Being Idle No More: The Woman Behind the Washington Movement

Sweetwater Nannauck, Director of Idle No More Washington. Photo/Micheal Rios

Sweetwater Nannauck, Director of Idle No More Washington.
Photo/Micheal Rios

 

Article and photo by Micheal Rios

Idle No More encourages all Native and Indigenous peoples to stand in solidarity with our First Nations brothers and sisters and allies for Treaty Rights, water and land rights, and environmental protection on the sacred land of our ancestors. Decolonization is a vital part of Idle No More, as it is necessary to decolonize ourselves and our way of thinking to keep our Native culture going strong. As our elders have taught us, “what we do today is not for us, but for our children and our children’s children.”

Last month, members of the Idle No More movement held a “Native Women Rising” rally at the Don Armeni Park in West Seattle. Activists joined in a circle for drumming and singing, and reminded those listening about the importance of the Alaskan wilderness soon to be drilled by Shell Oil’s drilling rig, called the Polar Pioneer. The hashtag #ShellNO was born as the Native led protests garnered local and national news attention.

But who was responsible for coordinating the rally and bringing together activists, both Native and non-Native, to stand together in protest of Shell Oil Company? That would be Sweetwater Nannauck, Director of Idle No More Washington. Sweetwater was kind enough to be interviewed by Tulalip News in order to help spread the message of being Idle No More to the Tulalip community.

“I am Sweetwater Nannauck from the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes of southeast Alaska. I am the Director of Idle No More Washington and I’m here in Seattle standing up for our people in Alaska. I’m here today joined by Native and Indigenous peoples from all different tribal nations, who came to stand united in a spiritual and cultural way. We are bringing our prayers and calling our ancestors for help as we try to bring a peaceful resolution to stopping the arctic oil drilling.”

 

What is the impact when the Indigenous peoples of Canada, Alaska, and the Coast Salish peoples collaborate together?

“Well, I’d say it speaks to all of our ancestors, as our people have traveled down here from Alaska and mixed cross-culturally. I have stories of our people coming down here for trade, so really we’re following in the footsteps of our ancestors by coming together and showing we can stand united for our people and our future generations.”

 

What is the meaning behind having an Idle No More rally titled Native Women Rising?

“I was raised traditionally in Alaska, my grandparents had an arranged marriage, and we only ate our traditional foods. We had a matriarchal society which made my grandmothers strong women, so what I find in doing this work is we come along a lot of patriarchy. In western society, the way protests and activist movements are coordinated and received is usually male dominated. I want people to know, especially our Native and Indigenous peoples that for us our women have power, our women are the life givers, our women were out there on the water singing our songs of strength and healing, and we have that ability in us. What many Indigenous cultures have said and prophesized is when the world gets out of balance our women will step up and bring back that balance. That’s what all the women who take part in Idle No More are here to do, bring balance to our world.”

 

 

What advice do you have for any Native person who wants to become involved with Idle No More?

“I advise that they find other likeminded people and become active. What I’ve found since Idle No More started in 2012, we here in Washington have become much more active. I’ve organized over fifty events since 2012, and I’ll be focused on working with our Native youth in Washington throughout the summer. There are many ways to be active, such as sharing our voice and our message through music, through spoken word, through our culture, and through our ceremonies and prayers.”

 

How do you plan to get Native youth to become active participants in Idle No More?

“I’ll be working with Nataanii Means (Lakota), son of Russell Means, who is an amazing hip-hop artist and we’ll be teaching workshops with Native youth that include video making, spoken work, and how to be active in a cultural and spiritual way. We realize because of colonization and historical trauma that we can’t realistically expect the youth to step up and do this kind of work without addressing their concerns that we face and teach them how to heal from our historical trauma.”

 

What are your thoughts as they relate to oil drilling in the arctic and how that impacts our culture?

“My first thoughts are directed at its name, the Polar Pioneer, and to the other two arctic oil drillers who have similar names, the Noble Discoverer and the Arctic Challenger. To me these represent the colonization that is coming back to our shores again and it’s really time for our people to unite because this impacts all of us. The climate change effects, we’re in a draught presently, our waters are being contaminated, the air is dirty, our animals on land and in the sea are dying. This really is important for every single person who is walking on this planet. We feel Mother Earth’s pain.”

