C.R. ROBERTS, The News Tribune


Cancer, beware. A new player has joined the fight.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has purchased the Seattle Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center, a Renton clinic owned by Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The tribe will move the operation to Fife.

The new facility — at the Trans-Pacific Trade Center at 3700 Pacific Highway E. — will offer traditional and alternative methods of treatment to native and non-native patients.

“If there’s any way to fight this disease, we’ll do it,” said Puyallup Tribe Chairman Bill Sterud during a recent tour of the building.

“This may be the most important thing I’ve been involved with,” said Alan Shelton, clinical director and a veteran medical adviser with the tribe.

“We’re not saying conventional medicine is no good,” he said. “We want to include that.”

According to the tribe, this will be the “first tribal-owned cancer care center in Indian Country and the United States.”

The facility will initially occupy part of the building’s first floor and will be known as the Salish Integrative Oncology Care Center.


As Shelton tells the story, Cancer Treatment Centers of America had been trying, unsuccessfully, to secure approval to build a hospital in the Puget Sound area.

The company contacted the tribe, Shelton said, with an idea to build a facility on reservation or trust land controlled by the tribe.

Shelton recalls something Sterud said during a tour of a CTCA hospital in Arizona some two years ago.

“We can do this,” Sterud said.

“I felt we could do it by ourselves,” Sterud said last week. “There’s always room for another place to fight cancer.”

The tribe will not reveal the price paid to buy the CTCA operation. Records from the Pierce County Auditor’s Office indicate the tribe bought the Trans-Pacific Trade Center in June 2014 for $11.9 million. The tribe has paid for the project with revenues from various tribal enterprises, including profits earned by the Emerald Queen Casino.

The tribe will host an opening ceremony April 7, and doors will open to patients April 13.

Treatments will be offered on an outpatient basis only and will combine traditional chemotherapy and other, alternative therapies.

“We have a strong ancestral bond with nature and creation,” Sterud stated in a news release announcing the center.

“We believe that natural healing through traditional roots, berries, herbs and traditional healing can blend with modern oncology practices. We are building upon traditional oncology — chemotherapy, radiation and other pharmaceutical treatments — with whole person integrative medicine, such as naturopathy, Native American treatments, acupuncture and Chinese medicine,” he said.


Kim Sunner, slated to act as administrator at SIOCC, said last week that many details are still being identified and solved.

“There’s a lot of things up in the air right now,” she said.

She said she expects perhaps 17 employees to join the Fife operation after working in Renton. Positions in Fife include physicians, naturopaths, nurses and nurse practitioners, and pharmacy workers, technicians and administrative support staff.

She said there has been outreach to current patients, including focus groups, and that the reaction has been generally positive.

She said the new clinic will likely be able to accept more insurance programs than were available to patients in Renton, and that contracts with insurance carriers were still being negotiated.

Shelton was in the Washington, D.C., area last week to discuss details with the Indian Health Service, and he said in a phone interview that he expected eligible patients would be able to use Medicare and Medicare coverage to help bear the cost of treatment.

For the tribe, the clinic will be a nonprofit enterprise, he said.

Sunner noted that as many as 85 percent of patients at the Renton clinic were living with a diagnosis of at least Stage 4 cancer. She said she hoped eventually to be able to provide care to patients living at all levels of diagnoses.

“I really hope we have the opportunity to serve patients at an earlier stage,” she said.

Subir Mukerjee, Fife city manager, said last week of the new clinic, “We welcome it. It’s a good medical facility in our community. Having a medical facility is always a good thing. It adds a mix of use, not just retail. It adds to easier access to medical facilities for our residents.”

The American Cancer Society, in the “Native American Healing” section of its website, says that “the communal support provided by this approach to health care can have some worthwhile physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.”

“Although Native American healing has not been proven to cure disease, individual reports suggest that it can reduce pain and stress and improve quality of life. The communal and spiritual support provided by this type of healing could have helpful effects.

“Like other complementary therapies, Native American healing practices may be used in relieving certain symptoms of cancer and side effects of cancer treatment,” according to the website. “People with cancer and other chronic conditions should talk to their doctors before using purification rituals or herbal remedies.”


“We’ll have physicians working side-by-side with naturopaths, acupuncturists, traditional healers. These people meet as a team,” Shelton said. “We’re very interested in having not just the conventional medicine, but also spirit work. The team will refer patients needing radiation therapy or surgery to local hospitals or specialists.”

Osteopathic residents from the Puyallup tribal clinic might also rotate through the facility, he said.

“There’s just a general feeling that this is special, needed, wanted,” he said. “Everybody knows somebody who has suffered from cancer. If there is a better way, we want to explore it. We expect that in Indian Country there will be a lot of people interested in this.”

