10,000-year-old stone tools unearthed in Redmond dig

“We were pretty amazed,” said archaeologist Robert Kopperl of the finds at the site. (SWCA Environmental Consultants)
“We were pretty amazed,” said archaeologist Robert Kopperl of the finds at the site. (SWCA Environmental Consultants)

Archaeologists working near Redmond Town Center have unearthed stone tools crafted at least 10,000 years ago by some of the region’s earliest inhabitants.

By  Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science reporter


The project started off as nothing special — just a standard archaeological survey to clear the way for construction.

But it quickly became clear that the site near Redmond Town Center mall was anything but ordinary.

“We were pretty amazed,” said archaeologist Robert Kopperl, who led the field investigation. “This is the oldest archaeological site in the Puget Sound lowland with stone tools.”

Kopperl and his colleagues published their initial analysis earlier this year in the journal PaleoAmerica. He’ll discuss the findings Saturday morning in a presentation sponsored by the Redmond Historical Society.

The discovery is yielding new insights into the period when the last ice age was drawing to a close and prehistoric bison and mammoths still roamed what is now Western Washington.

The site on the shores of Bear Creek, a tributary to the Sammamish River, appears to have been occupied by small groups of people who were making and repairing stone tools, said Kopperl, of SWCA Environmental Consultants.

Chemical analysis of one of the tools revealed traces of the food they were eating, including bison, deer, bear, sheep and salmon.

“This was a very good place to have a camp,” Kopperl said. “They could use it as a centralized location to go out and fish and hunt and gather and make stone tools.”


Stone points excavated near Redmond Town Center have unusual concave bases. (SWCA Environmental Consultants)
Stone points excavated near Redmond Town Center have unusual concave bases. (SWCA Environmental Consultants)


The site was initially surveyed in 2009, as the city of Redmond embarked on an $11 million project to restore salmon habitat in Bear Creek, which had been confined to a rock-lined channel decades before. The work was funded largely by the Washington State Department of Transportation, as a way to mitigate some of the environmental impacts of building the new Highway 520 floating bridge over Lake Washington and widening the roadway.

The first discoveries were an unremarkable assortment of artifacts near the surface, Kopperl explained. But when the crews dug deeper, they found a foot-thick layer of peat. Radiocarbon analysis showed that the peat, the remains of an ancient bog, was at least 10,000 years old. That’s when things got exciting.

“We knew right away that it was a pretty significant find,” said Washington State Historic Preservation Officer Allyson Brooks.

As they delved below the peat in subsequent field seasons, the crews started finding a wealth of tools and fragments. Because of the artifacts’ position below the peat, which had not been disturbed, it’s clear they predate the formation of the peat, Kopperl explained. Radiocarbon analysis of charcoal fragments found with the tools confirm the age.

Only a handful of archaeological sites dating back 10,000 years or more have been discovered in Western Washington. They include 12,000-year-old mastodon bones near Sequim and prehistoric bison remains on Orcas Island from about the same time period. But neither site yielded stone tools.

 “It’s hard to find this kind of site west of the Cascades, because it’s so heavily vegetated and the Puget Lobe of the big ice sheet really affected the landscape,” Kopperl said.

A handful of sites have been discovered east of the mountains with tools dating back between 12,000 and 14,000 years.

So it’s clear that humans have lived in the area since soon after the glaciers retreated, but a lot of mystery still surrounds the region’s earliest occupants and their origins.

By 10,000 years ago, the ice that covered the Redmond area was long gone, leaving Lake Sammamish in its wake. But the lake’s marshy fringes extended much farther than they do today, Kopperl said. Pine forests were dominant instead of the firs that are now so common.

Excavations in the 1960s at what is now Marymoor Park, just south of Bear Creek, revealed abundant evidence of people living there about 5,000 years ago.

In fact, most of the region’s streams and waterways were probably occupied or used by early Native Americans — just as they were later used by white settlers and today’s residents, Brooks said.

“It just shows you that humans continuously use the landscape, and that the places that people use today are the same places that people used yesterday,” she said.

Among the most unusual artifacts from the Bear Creek site are the bottoms of two spear points. The points don’t display the graceful fluting characteristic of what’s called the Clovis method of toolmaking. Instead, they have concave bases, which has only rarely been seen.

So perhaps the tools represent an earlier style that’s still not well understood, Kopperl said.