 

Some argue that oil drilling is a necessary evil to sustain the modern day way of living. What is your response to that kind of thinking?

“It’s not a perfect system, it never will be, but these are the cards we’ve been dealt. We need to stand together and fight for our lands, otherwise they are going to take everything away from us because of that greed. Fifty years from now, we want our children and their children to say that their ancestors stepped up and fought for what they believed in, just as today we can say about our ancestors.”

 

There are many tribes and tribal members in the U.S. and Canada who yield great monetary profits from following in western type thinking. They’ve built tribal enterprises that are based on their casinos and because of this they refuse to take an active role in anything that could tarnish their image or result in lost profits. What is your message to them? 

“It’s hard because I understand the root cause of it is colonization. An elder once told me that the colonized have become colonizers, we are part of that system, but we can easily remove ourselves from it. The western term is ‘decolonization’, but it’s really reclaiming ourselves, reclaiming who we are, our culture, reclaiming our ways of doing things, going out on the water, being proud and knowing who we are. That’s where our strength lies, our culture is our medicine and it is healing for us. I invite any and all Native peoples to join us and sing our songs and say our people’s prayers, so that we are standing together because when we stand together, united, we have real power.”

For more information on how to join the Idle No More movement and to follow their events, please LIKE their Facebook page ‘Idle No More Washington’ or visit www.idlenoremore.ca

Will the native legal winning-streak hit 200?

25 June 2013 11:36
Written by Administrator 3 The First Perspective
Analysis by Bill Gallagher: Lawyer / Strategist / Author
Resource Rulers – Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources

 

 

Many commentators are saying that the courts are tightening up and that the native legal winning streak will be harder to maintain for future legal challenges.

 

They could be right but then again they could be wrong – big time!

 

Recently, I cautioned that natives need to be more judicious in some of the cases that they are advancing and have warned them of over-reaching (recently they incurred three losses in a row – in my view – all in legal actions that may not have furthered their social justice causes).

 

Still they nevertheless also won two significant procedural wins at the appellate court level: ‘cumulative impacts’ in Alberta (#180) and ‘Rupert’s Land’ in Yukon (#181). Both these key issues will now have new trials: the first potentially impacting the oilsands; the second potentially impacting 40% of Canada’s land mass. Stay tuned!

 

So what makes one think that natives might hit the 200 mark? A hint comes from a case decided this week on Vancouver Island having to do with the Douglas Treaties. Again the native-side did not prevail because they failed to reciprocate by discharging their duty-to-consult obligations (being as it is a two-way street) and they were properly called-out by the court for their consultation intransigence.

 

Likewise the British Columbia government was called-out for its narrow legal-mindedness. The following paragraph from the judgment appears at the halfway point – and took me (a close reader of rulings) completely by surprise:

 

d) Did the Provincial Crown have a Duty to Consult in respect of the Kwakiutl First Nation Traditional Territory beyond the KFN Treaty Lands?

 

[123]     The Provincial Crown concedes that it had a duty to consult with respect to the treaty rights but denies this duty extended to the whole KFN Traditional Territory. (excerpt Chartrand v The District Manager 2013 BCSC 1068) (author’s underlining)

 

The fact that this assertion appears in a Supreme Court ruling in mid-2013 tells us something about the narrow legal mindset emanating from BC government lawyers.

