Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Chinook Tribe
  On-line since 2011 - Updated October 27, 2013
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October 2013

Chinook: Women working to raise funds for Chinook-related film - Independent film director Alicia Woods and singer/songwriter Jessica Marie Porter are teaming up to make a rockumentary style film called, “Free Range: Where Heritage Meets Hope.” Porter is a proud member of the Chinook Indian Tribe.

Chinook: Hopes rise with new BIA rules - Among other changes, BIA proposes to no longer require evidence of political continuity all the way back to “first contact” with European settlers. Instead, a tribe would only have go back to 1934 in showing that it has conducted meetings and met other key milestones of behaving like an organized political entity. Comment: Federal recognition of the Chinook and Clatsop-Nehalem tribes in their home territories is long overdue.

Chinook: Journey on the Ancestors Highway - Earlier this year I was invited to join the Chief of the Chinook Nation, Ray Gardner, on a paddle down the Columbia River in his family canoe, Itsx?ut. Let me assure you this isn't a mere canoe trip and to be invited is an honor.

Chinook: Nation offers Heritage Day presentation on Native American culture - As part of Ridgefield’s 2013 Heritage Day on Sat., Sept. 14, at 1 p.m., Sam Robinson, Vice-Chair of the Chinook Nation, will present historical accounts of the various Native American tribes that populated the area for thousands of years.

Chinook: Tribe to make canoe journey to Quinault - From July 24 through Aug. 1, the Chinook Indian Nation will travel down the Lower Columbia River Water Trail, Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean in their traditional canoes as part of an annual intertribal canoe journey, ending in Quinault.

Chinook: Tribes rest in Chinook, Bay Center while on multi-week-long intertribal canoe journey - “We probably should’ve left at 5:30 (a.m.), we would’ve been in here no problem,” said Chinook Tribal Council Vice Chairman Sam Robinson as he sat on a driftwood log in the cove at Chinook Point Friday afternoon.

Chinook: Canoe trip schedule noted - The route, starting from Oak Point, Wash., will incorporate stops along the Washington side of the Columbia River in Skamokawa, Chinook, Bear River, Bay Center, Tokeland, Ocean Shores, and Grenville Point.

Chinook: Practical language reflected their trading history - No one alive uses the Chinook language as it once existed, its last native speakers having died in Pacific County more than a century ago. The jargon contains only a small sub-set of the overall Chinook language, being a composite of about 500 Chinook, Salish, Nootka, English and French words.

August 2013

Chinook: Tribal Council Makes Ancestral Canoe Journey - From June 9-14 the Chinook Indian Nation Council will travel down the Lower Columbia River Water Trail in traditional canoes. The Chinook Council consists of nine members: Chairman Ray Gardner, Vice-Chairman Sam Robinson, Secretary/Treasurer Peggy Disney and Representatives Marketa Van Patten, Charlie Funk, Jane Wekell, Lisa Elliott, Jeremy Wekell, and Kate Elliott.

Chinook-Snohomish: News Photos: Chinook Indian Nation canoe trek - Members of the Snohomish tribe and Chinook Indian Nation Council paddle two traditional canoes down the Columbia River from Kalama on Tuesday during their annual journey along the Lower Columbia River Water Trail.

Chinook: Indian Nation Council travels by canoe - This journey will include the chairman’s family canoe, Itsxut (Black Bear), the Snohomish Chairman’s family canoe, Sbeqwá (Blue Heron), Chinook Dan Heiner’s canoe, the Beau Tanner, and longtime Chinook friend Lyle Deschand’s new canoe.

Chinook: Embark on five day canoe journey on the Columbia River - The event, hosted by the Chinook Indian National Council, will be a celebration of the great river. Known to the Chinook as Yakaitl-Wimakl, the river is still home to many Chinook today.

Chinook: Family and friends make five-day canoe journey to celebrate, remember - The group of 31 canoers set off on the second annual Ancestral Canoe Journey of the Chinook, an event created to celebrate the river, which the Chinook call Yaikatl-Wimakl, and to honor longtime Chinook Council Chairman Ray Gardner.

May 2013

Chinook: Nation seeks inclusion in county events - The Chinook Indian Nation addressed an unpleasant issue, but one members called necessary, at the Columbia River Maritime Museum Saturday at a gathering that included members of local government and others.

Chinook: Chinookan power board to be unveiled at CCC - “Shwiqhiq Pi mun” (Frog and Moon), a Chinookan power board donated to Clatsop Community College, has at last found its place. It was unveiled just before the college board meeting recently in the upper entry to Columbia Hall, 1651 Lexington Ave., in Astoria.

February 2013

Chinook: Maritime Museum unpacks the history of the Barbey company - The Columbia River’s rich maritime history is preserved in display cases and on the walls of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The museum is partnering with the Chinook Indian Nation for classes that will instruct how to make traditional Native American nets used for fishing.

December 2012

yChinook: Tribe ramps up recognition campaign - After 160 years of negotiating for their rights with the U.S. government, the Chinook Indian Nation is still in the game. The most visible – and likely least legally recognized – Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest, the Chinook plan again next year to push in Congress for restoration of their tribal status.

October 2012

Chinook: Annual salmon dinner - On Saturday, Nov. 10 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Chinook Tribe will host their annual salmon dinner at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum on Lake Street in Ilwaco. The dinner includes regional seafood, salad, Indian fry bread, dessert and beverages. The cost is $15 per person, seniors (55 and over) $13, children under 12 eat for $5. No reservations are required.

Chinook: Ambassador Chris Stevens Mourned Across Indian Country as Peacemaker, Diplomat - In the wake of the violent death of United States Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on September 11, Indigenous people near and far are coming to terms with the loss of one of their own. But it is the Chinook Indian Nation member’s reputation as a peacemaker respectful of diverse cultures that has affected others across Indian country. Messages of condolence have poured in.

