Salazar Finalizes Reforms to Streamline Leasing, Spur Economic Development on 56 Million Acres of American Indian Trust Land

Rule removes roadblocks to residential, commercial, renewable energy development; restores greater leasing control to tribal governments

 Press release, November  27, 2012, Blake Androff. U.S. Dept. of the Interior,

WASHINGTON – As part of President Obama’s commitment to empower tribal nations and strengthen their economies, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced final regulations that will streamline the leasing approval process on Indian land, spurring increased homeownership, and expediting business and commercial development, including renewable energy projects.

The comprehensive reform, informed by nation-to-nation tribal consultations and public comment, overhauls antiquated regulations governing the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ process for approving the surface leases on lands the federal government holds in trust for Indian tribes and individuals. As trustee, Interior manages about 56 million surface acres in Indian Country.

“This reform will expand opportunities for individual landowners and tribal governments to generate investment and create jobs in their communities by bringing greater transparency and workability to the Bureau of Indian Affairs leasing process,” Secretary Salazar said. “This final step caps the most comprehensive reforms of Indian land leasing regulations in more than 50 years and will have a lasting impact on individuals and families who want to own a home or build a business on Indian land.”

“This reform is about supporting self-determination for Indian Nations and was developed in close consultation with tribal leaders,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn.             “The streamlined, commonsense rule replaces a process ill-suited for economic development of Indian lands and provides flexibility and certainty to tribal communities and individuals regarding decisions on the use of their land.”

The new rule complements and helps to implement the recently-passed Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH Act), which allows federally recognized tribes to assume greater control of leasing on tribal lands. The HEARTH Act was signed into law by President Obama on July 30, 2012.

Previous BIA regulations, established in 1961, are outdated and unworkable in today’s economy. They lacked a defined process or deadlines for review, which resulted in simple mortgage applications often languishing for several years awaiting approval from the federal government. These types of delays have been significant obstacles to homeownership and economic development on tribal lands.

The new regulation, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, will fundamentally change the way the BIA does business, in many ways by minimizing BIA’s role and restoring greater control to tribal governments. The final rule provides clarity by identifying specific processes – with enforceable timelines – through which the BIA must review leases.

The regulation also establishes separate, simplified processes for residential, business, and renewable energy development, rather than using a “one-size fits all” approach that treats a lease for a single family home the same as a lease for a large wind energy project.

The new process provides a 30 day-limit for the BIA to issue decisions on residential leases, subleases, and mortgages. For commercial or industrial development, the BIA would have 60-days to review leases and subleases. If the BIA does not complete its review of subleases in this timeframe, those agreements will automatically go into effect.

The new rule increases flexibility in compensations and land valuations, with BIA deferring to the tribe’s negotiated value for a lease of tribal land rather than requiring additional, costly appraisals. Other changes eliminate the requirement for BIA approval of permits for certain short-term activities on Indian lands, and supports landowner decisions regarding the use of their land by requiring the BIA to approve leases unless it finds a compelling reason to disapprove.

Led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald E. (“Del”) Laverdure, Interior conducted several rounds of consultation in 2011 and 2012 to develop the proposed and the final regulations. The comments received in writing and during the public meetings helped inform the final regulations being announced today.


Seattle Children’s Hospital featured in launch of first-ever crowdfunded hospital gift catalog

Press Release, Jennifer Kern, PR & Company LLC

With the holidays fast approaching, holiday giving this year has a new social media twist: crowdfunding gifts that give back.

In Seattle, Seattle Children’s Hospital is taking part in the launch of the first-ever crowdfunded hospital gift catalog – – as part of a national campaign led by the world’s largest crowdfunding-for-good platform, Fundly, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Through, individuals wanting to give back with their holiday gifts can purchase critically-needed medical equipment and medical care for children at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Once donors choose their gift from the catalog, ranging from comfort toys ($30), to a pediatric wheelchair ($970), to an entire hospital wing devoted to neonatal intensive care ($12 million), they will receive updates on exactly how their gift is being utilized.

Individuals can also quickly and easily launch their own personalized crowdfunding campaign on the platform to collectively purchase big-ticket, high-impact medical items for the hospital through small donations from friends and family via Fundly, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Tulalip Transit installs permanent bus stops along their routes

Permanent bus stop featuring benches for riders are now being installed along the Tulalip Transit Route

Article by Brandi N. Montreuil, photo submitted by Mike Sarich

            Tulalip Transit has finished installing the new permanent bus stops along their Tulalip Bay Route. Each bus stop will feature the Tulalip Transit logo to identify which service the rider will be using. Benches attached to the bus stop poles will be available for elderly commuters who utilize the free transit service currently running two routes around the Tulalip Reservation.