 

Needless to say the court made short work of it:

[147]     All three elements that give rise to a duty to consult in respect of the KFN Traditional Territory were present.  Accordingly the Provincial Crown had a duty to consult with the KFN in respect of the Decisions and their potential for adverse impact on the KFN Traditional Territory and its treaty rights.  (ibid)

 

No wonder the judge told BC to bear its own court costs, along with making other recommendations in the pursuit of furthering real reconciliation down the road:

[208]     Although this declaration does not provide the relief the Kwakiutl First Nation advocated for in terms of their quest for a resolution of their Aboriginal land claims, neither does it ignore the problem.  I encourage and challenge both the Federal Crown and the Provincial Crown to engage the KFN regarding the KFN’s asserted and treaty rights, titles and interests with a view to the negotiation of a treaty without any further litigation, expense or delay. (ibid) (author’s underlining)

 

While the province did adequately consult the KFN in this instance – even with this outcome – the native side did not leave court empty-handed. More over, if the same type of provincial government narrow legal-mindedness permeates the other native legal challenges presently before the courts, then hitting 200 native legal wins in the Canadian resources sector will soon be a litigation track-record certainty. And it’s no wonder then that pipelines, dams, transmission lines, woodlots, mines, run-of-river hydro projects are all heading into the legal blender in BC.

Resource Rulers promo ad 3

Unlikely Alliances: Treaty conflicts and environmental cooperation between Native American and rural White communities

 

Idle No More and Building Bridges Through Native Sovereignty

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By Zoltan Grossman as seen on Unsettling America

“The natural resources we all depend upon must be protected for future generations….to bring us to a place where there is a quality of life, and where Indians and non-Indians are to understand one another and work together.”  — Billy Frank, Jr. (Nisqually)

In the 2010s, new “unlikely alliances” of Native peoples and their rural white neighbors are standing strong against fossil fuel and mining projects. In the Great Plains, grassroots coalitions of Native peoples and white ranchers and farmers (including the aptly named “Cowboy and Indian Alliance”) are blocking the Keystone XL oil pipeline and coal mining. In the Pacific Northwest, Native nations are using their treaties against plans for coal and oil terminals, partly because shipping and burning fossil fuels threatens their treaty fishery. In the Great Lakes, Bad River Ojibwe are leading the fight to stop metallic mining, drawing on past anti-mining alliances of Ojibwe and white fishers. In the Maritimes, Mi’kmaq and Maliseet are confronting shale gas fracking, joined by non-Native neighbors.

The Idle No More movement similarly connects First Nations’ sovereignty to the protection of the Earth for all people—Native and non-Native alike. Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam states, “Indigenous sovereignty is all about protecting the land, the water, the animals, and all the environment we share.” Gyasi Ross observes that Idle No More “is about protecting the Earth for all people from the carnivorous and capitalistic spirit that wants to exploit and extract every last bit of resources from the land…. It’s not a Native thing or a white thing, it’s an Indigenous worldview thing. It’s a ‘protect the Earth’ thing.”

A debate around Idle No More discusses how the movement can reach the non-Native public. In any alliance, the same question always arises at the intersection of unity and autonomy. Should the so-called “minority” partners in the alliance set aside their own distinct issues in order to build bridges to the “majority” over common-ground concerns, such as protecting the Earth? Should Native leadership, for example, not as strongly assert treaty rights and tribal sovereignty to avoid alienating potential allies among their white neighbors? Conventional wisdom says that we should all “get along” for the greater good, and that different peoples should only talk about “universalist” similarities that unite them, not “particularist” differences that separate them.

In my both my activism and academic studies, I’ve often wrestled with this question, and spoken with many Native and non-Native activists and scholars who also deal with it. Based on their stories and experiences, I’ve concluded that the conventional wisdom is largely bullshit. Emphasizing unity over diversity can actually be harmful to building deep, lasting alliances between Native and non-Native communities. History shows the opposite to be true: the stronger that Native peoples assert their nationhood, the stronger their alliances with non-Indian neighbors.

Unlikely Alliances

Since the 1970s, unlikely alliances have joined Native communities with their rural white neighbors (some of whom had been their worst enemies) to protect their common lands and waters. These unique convergences have confronted mines, dams, logging, power lines, nuclear waste, military projects, and other threats. My main education has been as an activist in unlikely alliances in South Dakota and Wisconsin. As a geography grad student I later studied them in other states (such as Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) where they took different paths from treaty conflict to environmental cooperation, and had varying degrees of success.

