Yakama Nation

Yakama Tribe Speaks Out After Columbia River Pollution

Nov 13, 2017
Ericka Cruz Guevarra / OPB

Members of the Yakama Nation tribe say they want a seat at the table with officials and regulators. That’s after nearly half a million gallons of sewage spewed into the Columbia River last month.

Members of the Yakama Nation say their ancestors have relied on the Columbia River for salmon for generations.

In the mid-19th century, Emily Washines' ancestors in the Yakama tribe fought the U.S. Army for four years in what became known as the Yakama—or Yakima—Indian War. She said few people in the Pacific Northwest today know much if anything about the bloody conflict.

A new film based on an award-winning novel by a Portland author is playing across the country this summer. It’s star hails from Yakima, Washington.

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.

A state Supreme court decision Thursday gives a Washington tribe the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members said the case is a win on the side of tribal sovereignty.

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The Union Pacific Railroad says it plans to appeal a decision blocking the expansion of its railroad track in Mosier, Oregon. Wasco County denied the proposed development on the basis that it would affect the Yakama Nation’s tribal treaty rights.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Alaska’s largest statewide native organization honored the Yakama Nation during their annual convention Thursday. The Yakama Nation loaned the Alaska Federation of Natives $225,000 to establish itself 50 years ago.

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Nestle began scouting the Northwest earlier this year for a location to build a commercial water bottling plant.

King Mountain Tobacco website

A federal judge in Eastern Washington has ruled a cigarette maker on the Yakama Reservation owes $58 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. The privately owned tobacco company has tried - so far unsuccessfully - to assert a treaty right to trade tax free. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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.

Leaders of the Yakama Nation say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands. And the tribes are making moves to prevent anyone from operating a pot business on an area that adds up to one-fifth of the state’s land mass.

Historic Site, Rock Art Cave Delay Transmission Line

Aug 2, 2013
Mike Taylor / CultureWatch Northwest

Northwest history is colliding with the need to upgrade the region’s electric transmission grid. It’s happening on a windblown patch of riverfront property at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Bonneville Power Administration is trying to build a new transmission line across that land. But conflicts over historical preservation have increased the cost of the project to $185 million and stalled progress for more than a year. Colin Fogarty begins our story in Wishram, Washington.

Courtney Flatt

Pacific lamprey are toothy eels that were once plentiful in the Northwest. Many considered them trash fish, but they are an important staple to Native American diets and ceremonies. Lamprey numbers have greatly declined in the past few decades. Now there is a push to understand more about the eels, so more can be harvested for tribal tables.