            “Right now nine have been placed, some additional work needs to be done in order to put the remaining three in, so there will be a total of twelve,” explained Tulalip Transit Supervisor, Mary Hargrove.

            “Mission Highlands [housing development] received four bus stops, and those are the people that we are really trying to reach, because they don’t have any bus service at all. By getting them to at least Silver Village they can catch the Community Transit, or if they needed any of the services that are located out here, they can ride our bus.”

            Currently, the bus routes offered through Tulalip Transit services areas along Tulalip Bay, including stops at the Tulalip Administration Building, Silver Village and Mission Highlands housing developments, the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, Senior Center, and the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center & Greg Williams Court.

            The John Sam Lake route covers areas in the John Sam Lake and Aspen housing developments, the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall, and the Tulalip Resort Casino.

            Riders, who need to reach areas near Quil Ceda Casino and Tulalip Tribal Court, will need to use Community Transit.

Community Transit, explains Mary, can be used to connect the two Tulalip Transit routes, John Sam Lake and Tulalip Bay, as they share some bus stops with Community Transit.   “Community Transit has been gracious enough to let us share their bus stops, such as the one along Totem Beach and 64th Street. We are going to be placing another one near the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, there is a temporary bus stop there now, but Community Transit was kind enough to leave there bus stop there when they made changes to their route so our passengers could continue to have some place to sit.”

            Tulalip Transit is a free transit service to Tulalip Tribal members and residents located within the Tulalip Reservation boundaries. It provides service to rural areas of the Tulalip Reservation where there are no other transit service available.

            For more information on routes and transit schedules, please visit the website

Tulalip celebrates wellbriety

Tribal member Crystal Gobin-Wassillie shares a moment with Tonia Elfing. Crystals speech touched people in the Audience.

Article and Photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington- Saturday, November 17, the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino was packed with friends and community members celebrating the 33rd Annual Wellbriety event. Many people joined in the special evening to share good food and conversation, giving  thanks to those celebrating their wellbriety from drugs and alcohol.

Newest Face of Gerber Is Native

Mary Jane Montoya’s grand prize winning photograph. (Photo courtesy Gerber)

By Indian Country Today Media Network Staff,

The newest face of Gerber, 8-month-old Mary Jane Montoya from Fresno, California, is of mixed heritage. Her mother, Sara Montoya, has Mexican heritage and her father, Billy Montoya, is a descendant of the Yokut Mono Tribe.

They plan on raising Mary Jane with a mixture of those cultures too.

“We’re teaching her Spanish,” Billy said after explaining that his sister and mother are very involved with the tribe and will be getting Mary Jane involved as well. “We want her to know everything about her culture.”

Being the Gerber baby comes with a $50,000 prize that Sara and Billy have decided to put away and save for Mary Jane’s college fund.

“Higher education is so important and we see the value in that,” Billy told Indian Country Today Media Network.

“We want to make sure she doesn’t struggle with college…making sure she is able to focus on that,” Sara said. “We know how hard it is to work and go to school.”

Billy is doing that right now. He works full-time and attends Fresno State full-time. He plans to graduate next semester with a degree in graphic design.

“I know first-hand how hard it is,” he said. “I’m so glad I’m going to be able to give her a chance to focus full-time on school.”

Mary Jane was chosen from more than 308,000 entries because her picture demonstrated the visual appeal and expressiveness the judges at Gerber were looking for and was consistent with Gerber’s heritage, said a press release from Gerber.

When she was announced as the winner on October 6, Facebook was abuzz with negative comments from people saying she didn’t look like the original Gerber baby. Gerber has since removed the negative comments from the page.

The negativity didn’t bother the Montoyas though. They are just proud of their little girl and appreciative of the experience being chosen has brought. They got to go to New York City and be on the TODAY Show to meet the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, who is now 85, and be interviewed by Natalie Morales.

“She [Ann Turner Cook] has that same look and that same twinkle in her eye. She’s super sweet,” Sara said. “They were so nice and so open to talk to us and let us know what it was like for her to be the icon of the Gerber baby.”

The Montoya family had never been so far across the country and were amazed by the fast pace of the city and seeing how a television show is put together.


“Just the process of walking into the building, the hair and makeup, how many people it takes to make the show happen [is incredible],” Sara said. “And to be in New York and feel the city alive—it was a lot of fun, we really enjoyed it.”