* In South Dakota in the late 1970s, Lakota communities and white ranchers were often at odds over water rights and the tribal claim to the sacred Black Hills. Yet despite the intense Indian-white conflicts, the two groups came together against coal and uranium mining, which would endanger the groundwater. The Native activists and conservative-looking ranchers formed the Black Hills Alliance (where I began my activism 35 years ago) to halt the mining plans, and later formed the Cowboy and Indian Alliance (or CIA), which has since worked to stop a bombing range, coal trains, and oil pipeline.

* In roughly the same era of the 1960s and ‘70s, a fishing rights conflict had torn apart Washington State. The federal courts recognized treaty rights in 1974, and by the 1980s the tribes began to use treaties as a legal tool to protect and restore fish habitat. The result was State-Tribal “co-management,” recognizing that the tribes have a seat at the table on natural resource issues outside the reservations. The Nisqually Tribe, for instance, is today recognized in its watershed as the lead entity in creating salmon habitat management plans for private farm owners, and state and federal agencies. The watershed is healing because the Tribe is beginning to decolonize its historic lands.

* Another treaty confrontation erupted in northern Wisconsin in the late 1980s, when crowds of white sportsmen gathered to protest Ojibwe treaty rights to spear fish. Even as the racist harassment and violence raged, tribes presented their sovereignty as a legal obstacles to mining plans, and formed alliances such as the Midwest Treaty Network. Instead of continuing to argue over the fish, some white fishing groups began to cooperate with tribes to protect the fish, and won victories against the world’s largest mining companies. After witnessing the fishing war, seeing the 2003 defeat of the Crandon mine gave us some real hope.

In each of these cases, Native peoples and their rural white neighbors found common cause to defend their mutual place, and unexpectedly came together to protect their environment and economy from an outside threat, and a common enemy. They knew that if they continued to fight over resources, there may not be any left to fight over. Some rural whites began to see Native treaties and sovereignty as better protectors of common ground than their own governments. Racial prejudice is still alive and well in these regions, but the organized racist groups are weaker because they have lost many of their followers to these alliances.

Cooperation growing from conflict

It would make logical sense that the greatest cooperation would develop in the areas with the least prior conflict. Yet a recurring irony is that cooperation more easily developed in areas where tribes had most strongly asserted their rights, and the white backlash had been the most intense. Treaty claims in the short run caused conflict, but in the long run educated whites about tribal cultures and legal powers, and strengthened the commitment of both communities to value the resources. A common “sense of place” extended beyond the immediate threat, and redefined their idea of “home” to include their neighbors. As Mole Lake Ojibwe elder Frances Van Zile said, “This is my home; when it’s your home you try to take as good care of it as how can, including all the people in it.”

These alliances challenge the idea that “particularism” (such as Native identity) is always in contradiction to “universalism” (such as environmental protection). The assertion of Indigenous political strength does *not* weaken the idea of joining with non-Natives to defend the land, and can even strengthen it. The stories of these alliances may identify ways to weave together the assertion of differences between cultures with the goal of finding common-ground similarities between them. (I’m perhaps drawn to this hope because of my own Hungarian background, with a Jewish father whose family was decimated by genocide, and a Catholic mother whose family valued its cultural identity, and my attempts to navigate between the fear and celebration of ethnic pride.)

Alliances based on “universalist” similarities tend to fail without respecting “particularist” differences. The idea of “why can’t we all just get along” (like “United We Stand”) is often used to suppress marginalized voices, asking them to sideline their demands. This overemphasis on unity makes alliances more vulnerable, since authorities may try to divide them by meeting the demands of the (relatively advantaged) white members. A few alliances (such as against low-level military flights) floundered because the white “allies” declared victory and went home, and did not keep up the fight to also win the demands of their Native neighbors. “Unity” is not enough when it is a unity of unequal partners; Native leadership needs to always be involved in the decision-making process.

But successful alliances can go beyond temporary “alliances of convenience” to building lasting connections. In Washington State, local tribal/non-tribal cooperation to restore salmon habitat provides a template for collaboration in response to climate change. The Tulalip Tribes, for example, are cooperating with dairy farmers to keep cattle waste out of the Snohomish watershed’s salmon streams, by converting it into biogas energy. Farmers who had battled tribes now benefit from tribal sustainable practices. The anthology we recently edited at The Evergreen State College, “Asserting Native Resilience”, tells some of these stories of local and regional collaboration for resilience.