“With the success of our facility, I would hope to see other tribes join the fight against cancer,” Sterud said. “This is a head-on attack. It makes me proud. It makes me happy. It also makes me emotional. It might save a life, or two, or 1,200. If we save one life, that’s a giant success.”

Sterud said he sees the clinic as a tribute to other struggles, other “battles that our elders fought in years past. Our success is based on their endurance in dealing with adversity. It’s an honor to be able to bring a cancer treatment center to the public in their memory.”

“I’ve had this vision for a long time,” he said. “The tribal council has been nothing but supportive, and all the staff, and the membership. It’s almost like it’s been blessed. Everything seems to be working out.”

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/03/12/3685165_puyallup-tribe-buys-seattle-area.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


Puyallup Tribe starts doctor residency program on reservation

The health clinic of the Puyallup Tribe in Washington. Photo from Puyallup Tribe Health Authority
The health clinic of the Puyallup Tribe in Washington. Photo from Puyallup Tribe Health Authority


Source: Indianz.com


The Puyallup Tribe of Washington is taking advantage of a program in the Affordable Care Act that brings doctors and funding to the reservation.

Using $1.5 million in federal funds, the Puyallup Tribe Health Authority is training 10 doctors this year as part of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education. The five-year, $230 million program was authorized by the 2009 law.

“We don’t want to just train technicians — we want to train healers,” Alan Shelton, the clinical director for the tribe’s authority, told McClatchy News. “And the way we train healers is we connect them to the Native American community and they learn about ideas of wellness and spirituality. And when they connect with patients, they connect with them on a deep level.”

The Puyallup Tribe was the first in Indian Country to utlize program. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is the second and more tribes could join if Congress authorizes an extension.

“[W]e’re actually training doctors in rural settings or tribal settings so that they will then be employed there, where we have the highest need,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), who has introduced the Community-Based Medical Education Act to keep the program running through 2019, told McClatchy.

S.2728 was introduced on July 31.

Get the Story:
With funds for physician training set to expire, rural doctor shortage persists (McClatchy News 8/5)

Puyallup Tribe Looking For Coho Family Tree


Mar 25th, 2014 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is building a library of genetic material from coho salmon to better understand the different populations throughout the Puyallup River watershed.

“The data behind how all these fish are related can give us a pretty clear picture of how many populations are actually here,” said Russ Ladley, resource protection manager for the tribe. “Are populations that have different run timings independent of each other, or do they interbreed?”

A winter coho is sampled for genetic material on the White River, a tributary of the Puyallup.
A winter coho is sampled for genetic material on the White River, a tributary of the Puyallup.

Winter run coho migrate through the Puyallup as late as February or even March while the earliest run fish are often seen as soon as July. “There isn’t much time when coho aren’t moving into the freshwater to spawn,” Ladley said.

“I would like to collect an adequate sample so we have a background from which to compare,” Ladley said. “I want to know, for example, if the late time coho we see in the White River are different from early coho we see there.”

“Thirty years ago the state Department of Fish and Wildlife sprinkle planted coho fry throughout the watershed, so I would like to find out if the fish are all the same or are still diverse,” he said.

Much of the Puyallup coho’s historic habitat has been degraded in the past century and is still disappearing, making an analysis of interrelationships vital. Coho salmon spend an extra year in freshwater as juveniles compared to other salmon species, making them more vulnerable to declines in freshwater habitat.

For example, low summer flows have been dropping throughout the watershed for decades. “Coho are their most vulnerable when we get to summer low flows,” Ladley said. “Despite a prohibition of new water withdrawals, we’ve seen a continual decline in summer flows because of unregulated wells being allowed to spread across the watershed.”

Low flows reduce the amount of habitat available for coho rearing and can cut fish off completely from valuable habitat. “When it comes down to it, fish need water to survive,” Ladley said.

“Currently, we see a fairly broad range of return timing and coho utilizing habitat from near sea level to 3,000 feet of elevation in Mount Rainier National Park,” Ladley said. “It will be interesting to learn if this is one homogenous stock or whether clear genetic differences exist.”

“This genetic data will give us a clearer picture of exactly how diverse they are, and hopefully give us information we can use to better manage the stock,” he said.

More information on the decline in salmon habitat in the Puyallup River watershed can be found at: http://go.nwifc.org/puyallup and for all of western Washington, here: http://nwifc.org/publications/sow/


For more information, contact: Russ Ladley, resource protection manager, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, (253) 845-9225. Emmett O’Connell, South Sound Information Officer, NWIFC, (360) 528-4304, eoconnell@nwifc.org

Puyallup Tribe tracking sea star wasting in South Sound

George Stearns, shellfish biologist for the Puyallup Tribe, inspects a sick sea star caught in the tribe’s crab monitoring study.
George Stearns, shellfish biologist for the Puyallup Tribe, inspects a sick sea star caught in the tribe’s crab monitoring study.

