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)

Muckleshoot Tribe purchases Emerald Downs

The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe will take full ownership of the Northwest’s premier Thoroughbred racing facility through purchase of Emerald Downs.

Tulalip News staff


In a statement released today by the Tribe,  Muckleshoot will add to their list of enterprises owned by the Tribe with the purchase of Emerald Downs.  An agreement between the Tribe and the Northwest Racing Associates will transfer full ownership and operational control of Emerald Downs to the Tribe. The transaction will close within 90 days.

No price was mentioned in the statement. The Tribe has owned the land under Emerald Downs since 2002, when it purchased the 157-acre property for $70 million and became the property landlord. Northwest Racing Associates has operated the racetrack since its launch in 1996, replacing the long standing Longacres Racetrack, which closed in 1992.

“The Tribe’s long-standing support of the state’s thoroughbred racing industry continues with this transaction,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chair Virginia Cross in the statement about the Tribe’s purchase. “It is the Tribe’s goal to keep the thoroughbred horse racing industry as a viable part of our state’s economy. Emerald Downs sits in the center of the Tribe’s historical homeland and this transaction makes it an important part of our economic development program.”

The Tribe has invested more than $11 million in purse enhancements since 2004. The Tribe plans to conduct an evaluation of the racetrack to strengthen the performance of Emerald Downs.

Northwest Racing Associates President Ron Crockett will stay on as a consultant to the Tribe to help with the transition. Plans to keep the current management team in place are underway.

“My goal has always been to preserve this important industry,” said Crockett in the statement. “I have accomplished that goal and this is now a good time for the Tribe to step in and bring Emerald Downs to the next level.”


Emerald Downs is located in Auburn, Washington.

Indian Country Remembers Misty Upham; Family, Friends Gather for Wake

Source: facebook.com/beautifulmistyuphamCandles, flowers, balloons, and photographs memorialize Misty Upham in a display on the Muckleshoot Reservation. Source: facebook.com/beautifulmistyupham
Source: facebook.com/beautifulmistyupham
Candles, flowers, balloons, and photographs memorialize Misty Upham in a display on the Muckleshoot Reservation. Source: facebook.com/beautifulmistyupham


On the Muckleshoot Reservation, in Washington, grieving for the late actress Misty Upham has been ongoing. The Upham family has sent out the following details of the coming days’ events:

The family of Misty Upham would like to thank everyone for their support. The funeral arrangement includes:
A wake Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and a Memorial service on Saturday, October 25, at 2:00 pm at the The Pentecostal Church at Muckleshoot 39731 Auburn Enumclaw Rd SE, Auburn, WA 98092 (Pastor Kenny Williams cell: 253-261-6003)

Misty will arrive at noon on Wednesday October 22, 2014.

For those who would like to bring flowers, food, financial support, or help in any capacity, donations are being accepted at the The Pentecostal Church at Muckleshoot

Online, expressions of grief and love have poured forth from all over Indian country. Here are just a few of them from Twitter and Facebook:

Gil Birmingham (via Facebook)
An incredibly tragic and heartbreaking farewell to a courageous spirit artist warrior. RIP Misty Anne Upham… our hearts will always be with you and your family.

Julia Jones @JuliaRJones
We lost a beautiful soul and a great talent this week. RIP Misty Upham. Wish we had more time with you.

Michelle Thrush (via Facebook)
Shocked and saddened that you left.. RIP Misty.. You fought a good fight sister. May you finally be at peace

You gave so bravely.. Until our next walk together we will all miss your smile my friend..

American Indian Film Institute (via Facebook)
To our dear friend Misty Upham, we are so grateful to have known you as a person, actress and TTP youth mentor. Your hard work and dedication will live on forever, we ARE and WILL always continue to be big fans of yours. With heartfelt condolences to your parents, family and friends. You are a treasure and a shinning star for all to see.

Roseanne Supernault (via Facebook)
My most heartfelt condolences to the Upham family, Misty’s friends and community. I admired your work Misty, I looked up to you, and I pray that you have safe travels on your journey. Please take a moment today to meditate/pray upon this beautiful and talented woman’s spirit. Please send love & light to her family & friends. Hiy hiy.

Leonard Sumner @LeonardSumner
@MistyUpham was so badass in August: Osage County… She stole the thunder in that movie. So sad to hear about her passing.