Idle-No-MoreIdle No More and “Occupy”

With the rise of the Idle No More and Occupy movements, we have an unprecedented opportunity to grow this cooperation beyond local and regional levels, to national and global scales. Whether Occupy or Idle No More still draw huge crowds is beside the point, because they both have popularized powerful ideas that were not widely discussed even three years ago. The Occupy movement (despite its unfortunately inappropriate name) questions the concentration of wealth under capitalism, the economic system that has also occupied and exploited Native nations. Although a few protest camps (like in Albuquerque), changed their name to “(un)Occupy” to make this point, other camps rarely extended the discussion beyond class inequalities.

Idle No More deals with the flip side of the coin: how to make an understanding of colonization relevant to the majority struggling to live day-to-day under capitalism. Leanne Simpson* *sees Idle No More as “an opportunity for the environmental movement, for social-justice groups, and for mainstream Canadians to stand with us…. We have a lot of ideas about how to live gently within our territory in a way where we have separate jurisdictions and separate nations but over a shared territory. I think there’s a responsibility on the part of mainstream community and society to figure out a way of living more sustainably and extracting themselves from extractivist thinking.”

While the Occupy movement has questioned the unequal distribution of wealth in Western capitalism, Idle No More confronts the colonization of land and extraction of the resources that are the basis of that wealth. While thinking about fairly distributing the stuff, think about where the stuff comes from in the first place—as the spoils of empire. Idle No More’s seemingly “particularist” message actually advances the universalist goals of the global anti-capitalist movement. Our solutions should not aim for a more egalitarian society that continues to exploit the Earth, nor a more sustainable society that continues to exploit human beings—the world needs both social equality and ecological resilience. And both movements have common historical roots, because the class system and large-scale natural resources extraction both originated in Europe at roughly the same time.

Colonizing Europe

To witness the decolonization of Native lands is to see a small reversal in the process of European colonization that began centuries ago, within Europe itself. In her classic study *The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution*, Carolyn Merchant documents how Western European elites suppressed the remnants of European indigenous knowledge, as a key element of colonizing villagers’ lands and resources in the 17thcentury. Merchant saw links between the mass executions of women healers (who used ancient herbal knowledge), the draining of wetlands, metallic mining, the restriction of villagers’ hunting, fishing, and gathering rights on lands they had held in common, and the division of the Commons into private plots.

This “enclosure of the Commons” sparked peasant rebellions and Robin Hood-style rebel movements. The Irish resisted English settler colonization, which was a testing ground for methods of control later used in Native America, against clan structures, collective lands, knowledge systems, and spiritual beliefs. In the meantime, the European encounter with more egalitarian Indigenous societies convinced some scholars (such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lewis Henry Morgan) that class hierarchy was not the natural order, and they in turn influenced many of the social philosophers and rebels of the 19th century.

The elites’ promise of settling stolen Native land became a “safety valve” to defuse working-class unrest in Europe and the East Coast. But even at the height of the Indian Wars, a small minority of settlers sympathized with Native resistance, or opposed the forced removal of their Indigenous neighbors. Some Europeans and Africans attracted to freer Native societies even became kin to Native families. We never read these stories of Native/non-Native cooperation in history books, because they undercut the myth of colonization as an inevitable “Manifest Destiny.” But there were always better paths not followed.

Non-Native Responsibilities

The continued existence of Native nationhood today, as Audra Simpson points out, undermines the claims of settler colonial states to the land. Unlikely alliances can help chip away at the legitimacy of colonial structures, even among the settlers themselves. To stand in solidarity with Indigenous nations is not just to “support Native rights,” but to strike at the very underpinnings of the Western social order, and begin to free Native and non-Native peoples. As Harsha Walia writes, “I have been encouraged to think of human interconnectedness and kinship in building alliances with Indigenous communities… striving toward decolonization and walking together toward transformation requires us to challenge a dehumanizing social organization that perpetuates our isolation from each other and normalizes a lack of responsibility to one another and the Earth.”