While great for archaeology, the serendipitous discovery at Bear Creek added to the cost of the restoration and delayed the project’s completion by about two years, said Roger Dane, of the city’s natural resources division.

Officials worked with the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes, whose ancestors might have been among the actual toolmakers, to ensure that the site is permanently protected, Dane explained.

The goal of the restoration was to return the creek to a meandering bed and add vegetation, woody debris and shallow areas to make it more hospitable for salmon.

“For a creek that runs through an urban area, it’s one of the more productive salmon streams in the area,” Dane said.

When Kopperl and his team are done analyzing the artifacts, they’ll hand them over to the Muckleshoot Tribe for curation. There are no immediate plans to display the artifacts publicly.

Construction at the site was completed this year, including addition of a thick cap of soil and vegetation over unexcavated portions to protect and preserve remaining artifacts.

Signs explaining the restoration and the site’s archaeological significance will be added next year.

The excavation also uncovered a single fragment of salmon bone, testament to the fact that the Northwest’s iconic fish has made its way up local streams for at least 10,000 years.

“Since finding the site was based on a salmon-restoration project,” Kopperl said, “it’s kind of like coming full circle.”


(Garland Potts / The Seattle Times)
(Garland Potts / The Seattle Times)

Sen. Jerry Moran sees support for re-election from American Indian tribes

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Pete Marovich - Pete Marovich/MCT
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Pete Marovich – Pete Marovich/MCT

By Bryan Lowry, The Wichita Eagle

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran has nearly $30,000 from 12 different American Indian tribes since January in support of his re-election bid.

Moran, a Hays Republican who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, received $1.43 million from January through June for his re-election campaign, according to his most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission. So far $1,000 of that has come from Kansas’ Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

Moran has also received money from Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation; Louisiana’s Tunica-Biloxi Tribe; Washington State’s Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Snoqualmie Tribe and Lummi Indian Business Council; Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community; California’s Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Shingle Springs Band Miwok Indians; Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians; and New York’s Seneca Nation of Indians.

The donations from the various tribes add up to $29,700.

The support from the tribes shouldn’t come as a surprise. Moran, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has championed legislation to strengthen the autonomy of tribal governments in recent years.

He co-sponsored the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, which broadened tax exemptions for tribes and was signed into law in 2014. He has also sponsored and pushed for the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, which would have exempted tribal governments from the National Labor Relations Act.

“These Native American tribes are part of a diverse group of individuals and organizations who support Senator Moran – including Kansans in each of our state’s 105 counties,” Moran for Kansas spokeswoman Elizabeth Patton said in an e-mailed statement.

Moran has also received money from Kansas born billionaire Phillip Anschutz and his wife, Nancy, for $2,700 each. Anschutz, a native of Russell and alum of the University of Kansas, helped found Major League Soccer.

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, gave Moran $2,700. His son, Chase Koch, president of Koch Fertilizer, and Chase’s wife, Anna, also each gave Moran $2,700.

Moran’s most recent report also includes contributions from state Rep. Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, who gave $2,700, and Kansas Secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Robin Jennison, who gave $1,000.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/prairie-politics/article27927961.html#storylink=cpy


Snoqualmie Tribe Donates $250,000 to Aid Eastern Washington Fire Victims


The Snoqualmie Tribe is donating $250,000 to assist in the relief efforts for those affected by the devastating fires burning in Eastern Washington. In total the Tribe is giving $200,000 to the American Red Cross Eastern Washington region designated to the 2014 fire victims and $50,000 to Washington Animal Search and Rescue.

“We are all part of a larger community, and felt in a time like this that it is important to reach out and help those in need. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this massive fire, and hope that our contributions can help in the recovery and healing process,” said Carolyn Lubenau, tribal chairwoman.

After extensive research, the Tribe decided to place its donations with the American Red Cross and Washington Animal Search and Rescue. Both groups can directly benefit from the donations and make a difference in people’s lives. Officials including the Wenatchee Red Cross have said the best way for people to assist in the relief effort was through monetary donations.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered a loss due to a fire and also to those working so diligently to put it out,” adds Lubenau.

The fires burning in Eastern Washington are part of an eruption of lightning-sparked wildfires across Washington and Oregon that have scorched to date almost a million acres of land. The largest fire in Eastern Washington is the Carlton Complex fire that is the worst of Washington State’s seven fires.