Renee Roman Nose @ReneeRomanNose
My love and prayers to Misty’s family and friends. What a sad day for Indian Country.

Bird Runningwater @BirdRunningH2O
RIP Misty.  Prayers for your journey.

Michelle Hall Shining Elk (via Facebook)
Dang it! This is not how this was suppose to end. Thoughts and prayers go out to Misty’s family during this most difficult time. May her new journey be forever pained free.

Wambli Eagleman @InfamousWambli
My heart is Broken….Rest Well @MistyUpham …my thoughts and prayers go out to the family…

Sonny Skyhawk (via Facebook)
What a loss tour people and her family, she was such a talented young lady. When I read ” No signs of foul play ” and heard the families pleas to the Auburn Police for help to find her, the word FOUL PLAY applies and belongs to them, due to their failure to asses the situation as bi-polar breakdown and assist accordingly, but that was not the case. Being INDIAN on a reservation can sometimes work against you with local police. My friends Aunt and Uncle burned to death because the fire was across the road from the fire station on a reservation , and they were “unauthorized” to cross the road.

Tatanka Means (via Facebook)
RIP super talented Indigenous woman, Misty Upham. So sad. Such a huge loss to the acting world and Indian community. She was a star who inspired me. I was a fan of her work. She will be greatly missed and remembered for her amazing performances on the big screen. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to work with you. ‪#‎mistyupham‬

Sandra Hinojosa @ms_sandrah
So saddened by the death and loss of two influential actresses this week. RIP @MistyUpham and #ElizabethPena you are remembered

Kat’ela @theyfearher
@MistyUpham my friend,I can’t believe you’re gone..Thank You for being my friend and keepin it REAL…I will miss you always..#MistyUpham 🙁

Digital Drum @ourbeat
A sad day in Hollywood yet again. RIP @MistyUpham A Life taken too early. Sending prayers to all family and friends

Shawn Michael Perry (via Facebook)

Star Idlenomore Nayea (via Facebook)
RIP Misty Upham, wish you didn’t have to leave us so soon.. I cried tonight when I heard the news, realizing what a tragic loss this is. Myself with a group of youth here in Klamath Falls, were writing a song you would have loved! Its for ALL victims of Violent Crimes..Its called “Start By Believing”. For all those afraid to come forward because they think no one will believe them..You would have loved to hear all these youth singing the words of encouragement, to those in harms way, telling them to believe in themselves! I don’t know why, but I was thinking of you all night. I am so deeply sorry you have left us..I am thinking of your family sending sincere condolences, also to the countless who are now grieving your loss. I am terribly sad we didn’t cross paths more, seems as though we would have been fast friends..From what I hear, there was NO ONE, like you.  & prayers, safe journey home special one…

Mary Kim Titla (via Facebook)
I just watched August: Osage County. Misty Upham did so great. Sad to hear of her passing. RIP

Lise Balk King (via Facebook)
rest in peace misty. heart so heavy.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/10/21/indian-country-remembers-misty-upham-family-friends-gather-wake-157454

Actress Misty Upham from ‘August: Osage County’ is missing

November 8, 2013. Cast member Misty Upham attends a screening of the film "August: Osage County" during AFI Fest 2013 in Los Angeles. (Reuters)
November 8, 2013. Cast member Misty Upham attends a screening of the film “August: Osage County” during AFI Fest 2013 in Los Angeles. (Reuters)

By Foxnews.com

Actress Misty Upham has officially been declared a missing person reports Us weekly. Indian Country Today reports that the 32-year-old actress was last spotted leaving her sister’s apartment in Muckleshoot, Washington on October 5.

She is best known for her role as housekeeper Johnna Monevata in the film “August: Osage County” which starred Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. Other film roles include 2008’s “Frozen River” and 2013’s “Jimmy P.” She had also filmed a part in the upcoming movie “Cake” alongside Jennifer Aniston.

Upham’s father, Charles Upham who first raised the alarm released a statement saying, “”Misty is considered an endangered missing person due to a medical condition. She has not been in contact with her family or friends since her disappearance.”

Charles Upham says the last time he saw his daughter she sounded suicidal.

“She told me and her mom that we didn’t have to worry about her anymore … I thought it sounded suicidal myself, so I called the police,” Charles Upham told The Hollywood Reporter.