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

As part of their regular monitoring of crab populations the Puyallup Tribe of Indians is tracking the impact of a mysterious ailment that is decimating sea stars.

An outbreak of sea star wasting syndrome was first noticed early last fall in British Columbia. The syndrome starts as small lesions and eventually the infected sea stars disintegrate. Since the syndrome was first noticed, it quickly spread throughout the Salish Sea and along the Pacific coast.

While there have been documented outbreaks before of the syndrome, nothing on this scale has ever been recorded. There is no known cause.

The tribe started regular crab surveys in April 2013. “Since then, we started seeing a lot of sea star by-catch,” said George Stearns, shellfish biologist for the tribe. “One pot near the north point of Vashon Island was literally full of sea stars.”

The tribe regularly monitors eight stations between the north end of Vashon Island and the Tacoma Narrows. Each station includes nine crab pots.

PT sea star crabs 2-14 (2) for web

George Stearns (right) and David Winfrey, shellfish biologists for the Puyallup Tribe, count and measure crab caught in a monitoring study in southern Puget Sound.


During the tribe’s early surveys, the sea star population seemed healthy. But, Puyallup tribal scientists recorded a sharp die-off in October. “We saw one monitoring site go from four sea stars per pot in April to 12 in September to zero all together in October,” Stearns said. “We went from catching over 100 sea stars to none within a month at that site.”

“Across the entire area we’re monitoring, we’re seeing a massive decrease in sea star bycatch,” Stearns said. “Some of the sea stars we are finding are literally melting in front of us.”

When a diseased sea star does catch a ride on a tribal crab pot, it deflates quickly. Within a few minutes, a normally rigid sea star will be hanging on the pot like a wet rag.

The main focus of the crab monitoring work by the tribe is to pinpoint exactly when the crab in the tribe’s harvest area molt, or shed their shells.

“Crabbing during the middle of molting, which makes them soft and vulnerable, can increase the handling mortality,” Stearns said. “Its a common practice to shut down harvest during the molt. But, we’ve only had a general idea of when that occurs down here.”

The data collected will also help the fisheries managers put together a more complete picture of crab populations in the South Sound. “We GPS the locations so we’re at the same spots and put the pots in for the same length of time,” Stearns said. “So, we know we’re comparing apples to apples each month.”

Sea star immediately after being caught. Photo by George Sterns.

Sea star immediately after being caught. Photo by George Stearns.

Sea star five minutes after being caught. Photo by George Sterns.

Sea star five minutes after being caught. Photo by George Stearns.

Puyallup Tribe, city working toward cemetery solution


By LARRY LARUE larry.larue@thenewstribune.com

December 2, 2013 The News Tribune

Ryan Conway grew up across the street from the Indian Willard Cemetery in Puyallup, visiting ancestral graves and living in what was then called the “Blue House.”

Today, the Blue House is Blue Sky Landscape Services and Conway, for the past six years, has been the caretaker in that cemetery, which dates back more than 200 years.

“I tell people I treat each grave as if it were your mother’s,” Conway said. “That way anyone who comes to visit a family member can see every grave site has been treated the same, with respect.”

Early last month, Conway was working and found, between the cemetery fence and Valley Avenue, a flurry of red-flagged stakes.

“It was the first I knew that there was work scheduled,” Conway said.

It was also the first the Puyallup Tribe had heard of the city’s plan to trench the road for new sewer and water lines for two new businesses across Valley Avenue.

Why did that horrify tribe elders and others?

“We don’t know the boundaries of the cemetery, because it dates back to the early 1800s, maybe earlier,” tribe archaeologist Brandon Reynon said. “We do know it extends well beyond the fenced area.”

Fearing ancestral remains might be disturbed, the tribe notified the city, pointing out laws and agreements that required Puyallup to notify the tribe before beginning any onsite construction. City planners were stunned.

“The city was aware of the tribal cemetery but we were unaware until two weeks ago of contention that the area of the cemetery included a larger area outside the fence,” said Tom Utterback, the city director of development services.

A stop order was issued for all work in front of the cemetery.

“That cemetery is sacred to us, it’s where our families are,” tribal Police Chief Joe Duenas said. “I remember visiting it as a boy. It’s an active cemetery – I buried my mother, Jody Wright, there last year.”

The first concern of the tribe, then the city and construction company, Trammell Crow, was not to disturb human remains.

“The developer has hired a Seattle archaeologist and he’s working out there,” Utterback said. “We heartily go along with this. We want to know the issues out there.”

Reynon, representing the tribe, will also be part of the cultural assessment of the dig.

One question raised by all this is how did the paved road, in the 1100 block of Valley Avenue, come to cross land that was part of the tribal graveyard? No one involved is certain.

