Native Tribes

Oil Trains
4:56 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Puget Sound Tribe's Lawsuit Aims To Keep Oil Trains Off Its Reservation

The Swinomish Tribe said BNSF Railways doesn’t have permission for the increased oil train traffic because the company is putting the tribe’s way of life at risk.
Credit 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.

Read more
Cowlitz Land Trust
5:16 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Government Signs Land Into Trust For Cowlitz

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has signed 150 acres of land into trust for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
Credit 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.

Read more
Whale Hunting
5:54 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Makah Indian Tribe Wants To Hunt Whales Again

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries issued a draft environmental impact statement analyzing the request of the Makah Indian tribe to hunt whales.
Credit 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.

Read more
Gay Rights
6:13 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Tribe OKs Same-Sex Marriages

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is now among the list of Native governments recognizing gay marriage.
Credit 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.

Read more
Tribal Marijuana
5:36 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Tribes Reluctant To Follow Northwest Voters On Legal Marijuana

Northwest tribes are in no rush to legalize marijuana although the U.S. Department of Justice opened the door to a legalized pot market on tribal land.
Credit 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.

Read more
Rattlesnake Mountain Access
5:25 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Tribes Object To Forced Opening Of 'Sacred Mountain' To Public

Rattlesnake Mountain as seen from the Horn Rapids area near Richland, Washington.
Credit 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.

Read more
Northwest News
8:26 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Birth Control Darts Fired At Idaho Wild Horses To Slow Herd Growth

Birth control darts were used on some of these wild horses near Challis, Idaho.

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

Read more
Nez Perce Trail
6:48 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Missing Section Of Nez Perce Trail Holds Little-Known Part Of History

uth Wapato of Spokane is the granddaughter of one of the members of the Nez Perce Tribe who fought alongside Chief Joseph in 1877.
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.

Read more
Native American Tribal Map
1:15 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

The Map Of Native American Tribes You've Never Seen Before

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has designed a map of Native American tribes showing their locations before first contact with Europeans.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 4:14 pm

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.

Read more
Northwest News
6:41 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Hoof-To-Ground: Bringing Wild Bison Back To The West

Credit Photo courtesy of Sandy White Shield, Inter Tribal Buffalo Council.

Northwest Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation stretches across 1.5 million acres. But -- it turns out – that isn’t enough room for the free-roaming bison herd that tribes are attempting to establish. Northwest Native Americans are hoping restored buffalo herds may reopen ancient trade and cultural traditions.

Read more

Pages