“It was just a big whirlwind,” Billy said. “I couldn’t believe how small the sets are and how many people go into doing it—it was just amazing.”

That’s not all. Sara and Billy said Mary Jane actually learned to crawl while they were in New York City.

“We can’t wait till she grows up so we can tell her she was the Gerber baby,” Billy said.

The Power of Partnerships: Celebrate World AIDS Day in Everett, Nov. 30

Rapid HIV testing during the day; evening memorial walk & program

Press Release, Kristin Kinnamon, Communications Manager

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The public is welcome to free events in downtown Everett to commemorate World AIDS Day 2012 on Friday, Nov. 30. A collaboration of local agencies is sponsoring a resource fair, HIV testing, a memorial walk, and an evening program that includes refreshments, artwork and music. All activities take place at the Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett.

The World AIDS Day events will commemorate those lost to AIDS, support those living with the disease, reinforce the need to combat stigma, discrimination and intolerance, and underscore the need for routine HIV screening.

This year’s special emphasis is to raise awareness that people living with HIV are also at risk for tuberculosis. While 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis bacterium, most people never get sick. However, TB is the leading killer among people living with HIV. In 2011, 1.4 million people in the world died from TB, and of those, 430,000 of them were HIV positive.

“The unfounded fears surrounding tuberculosis and people with TB mirrors the fears people have had about AIDS,” said Snohomish Health District HIV/AIDS program manager Brenda Newell. “Neither disease is caught by casual contact, and both are treatable once detected.”

An estimated one in five Americans infected with HIV is unaware of it. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 707 people in Snohomish County are currently known to be living with HIV. Screening for tuberculosis is recommended for HIV-positive people.

Nov. 30 Schedule of Events

·        9 am – 4 pm: Free or low-cost confidential Rapid HIV Testing

·        noon – 6 pm: Community health resource tables

·        5 – 6:30 pm: Light refreshments catered by Ross Day

·        5:30 pm: Walk to Everett’s AIDS Memorial at 3021 Wetmore Ave.

·        6:30 pm: World AIDS Day Program

The evening program includes remarks by Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Snohomish Health District director and health officer, Teresa Rugg, Snohomish County RESULTS group leader, Patricia Yepassis-Zembrou, Health District epidemiologist, and Dennis Worsham, regional health officer for Public Health Seattle-King County.

The evening program also features music by local musicians Terri Anson and Savannah Woods, and concludes with a candlelight vigil. The commemoration is free and open to the public.

Local sponsors include Snohomish Health District, Evergreen AIDS Foundation, Snohomish County Gay Men’s Task Force, AIDS Project Snohomish County, RESULTS Educational Fund, TB Photovoice, and the AIDS Outreach Project.

Evergreen AIDS Foundation is one of the oldest AIDS service organizations in the country – established in 1985. EAF provides community outreach, counseling and testing, emergency food and housing assistance, volunteer services and support for persons with HIV disease and their families. It serves over 600 clients across six counties, including Snohomish County.

RESULTS Educational Fund was founded in 1980. Their mission is to create the public and political will to end poverty through improved policies and funding for health, education, and economic opportunity.

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Call 425.339.5298 for information about Snohomish Health District’s HIV/AIDS education and outreach programs and services, or visit our Web site:


·        Washington State Department of Health



·        National Prevention Information Network

·        United Nations HIV/AIDS Program

·        AIDS Project Snohomish County

·        Snohomish County Gay Men’s Task Force

·        TB Photovoice

·        AIDS Outreach Project

·        Evergreen AIDS Foundation


United Way Announces Three-Year Grant Opportunity

Press Release, Neil Parekh, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, United Way of Snohomish County

(Everett, Wash.) — United Way plans to invest in programs that support the optimal development of children and youth, improve access to basic needs and ensure that residents in Snohomish County are connected and engaged with their community.

Snohomish County nonprofits must meet certain minimum eligibility requirements and have or plan to establish programs that address the priorities identified by United Way’s volunteer-led Vision Councils.  Applicants must submit a letter of intent (submitted online) by December 20. Potential applicants are invited, but not required, to attend one of two Bidders’ Conferences: Tuesday, Nov. 27th from 10am – 12pm or Tuesday, Dec. 4th from 10am – 12pm. More information is on United way’s website at

“This is a volunteer-driven process,” said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “Every three years our volunteer committee members meet with experts to understand the needs of our community. Based on that work, they identify priority investment areas. Once proposals are submitted, our volunteers will review and make decisions on where our donors’ contributions will best be invested.