Snoqualmie Tribe Sues to Recover copy.5M Investment in Fiji Casino

Indian Country Today


In mid-2011, the Snoqualmie Tribe was approached by Larry Claunch’s One Hundred Sands corporation to invest copy.5 million in the developer’s $290 million luxury resort and casino in Fiji. Plans called for a destination casino on Denarau Island, on the west coast of Fiji, and potentially building a second casino at Suva, on the southeast coast.

In February 2012, Larry Claunch on behalf of One Hundred Sands, Ltd. issued a promissory note that gauranteed it would repay the tribe copy.5 million, plus interest, by February 2, 2012. When the project was slow to start, the tribe pulled out of the deal with developer One Hundred Sands, which is headquartered in Fiji and has an exclusive 15-year gaming license to be the only casino operator in Fiji. One Hundred Sands finally broke ground on the Denarau Island resort earlier this month. The tribe has yet to be repaid.

On May 27, 2014, the Snoqualmie Tribe filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court in Washington State seeking to recover its copy.5 million, plus interest and other fees. The lawsuit names Larry Claunch and three of his business entities associated with the Fiji project as defendants.

“We have been trying for months to recover the copy.5 million without having to file suit,” said Carolyn Lubenau, the chairwoman of the Snoqualmie Tribal Council. “But no one responded to the Tribe’s demand. The Note is past due and must be repaid in full.”

Lubenau added, “Snoqualmie Tribal Council’s primary job is to protect the welfare of the Tribe and the Snoqualmie people. Our goal with this lawsuit is to recover the money that was loaned to Mr. Claunch for Fiji so that it can be used to benefit our Tribal members here at home.”

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe is a federally recognized tribe in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The Tribe owns and operates the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/30/snoqualmie-tribe-sues-recover-15m-investment-fiji-casino-155081

Tulalip community to hold Inter-tribal jam session to raise aid for victims of Oso mudslide.

Photo/ Francesca Hillary, Tulalip Tribes
Photo/ Francesca Hillary, Tulalip Tribes

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News 

TULALIP – On the heels of a large donation made by the Tulalip Tribes to aid victims of the Oso, Washington mudslide, the Tulalip community is organizing additional aid in the form of an Inter-tribal Jam session to raise money for Oso families as they recover from their losses.

Tulalip Tribal member Natosha Gobin, the event’s organizer, explained the proximity of the Oso community to Tulalip created a desire in community members to want to help.

“I had an idea that we could do an inter-tribal jam session where we invite other tribes to our reservation to share songs and prayers while raising money for donations. People have done these in the past, and it has been a positive gathering that uplifts people in a time of heartache. All it took was posting on Facebook to see who would be interested in volunteering for the event, and right away there was enough interest to make it happen.”

The jam session is scheduled for April 4 at 6:00 p.m. at 6700 Totem Beach Road on the Tulalip Reservation. A $5 donation will be accepted at the door and the event will feature a concession stand serving beverages, frybread, spaghetti and hamburger soup as well as baked goods. A raffle with items donated by local tribal artists will also be held during the event.

Proceeds from the event will be given to the victims of the mudslide with portions donated to a variety of local relief groups assisting with the mudslide such as search and rescue crews, fire stations, and animal shelters.

“This is all happening from the community uniting to make it a success. There are volunteers in planning, cooking and baking, as well as manning stations at the event, said Gobin. “This is not just for Tulalip tribal members, this is a community gathering to share in songs and prayers.”

The session will begin with a prayer and Amazing Grace sung by Tulalip artist Cerissa Gobin followed by traditional request for guests who traveled the farthest to sing first.

The donations and support from tribes has been incredible.  Many tribes citing personal experience with the tragedy of natural disasters.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with all the families that have been affected by this. One of those that was lost in the landslide was a close friend of mine. This affects everybody, no matter where you are or who you are, as tragedy strikes, we all share together,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon, about the Tulalip Tribes donation.

To date Tulalip donated $100,000 to the Snohomish County Red Cross and $50,000 to the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation. The Colville Tribe dispatched teams of search and rescue volunteers. Just today, Snoqualmie announced a $275,000 donation to assist.

For more information, or to volunteer at the event, please contact Natosha Gobin at 425-319-4416 or at tagobin@yahoo.com.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Snoqualmie Tribe donating $150,000 to Daybreak Star Center

The Snoqualmie tribe is donating $150,000 to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, which has been struggling financially.

