Native Americans

YAKAMA NATION

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

The traditional territory of the Sinixt tribe spans a wide swath of northeast Washington and southern British Columbia. But, you’ve probably never heard of them -- in part because Canada declared them extinct decades ago.

How do you dispose of an old totem pole? Fortunately, this is not a problem we regularly face. But a tall totem gifted by Seattle to its sister city in Japan renewed this question.

The U.S. Department of the Interior will consult with tribes this winter on how best to modernize laws that regulate business in Indian Country. Interior made the announcement on the Swinomish reservation in Western Washington Thursday.

State and federal law protect the rights of Native American children even when one of their parents is not Indian. That’s the word today from the Washington state Supreme Court.

Ancient Native American Stone Pieces Unearthed

Aug 16, 2016
Brian Bull / KLCC

What’s being called a significant archaeological discovery has been found in Oregon’s Willamette valley. The ancient obsidian objects are linked to early Native American activity in the region.

After a year-long hiatus, the largest powwow in the Northwest has returned to traditional grounds of the Coeur D’Alene Tribe. Julyamsh was cancelled last year after the state of Idaho legalized horse-racing machines at a park where the celebration used to be held.

Nisqually Refuge Renamed To Honor Billy Frank Jr.

Jul 18, 2016
Jean Takekawa / United States Fish and Wildlife Service

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be in Western Washington Tuesday for the renaming of a wildlife refuge near Olympia in honor of one of the region’s best known Native American leaders.

AFGE / Flickr

The National Congress of American Indians invited four presidential candidates to its mid-year conference in Spokane this week.

Tami A. Heilemann / Department of the Interior

There’s been a lot of political buzz this week at the mid-year conference of the National Congress of American Indians in Spokane. Tribal leaders say the next President must understand the importance of tribal sovereignty.

A day after tribal leaders and Governors in all 50 states received a letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell paid a visit to the Spokane Indian Tribe.

In Paris Monday, an auction of 400 artifacts included a pair of leggings that could have been worn by a woman from the Nez Perce Tribe of northern Idaho in the 1890s. Questions about whether many of the items had been acquired legally nearly halted the auction.

An ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man moved a major step forward toward reburial Wednesday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it has accepted DNA analysis that ties the remains found in the Tri-Cities to modern Native Americans.

The Yakama Nation will have more control with its tribal police and courts over crimes committed on the nation’s reservation. That’s according to the federal Interior Department this week.

Music Award Nod Goes To Nez Perce Drummers

Nov 12, 2014
Lightning Creek

The Native American Music Awards recognize indigenous musicians from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. It is considered to be the Grammys of Native American music.

And this year the debut album by a group from Idaho has been nominated for an award.

Federal wild horse specialists from Idaho and Oregon have been trained in how to shoot birth control darts into the rumps of wild horses.

Paramount Pictures / Youtube

HBO is planning a new six-hour miniseries on the Lewis and Clark expedition. And it's searching the Northwest for one of the most famous and beloved figures in the saga – the role of Sacagawea. 

She was the young Native American mother who helped the Corps of Discovery reach the Pacific. This miniseries may do something previous productions haven't – cast a Native American actress in the role.

Spokane Indians Baseball Club

Football season has kicked off another round of scrutiny over how professional sports teams use Native American mascots. But in eastern Washington, a minor league baseball team has earned the approval of its native namesake.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe in Idaho is asking for information that will lead to the person who wrote “white power” and other racist messages on a reservation historical marker over the weekend. The writing was discovered on a sign for a former mission site south of Plummer.

The message also included the words “die … Indians,” an expletive and what appear to be swastikas.

Groups that have worked to drive white supremacist elements out of north Idaho are condemning the act. Tony Stewart is one of the founders of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

Ed Schoenfeld / Northwest News Network

A Native American-owned corporation with thousands of shareholders in the Pacific Northwest has new leadership. The Alaska-based business is trying to bounce back from heavy losses. CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld reports from Juneau.

Theodore Scott / Flickr

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to rewrite the rules for when a native tribe is officially a tribe - in the eyes of the feds. This again raises hopes for status and federal benefits among some unrecognized tribes in the West. Those hopefuls still face a bumpy road.

Devan Schwartz / EarthFix

Much of the West is entering a second straight summer of drought. In Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin, ranchers are once again watching their pastureland go dry for a lack of water. That has them preparing to sell their livestock earlier – and for lower prices – than they’d like.

Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

You've no doubt heard people say they're "goin' fishin'." But how about going "eeling?" As in, fishing for eel.

For centuries, Native Americans from Boise to Wenatchee to the southern Oregon coast have harvested Pacific lamprey, colloquially called eels. Monday, the Warm Springs and Yakama tribes held a season-opening "blessing ceremony" at Willamette Falls. Correspondent Tom Banse reports the event happened against a backdrop of treaty rights tension over management of the dwindling fish.

Mary Randlett

It started with the discovery of long-forgotten gravestones in a thicket of bramble and alder. That set one author on the faint trail of a feisty Native American woman and oyster farmer who lived in 19th century western Washington. The biographer is using the resulting book to inspire other Northwesterners - particularly tribal members. She wants to bring out the stories of people who, in her words, have been "left out of our histories." Correspondent Tom Banse reports from Oyster Bay in Mason County, Washington.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

This week two skeletons found upstream of the cracked Wanapum Dam were handed over to Northwest tribes. The remains were found near each other several weeks ago along the newly exposed Columbia River shore.

Anna King

In the recent past, native fishers have sold just-caught fish from coolers at near-river sites. But this weekend, a woman entrepreneur is opening the first brick and mortar, Native American family owned fish market along the Columbia River. 

Rennett Stowe / Creative Commons

Tribal leaders from the Northwest and from around the country had the opportunity today to tell the Obama Administration what they want in the coming year. The White House convened what has become an annual conference with Native American tribes. A University of Washington law school professor will be giving advice all year long thanks to his appointment to a new Justice Department advisory panel. Ron Whitener says the group is specifically looking at violence faced by American Indian children.

Elvert Barnes

A Native American ceremony was held in Riverfront Park in Spokane Friday to protest plans for coal shipping terminals on the west coast.

The State Anthropologist has determined remains found in a septic drain field dig are those of a Native American woman who died anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand years ago.

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