Neither the city nor the tribe was sure whether the fence surrounding the 1.27-acre cemetery or the road came first. The road was built by Pierce County – Utterback believes that was in the 1930s or 1940s – and Puyallup annexed the land in the 1990s.

There are gravestones in the cemetery dating back to the mid-1800s, but that wasn’t when burials first occurred there.

“There are sites without stones, where families couldn’t afford one,” Conway said. “There are stones with entire family’s names on them, covering multiple sites. There’s no way to tell how many are buried within the fences.”

And no certainty on how far beyond those fences grave sites might exist.

It’s no surprise that history never recorded such information. Though the tribe simply calls it Willard Cemetery, it has been known on state and county records as the Firwood Cemetery, the Firwood Indian Cemetery and the Firwood (Willard) Cemetery.

The land is owned by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

When the city was in the permitting process 18 months ago, Utterback said environmental reports were sent to two representatives of the tribe. Tribal attorney Lisa A. Brautigam said that was the critical mistake.

“Two individuals involved with water quality and fisheries did receive the state environmental checklist but they are in individual departments not even located at the Tribal Government Headquarters,” she said. “And they only deal with fisheries and water quality issues.”

Archaeologist Reynon shook his head.

“If we had known about the issue, we would have worked with them on alternatives,” he said. “And we should have known. Now, we’d like to go back to the beginning.”

Utterback does not disagree, but insists there was never an intent to keep the tribe in the dark.

“If we were doing it again, we’d do it differently,” Utterback said. “We didn’t realize we should have sent it to others. We thought it would be shared by those we did send it to.”

For now, work in front of the cemetery has halted, and the city and tribe will have meetings this week to discuss alternatives.

“We’re not obstructionists. This is a matter of respect,” said Tribal Council member Lawrence LaPointe. “These are our ancestors, our families.”

Larry LaRue: 253-597-8638 larry.larue@thenewstribune.com

Puyallup Tribe tracking salmon making their way to newly restored habitat

Eric Marks, salmon biologist for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, conducts a spawning survey downstream from a new logjam.
Eric Marks, salmon biologist for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, conducts a spawning survey downstream from a new logjam.

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is already finding salmon using newly restored habitat on the Clearwater River.

“Its great to see salmon using the habitat so soon after the completion of the project,” said Russ Ladley, resource protection manager for the Puyallup Tribe. “In a few months, the offspring of these fish we’re seeing migrate and spawn in the Clearwater will be able to use this habitat to rear and find food.”

So far this year, the tribe has counted more than 100 chinook and 250 coho in about a mile of restored river.

The project was managed by the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG).

Last summer a total of 18 large and small engineered logjams were installed in the Clearwater River about two miles up from where it joins the White River. Placement of these log jams will reconnect flows to a network of 11 existing side channels, dissipate floods, and increase instream structure and cover in the river.

“Adding the wood and instream structure to the river will encourage the river to move and create habitat in a way it always had,” said Kristin Williamson, SPSSEG project manager.

The Puyallup Tribe conducts extensive spawning surveys throughout the Clearwater for chinook, coho and pink salmon. Data from spawning surveys help natural managers assess the success of habitat projects. Fisheries managers also use the data to help build future salmon fisheries.

“Spawning surveys are a simple and essential tool for managing salmon,” Ladley said. “Nothing beats getting out on the water and counting fish.”

Just downstream from the project site the tribe also recently built a new juvenile chinook acclimation pond. The Puyallup Tribe annually transfers as many as 800,000 juvenile spring chinook from either a state or Muckleshoot tribal hatchery and raises them in several acclimation ponds in the upper White.

“Coho and chinook populations in the White River have demonstrated an encouraging upward trend over the past 15 years. Hopefully this project and other similar efforts will allow this trend to continue and extend to other species such as steelhead that that have not responded favorably,” Ladley said. “The best way to bring them back is to repair what habitat we can and protect what they have left.”

Video: Puyallup Tribe Pink Salmon Study

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is looking at this year’s large pink salmon run that is showing up in the White River but is causing a backup in the fishway, causing a problem for other salmon species to make it upstream. The study will look at the delay associated with the arrival of pinks.


Puyallup Tribe Pink Salmon Study from NW Indian Fisheries Commission on Vimeo.

34th Annual Puyallup Tribal Pow Wow, Aug 30-Sept 1


34th Annual Puyallup Tribal Pow Wow, August 30, 31 and September 1, 2013

Grand Entry Friday 7 PM sharp! Dance & Drum Competitions, Puyallup Tribal Royalty Contest, Native American Arts & Crafts, Native American Food Booths. Salmon Bake: Saturday 5-7 PM

Location: Chief Leschi Schools 5625 52nd St. E. Puyallup WA 98371

Information: Puyallup Tribe, 253.680.5730 or 253.405.2962 Mon-Fri 9am-4:30 PM