By asserting their treaty rights and sovereignty, Indigenous nations are benefiting not only themselves, but also their treaty partners. Since Europeans in North America are more separated in time and place from their indigenous origins, they need to respectfully ally with Native nations to help find their own path to what it means to be a human being living on the Earth–without appropriating Native cultures. It is not the role of non-Natives to dissect Native cultures, but to study Native/non-Native relations, and white attitudes and policies. The responsibility of non-Natives is to help remove the barriers and obstacles to Native sovereignty in their own governments and communities.

Non-Native neighbors can begin to look to Native nations for models to make their own communities more socially just, more ecologically resilient, and more hopeful. As Red Cliff Ojibwe organizer Walt Bresette once told Wisconsin non-Natives fighting a proposed mine, “You can all love this land as much as we do.”

———

Zoltan Grossman is a Professor of Geography and Native Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He is a longtime community organizer, and was a co-founder of the Midwest Treaty Network in Wisconsin. His dissertation explored “Unlikely Alliances: Treaty Conflicts and Environmental Cooperation Between Rural Native and White Communities (University of Wisconsin Department of Geography, 2002). He is co-editor (with Alan Parker) of “Asserting Native Resilience: Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis” (Oregon State University Press, 2012).

3 Washington Native Leaders, Quinault Adviser Named to Key Positions

Maia Bellon/Courtesy Washington State Department of Ecology, Leonard Forsman/Photo by Molly Neely-WalkerMaia Bellon, left, Mescalero Apache, was appointed director of the state Department of Ecology by Gov. Jay Inslee; Leonard Forsman, Suquamish Tribe chairman was appointed by President Barack Obama to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/05/29/3-washington-native-leaders-quinault-adviser-named-key-positions-149581

Maia Bellon/Courtesy Washington State Department of Ecology, Leonard Forsman/Photo by Molly Neely-Walker
Maia Bellon, left, Mescalero Apache, was appointed director of the state Department of Ecology by Gov. Jay Inslee; Leonard Forsman, Suquamish Tribe chairman was appointed by President Barack Obama to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/05/29/3-washington-native-leaders-quinault-adviser-named-key-positions-149581

Richard Walker, Indian Country Today Media Network

Two Native Americans in Washington state and an environmental adviser to Quinault Nation’s president were named in May to key positions influencing the arts, the environment and historical protection. Earlier, an environmental lawyer who is Mescalero Apache was named director of the state’s Department of Ecology.

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman was appointed by President Barack Obama to the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Forsman said he will continue to serve as Suquamish chairman; the advisory council meets quarterly and members are not paid.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)is an independent federal agency that promotes “the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources,” and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.

According to the agency’s website, “The goal of the National Historic Preservation Act, which established the ACHP in 1966, is to have federal agencies act as responsible stewards of our nation’s resources when their actions affect historic properties. The ACHP is the only entity with the legal responsibility to encourage federal agencies to factor historic preservation into federal project requirements.”

Forsman has been chairman of the Suquamish Tribe since 2005. He earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology from the University of Washington and a master of arts in historic preservation from Goucher College.

Forsman was director of the Suquamish Museum from 1984 to 1990, and has served on the museum Board of Directors since 2010. He was a research archaeologist for Larson Anthropological/Archaeological Services in Seattle from 1992 to 2003. He has served on the Tribal Leaders Congress on Education since 2005, the Suquamish Tribal Cultural Cooperative Committee since 2006, the Washington State Historical Society board since 2007, and was vice president of the Washington Indian Gaming Association in 2010. He also served on the state Committee on Geographic Names.

Forsman said, “I want to build on the advisory council’s efforts to recognize and protect those cultural resources that are important to tribes — the cultural landscape and sacred places that have been neglected — and provide tribes more resources to protect those places to the best of our ability.”