Award decisions will be made in May 2013.

The priority investment areas for the 2013-2016 funding cycle fall into three categories:

1.    To ensure the optimal development of children and youth in Snohomish County, United Way will support programs across the youth spectrum, from birth to age 18. We will do this by investing in programs that focus on early learning, after school programs, foster care, and family engagement and support.

2.    To increase the ability of all individuals and families to live self-sufficient lives, United Way will invest in programs that increase the ability of families to find secure, safe, suitable and affordable housing; offer emergency services (including rent/mortgage assistance, emergency shelter, food  and utility assistance); support access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured; offer career education and job skills training; and offer life skills programs that will help at-risk youth, people with disabilities and others to help them live independently.

3.    To ensure that Snohomish County residents are connected and engaged with their community, United Way will invest in programs that that create an aging-friendly community for seniors; overcome barriers caused by lack of transportation, disability or language; increase access to services through community based centers; and support programs for crime victims.

Eligible applicants must be a 501(c) 3 health and human service agency that can provide an audit or reviewed financial statements for the prior two years and meet other eligibility standards.

The Bidders’ Conferences will be held at the United Way of Snohomish County Board Room, 3120 McDougall Ave, Suite 200, Everett, WA 98201. Please RSVP to Toni Wishon at (425) 374-5523 or via email at as space is limited. Additional details regarding eligibility, the application process and timeline are available at

United Way is a community impact organization serving Snohomish County for more than 70 years. In addition to funding 102 programs through 39 agencies with a special focus on local health and human services, United Way of Snohomish County supports a number of initiatives focusing on early learning and education, financial stability for families, a youth program, North Sound 211 and an emerging initiative in survival English.

To find out more about United Way of Snohomish County, including how you can find help, how to volunteer and how United Way serves our community, please visit our website at

County commissioners call for mediation in Skagit Valley water fight

Press Release, Monday, November 12, 2012, Bellamy Pailthorp         

In Skagit County, a decades-old fight over water rights has come to a head.

County Commissioners are walking away from an agreement they say was originally intended to allocate water permits fairly, while protecting endangered salmon. But now they say that agreement has caused nothing but lawsuits, so they’re seeking mediation instead.

Will Honea is Skagit County’s Civil Attorney. He says the agreement, which has been in place for 16 years, was developed through collaborative talks between tribes, cities, utilities and rural landowners and farmers. It was meant to help all of those interests co-exist in the fertile landscapes of the Skagit River valley, while still guaranteeing enough water for salmon.

“Skagit County signed this agreement to participate in a cooperative water planning process that would reduce rural wells, but not eliminate landowners‘ access to water,” Honea says.

And he says as a result, water rights for people outside cities in Skagit County are strictly budgeted. They now have the toughest restrictions in the state on rural water.

But he says the Swinomish tribe has filed repeated lawsuits, seeking to eliminate the entire water allocation for farmers and rural landowners.

The Swinomish argue the agreement was good as originally written. But they say an illegal amendment in 2006 allows development that would hurt salmon, which is at the heart of the tribe’s culture and economy.

Brian Cladoosby is the tribal chairman.

“We’re salmon people. If our salmon go the way of the buffalo, it’s just a part of our culture that is going to die,” Cladoosby says. “And we’re not only doing it for us. It’s for the non-Indians too. They enjoy that beautiful resource as much as we do.”

Skagit County’s Honea says the three other tribes in the area have dropped out of the lawsuit. And he says the county is tired of fighting in court.

“So what we’re doing is, we’re not going to go to court again,” Honea says. “We’re just going to step away from the conflict and we’re asking the Governor to appoint a qualified mediator to help our community move forward on a more positive path. ”

He says the Swinomish tribe’s argument hinges on a technical error made by the Department of Ecology when they drafted the in-stream flow rule in 2001. And if the Swinomish win, about 6,000 rural landowners would be left without a legal source of water, including about 550 homes that have already been built.

The suit has made it all the way to the State Supreme Court, which hears oral arguments in the case on Wednesday.

Salish Bounty exihibt opens at Tulalip

Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound at the Hibulb Cultural Center.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington- Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center has partnered with Seattle’s Burke Museum. Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound exhibit is available until January 2013.

The Salish Bounty exhibit connects archaeological and historical research about thousands of years of food traditions in the Puget Sound area to current efforts to revitalize these food traditions in the region. On display at the exhibit are ancient fishing, hunting and cooking devices, historic photos and maps, actual food ingredients and videos of Coast Salish people talking about food.