“She’s always been a suicidal person,” he said, “She used to make (suicide) threats sometimes, but she never went through with it.”

Those with information on Upham are asked to call the Auburn police department (253) 288-2121, case no. 14-13189.

Lummi Food Sovereignty gets a big boost

The Northwest Indian College project was awarded a $65,000 grant by The ConAgra Foods Foundation

– Northwest Indian College

Food sovereignty is a topic that is discussed more and more in Indian Country these days. Tribal leaders and members are realizing that they can’t be completely sovereign if they rely on outside sources for their food. That idea has prompted Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Cooperative Extension Department to implement food sovereignty programs at two of its reservation sites: Muckleshoot and Lummi.

The Muckleshoot project was the first of the two to launch about four years ago. From the get go, the program was popular in the Muckleshoot community and received national attention from other tribes, donor organizations and the media.

Last year, motivated by the success of the Muckleshoot project and requests from the Lummi community, NWIC launched the Lummi Food Sovereignty Project. Now this younger project is beginning to see its share of support.

Most recently, that support came in the form of a generous $65,000 grant from The ConAgra Foods Foundation.

NWIC is one of 12 nonprofit organizations in eight states across the nation selected to receive a 2013 Community Impact Grant from The ConAgra Foods Foundation. Grantees are selected from areas with the greatest number of children at risk of experiencing hunger as determined by Feeding America’s study “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity Estimates,” and/or where 100 or more ConAgra Foods employees reside.


“A grant of this size allows us to move forward with this project,” said Susan Given-Seymour, director of NWIC’s Cooperative Extension Department. “With The ConAgra Foods Foundation’s support, we will expand the project to meet the Lummi community demand for a project that serves the entire community, including youth, elders, schools, healthcare programs, and more.”

The ConAgra Foods Foundation funds allow NWIC to pool resources of people, facilities, and curricula with the resources of the Lummi Commodity Foods Program and the Lummi Nation Service Organization to form a Lummi Food Sovereignty working team.

“We can use all of these resources to support the desire of the Lummi people to get back the health and healthy lifestyle they enjoyed before European contact,” Given-Seymour said.

The Lummi Food Sovereignty Project evolved out of a four-year research project, the Lummi Traditional Food Project, which tested a culturally-based approach to wellness that emphasized lifestyle changes based on increased consumption of traditional and healthy foods and related educational programming. Vanessa Cooper, Traditional Plants program coordinator at NWIC, has headed the project since it kicked off. She said the program’s success, just like its roots, is community driven.

“I love to watch the ripple effect of the work that we do,” Cooper said. “When one person is impacted, they tell others, their friends and family members. Word of mouth is powerful and our program has grown based on the experiences that families are sharing with others. It paints a very clear picture of the need for this kind of programming and the hunger that people have for it.”

The ConAgra Foods Foundation grant will support activities that promote healthy, traditionally-based food behaviors that produce the following outcomes and activities:

  • Teaching and supporting cooks in commercial kitchens (schools, elder centers, etc.) to prepare healthier meals
  • More community educators will work in a variety of venues
  • Giving the entire community increased information about the availability and use of traditional foods in healthy meal preparation
  • Commercial kitchens will implement policies promoting healthier foods
  • The community will ultimately experience improved health and wellness

“We are very grateful to The ConAgra Foods Foundation for giving us this support and we look forward to getting to know some of the ConAgra Foods employees through their on-site volunteerism,” Given-Seymour said.

Now in its fourth year, The ConAgra Foods Foundation has invested more than $2 million in Community Impact Grants programming – including enrollment in government-assistance programs, nutrition education, advocacy and direct access to food. The program aims to provide more than seven million meals to children across the country.

“Without access to healthy food – even temporarily – children can face life-long wellness consequences,” said Kori Reed, vice president, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Cause. “That’s why programs like Northwest Indian College’s are so important. Being on the frontlines every day, Northwest Indian College is nourishing these children so they can unlock their highest potential, and we want to empower that success.”


Northwest Indian College is an accredited, tribally chartered institution headquartered on the Lummi Reservation at 2522 Kwina Road in Bellingham Wash., 98226, and can be reached by phone at (866) 676-2772 or by email at info@nwic.edu.