February 4, 2014

By Safiya Merchant

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center will be receiving $150,000 from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Thursday.

The center in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood serves as a hub for Native American culture and art, as well as for social services to Native Americans. Because of program and federal cuts, the center has been experiencing financial struggles since last year.

Joseph McCormick, the director of finance for the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation said the center serves as the headquarters for the foundation and that the additional funds will help with the center’s recovery.

“So we’ve had a lot of capacity that we’ve lost and this will help us to restore that capacity — the staff cuts and budget cuts. We’ve also incurred some debt, and so it’ll help us to recover from that and then to begin rebuilding,” McCormick said.

McCormick said funds have been raised from other sources as well, such as individual and online donors and tribes, and that the foundation had applied for help from the Snoqualmie Tribe.

“The work that Daybreak Star does for Northwest Natives and others is critical,” said Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Chairwoman Carolyn Lubenau, in a United Indians of All Tribes Foundation news release. “The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe wanted to ensure that the Center’s programs are able to continue.”

Safiya Merchant: smerchant@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2299

Snoqualmie Tribe responds to allegations over casino operations


Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

January 16, 2014 at 10:38 PM

SNOQUALMIE — One day after being accused of running Snoqualmie Casino illegally by replacing its gaming commission with the Tribal Council, Tribal Chairwoman Carolyn Lubenau said a new commission has been selected and is being directed, in the interim, by the tribe’s police chief.

Lubenau said the selection of three new Snoqualmie Gaming Commissioners was made Thursday, and had no connection to a lawsuit filed last Friday or a report on accusations included in the litigation by KING 5 the day before.

The lawsuit, filed by former SGC Chairman William Papazian, outlines a deteoriating relationship between the commission and the Snoqualmie Casino staff it is required by law to oversee.

According to federal law, tribal gaming agencies/commissions must be independent from the casinos and tribes they watch.

Lubenau said Thursday the problems between the SGC and the casino had nothing to do with Papazian, but the Executive Director and Manager he hired.

“We want professionals,” she explained, “You have to be above reproach.  You can’t have tantrums.”

Lubenau said commission staff frequently threatened to pull gaming licenses from casino personnel “for no reason”.  The tribe, she said, conducted two independent investigations.

“It was very clear, if we wanted to have our gaming commission functioning in the way we want to go, we need to terminate those two positions,” said Lubenau.

Papazian refused to go along, according to Lubenau and court documents, and resigned.

“It was very amicable,” recalled Lubenau, “He said in the resignation it was a family matter.”

Beyond what led to his departure is what Papazian alleged has happened in the interim, the SGC being filled with the Tribal Council.

Just one day after the situation became public, Lubenau said changes have been made.  Thursday, three commissioners were appointed under an interim Executive Director, police chief Gene Fenton.

None of the commissioners have gaming experience, which is not required by law.  Fenton is handling background checks for all casino employees, a task usually handled by the SGC.

“We won’t be caught by surprise when things are not working right,” said Lubenau, “We can fix things before they get to this point where they unravel so quickly like they did.”

As for why Papazian would file a lawsuit against his former employer, accusing it of “fraud”, “racketeering”, and “money laundering”, Lubenau thinks the answer is simple.  Money.

New chair of Snoqualmie Tribe unsure about casino plan in Fiji

Source: Indianz.com

The new leader of the Snoqualmie Tribe of Washington isn’t sure what’s going on with a casino project in the island nation of Fiji.

The Fijian government announced a partnership with the tribe in December 2011. But the project doesn’t seem to have advanced much amid questions about the tribe’s leadership.

Those questions appear to have been settled by an election last month in which Carolyn Lubenau won the top seat. She told Radio New Zealand international that the tribe was looking into the casino deal.

A LinkedIn page for the project, One Hundred Sands, anticipated an opening this fall. The tribe also anticipated a fall opening.

“The Council has determined that this project is consistent with the Tribe’s priority to diversify economically,” the Spring 2012 newsletter stated. The Tribe’s ownership interest presents a unique opportunity to diversify the Snoqualmie Tribal gaming interests and to produce additional revenue streams for decades into the future.”

Get the Story:
US tribe’s involvement in Fiji casino unclear (Radio New Zealand International 7/2)
Snoqualmie Tribe celebrates election (The Snoqualmie Valley Star 6