Maia D. Bellon, Mescalero Apache, was appointed director of the state Department of Ecology by Gov. Jay Inslee. Several Olympia insiders say Bellon may be the first Native American appointed to a cabinet-level position by a governor of Washington.

Upon taking office, she helped resolve a dispute that threatened a cleanup plan for an old mill site on Port Gamble Bay, one of seven bays identified as cleanup priorities under the Puget Sound Initiative.

Ecology wants two old docks with creosoted pilings removed as part of the cleanup; the mill site owner, Pope Resources, wanted to keep the docks in place until it had approval for a new dock, which it considers critical to its plans to further develop its upland community of Port Gamble.

The final agreement puts the docks’ removal later in the cleanup timeline. Pope has no guarantee it will get a new dock, but it may be able to use removal of the old docks as mitigation when it applies for a new-dock permit; in other words, Pope could say the environmental impacts from the new dock would be offset by the removal of the old docks.

Bellon’s handling of the negotiations won praise. “In her first weeks in office, [she] brought a focused effort on reaching an equitable resolution to this complex cleanup project,” Pope president and CEO David Nunes said.

Bellon is the daughter of Richard Bellon, executive director of the Chehalis Tribe; and Rio Lara-Bellon, a writer and educator. She graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1991 and Arizona State University Law School in 1994.

In the ensuing years, she served as an environmental attorney with Ecology and the state Attorney General’s office. In 2011, she became manager of Ecology’s water resources program, responsible for management of the state’s water resources, the allocation of water, and protection of water rights, instream flows and environmental functions.

In that role, she shepherded an agreement ensuring sufficient stream flows for salmon without jeopardizing local water-use rights in the Dungeness River basin. Among its many provisions, the agreement established necessary stream flows for salmon habitat, and set up a “water bank” through which land owners can buy, sell or lease water-use credits, or water rights.

Bellon said she works to help all sides see the other’s perspective and keep everyone focused on shared goals. “I strive to serve as a bridge,” Bellon said. “When people are in the same room, when they’re engaged closely, they find they share many of the same values. That’s where we need to start.”

Tracy Rector, Seminole/Choctaw, was appointed by Seattle’s mayor and City Council to the Seattle Arts Commission.

Rector is executive director of Longhouse Media, which works to break down negative stereotypes of Native people in the media, and help Native youth develop the skills necessary to tell their own stories through digital media. She produced the award-winning film, “March Point” (2008), a coming-of-age story about three Swinomish teens who make a documentary about the impact of two oil refineries on their community.

Rector’s film work has been featured at the Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival, the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, and on PBS’s Independent Lens. She has a master’s in education from Antioch University.

Gary Morishima, natural resources adviser to Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp, is a new member of the U.S. Geological Survey Climate Change and Natural Resources Science Committee, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native American Policy Team. He was appointed by U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

In her announcement, Jewell said the climate change committee will work to “develop sound science that will help inform policymakers, land managers and the public in making important resource management decisions.”

Morishima said in an announcement released by the Quinault Nation, “Because Tribal communities are place-based and critically dependent on natural resources, they are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts and among the most experienced in adapting to changing conditions. Tribal perspectives need to be an integral part of the committee’s dialogue. Awareness and respect for both tribal wisdom and western science will be crucial to our collective ability to understand, confront and overcome the scientific, economic and political challenges that lie ahead.”

Morishima said of his appointment to U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Native American Policy team, “It’s a big responsibility and an exciting opportunity to strengthen working partnerships to care for the land and people.”

Morishima has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in quantitative science and environmental management from the University of Washington. He has served the Quinault Nation since 1974 in forestry, fisheries and natural resources management. He has testified before Congress on natural resource management, trust reform, and Indian policy. He is one of the founders of the Intertribal Timber Council.

“I am very proud of the many achievements and contributions Dr. Morishima has made in his 40 years of service to the Quinault Nation and to Indian country,” Quinault’s president said in the announcement. “I have full confidence that he will do an exceptional job and that his efforts will make a substantial difference in meeting the challenges being addressed by these two important committees.”

 

Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/05/29/3-washington-native-leaders-quinault-adviser-named-key-positions-149581