Native Tribes

There's a process in place now for Indian tribes and the state of Washington to jointly regulate marijuana should any tribes choose to legalize and sell it.

Michael Werner / EarthFix

A Puget Sound tribe filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to stop oil trains from traveling through its reservation north of Seattle.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s train tracks cross the top of the Swinomish Reservation in Skagit County. In recent years they’ve been used to move oil from North Dakota to two refineries in Anacortes.

In 1990 BNSF and the Swinomish reached a settlement that required the railroad to regularly update the tribe on the type of cargo moving through the reservation. It also limited traffic to two 25-car trains per day.

Government Signs Land Into Trust For Cowlitz

Mar 9, 2015
Xasartha / Wikimedia

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has signed land into trust for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. It's a major step towards establishing a reservation in southwest Washington.

For more than a decade, the Cowlitz Tribe has sought land near La Center, Washington. But that goal has been slowed by lawsuits.

Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall said the 150 acres will be used to build tribal offices and a casino.

Makah Indian Tribe Wants To Hunt Whales Again

Mar 6, 2015
NAParish / Flickr

Washington's Makah Indian tribe wants to resume its traditional practice of whale hunting.

The first step in winning federal approval came Friday, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries issued a draft environmental impact statement analyzing the tribe's request.

The Makah tribe drew international criticism from animal rights groups in 1999 when it hunted a gray whale off Washington's Olympic Peninsula. It was the tribe's first whale hunt in more than 70 years.

Tribe OKs Same-Sex Marriages

Feb 24, 2015
Wikimedia

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s new policy defined marriage in its tribal courts as between two people, regardless of gender.

About a quarter of its nearly 30,000 members live in the Pacific Northwest.

President Richard Peterson said the council is exercising its governing authority to include more tribal members.

"It’s not just about the same-sex marriage and helping just one segment of our tribal citizens, but all of our tribal citizens," Peterson said.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Department of Justice this week opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.

But many Northwest tribes appear to be in no rush to go in the direction of Oregon and Washington voters.

The Department of Justice said it will treat Indian tribes that legalize pot with the same hands-off prosecutorial approach that it has treated states with legal marijuana. That means there could be a potentially lucrative marijuana business on reservations even in states like Idaho, where pot remains illegal.

But the decision depends on the tribe.

Umptanum / Wikimedia Commons

The Yakama Nation and neighboring tribes have strongly objected to a congressional move to offer public access to a place tribal members consider sacred. That place is the scenic summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in the Hanford Reach National Monument.

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

Jessica Robinson

The story most people learn about the Nez Perce Tribe and the capture of Chief Joseph doesn't tell the whole history. And now the federal government and Northwest Tribes are trying to fix that with a new historic site. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports.

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.

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