Chinook: With a paddle to ride the river home - When the parents of slain ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens returned to the Bay Area from Washington, Stevens' stepfather, Robert Commanday, wrote on behalf of himself and Stevens' mother, Mary Commanday, thanking friends for sympathy and support. Commanday described responses to the tragedy as "overwhelming." The State Department has received 5,000 messages of condolence, and tributes have been worldwide.

Chinook: Nesika Tillicum Chris Stevens, Memaloost Libya - Nesika tillicum Chris Stevens, memaloost Libya – Hyas mahsie. That’s the creole form of Chinook for: To our friend Chris Stevens, who died in Libya – Many, many thanks.

Chinook: Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’ Mother Spells Out Family Legacy - “Chris Stevens embodied the best of America,” said Obama. “He built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents.”

Chinook: US Media Hiding the Truth About the Assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens - The facts U.S. media concealed: The U.S. media reported the deaths of the U.S. Eight (8) Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack, which also claimed the lives of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two guards, former U.S. Navy Seals. U.S. State Department had advance information on the upcoming attacks, and did nothing to warn diplomats and heighten security of the U.S. facilities in the Middle East. The location of Chris Stevens had been leaked to the heavily-armed attackers in Libya. His visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, was confidential.

Chinook: Sister of U.S. ambassador recalls 'good brother,' good man - Two weeks after U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, his sister Anne Stevens, a Seattle pediatrician, remembers her big brother. When Anne Stevens said goodbye to her older brother, Chris, in an airplane hangar in Maryland two weeks ago, she was overwhelmed to find 800 other mourners had come to pay their respects as well. President Obama was there, and so was Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the Libyan ambassador to the U.S., Ali Aujali.

September 2012

Chinook: Ambassador Chris Stevens personified the Chinook way - The Chinook Tribe has fewer than 3,000 members, but as in olden times, there is something in the Chinookan spirit that sometimes places them at fulcrum points of history. Remarkably, Chris Stevens, the dynamic young American ambassador who lost his life in Libya last week, has a direct link back through time and blood to the Chinook men and women who helped keep the Lewis and Clark Expedition alive through the long winter of 1805-06.

Chinook: Slain ambassador was member of local Chinook Tribe - Slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his family are members of the Chinook Indian Tribe, which has put out a call asking for prayers on their behalf. Chinook Chairman Ray Gardner said Wednesday, “To all of the Chinook members and all the friends of the Chinook Nation I am hopeful that you will include the family of Chris Stevens the former Ambassador to Libya that lost his life while working towards bringing lasting peace to the region, in your prayers.” Stevens’ mother Mary Commanday is the first cousin of Chinook tribal elders Catherine Herrold Troeh and Charlotte Davis, both of whom are well known in Pacific County, the historic homeland of the tribe that met Lewis and Clark at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Chinook: President Obama, Hillary Clinton pay tribute to slain Chinook member Stevens - Members of the Chinook Tribe have asked for prayers for the family of tribal member Chris Stevens, the slain U.S. ambassador in Libya. Stevens, 52, one of the bright lights of the State Department, was one of four Americans killed Tuesday, as part of worldwide protests by people upset over a U.S.-made anti-Islam film. President Barack Obama called Commanday, Stevens’ mother, with his condolences. Publicly, he described Stevens as a “courageous and exemplary representative of the United States.”

Chinook: Libyans Seen Allegedly Rescuing J. Christopher Stevens in Latest Video - A video released on September 17, shows Libyans allegedly working together to rescue J. Christopher Stevens following the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi according to the Associated Press. The video’s authenticity has been confirmed with pictures following the attacks and shows a group of Libyans carrying Stevens’ body out of the rubble.

Chinook: Tribe honored with opening of newest National Park - Middle Village and Station Camp Park held its grand opening Saturday after more than a decade of planning and collaboration. The park is part of the National Park Service’s Washington expansion of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The project is the result of a partnership between the Chinook Indian Tribe, the Washington State Historical Society, the McGowan-Garvin family, the National Park Service, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Chinook: Of Cabbages and Kings: It was a sentimental event - Some public events are more emotional, full of meaning than others. At last Saturday’s dedication of the Station Camp-Middle Village, the sentiment of cooperation and remembrance was just right. Like our region’s other federal presence, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Park Service is like an immensely large extended family. In their green uniforms and Smoky Bear hats, faces from the present and past were there. The extended Garvin-McGowan family was there. And the ultimate extended family – the Chinook tribe – was well represented.

Chinook: A significant achievement and a richer experience thanks to Chinook tribe - Next to the civil rights era of the 1960s, nothing has shifted more in the last half century than historical perception of Native Americans. The Middle Village-Station Camp dedication on Saturday continued that process by enlarging the consciousness of the Columbia-Pacific region. This newest aspect of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park interprets the Chinook story, as well as a pivotal aspect of the Lewis and Clark legend and subsequent European-American settlement.

August 2012

Chinook: Station Camp gears up for milestone opening - Contractors continue to put the finishing touches on the National Park Service’s Washington expansion of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in preparation of its grand opening Saturday. Located in McGowan, Wash., the parcel of land between the Astoria Bridge and Chinook, Wash., Middle Village and Station Camp Park connects hundreds of years of history, starting with the people of the Chinook Nation who originally inhabited the area all the way to its transfer to American inhabitants, such as those who belonged to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Chinook: After years of delays, historic Station Camp site nearly ready for visitors - A crown jewel of the bicentennial celebration commemorating Lewis and Clark's cross-country expedition is set to be unveiled in a couple weeks. "The public will have access to a major historical site," said Jim Sayce of the Washington State Historical Society and the Society's liaison with the nearby Lewis and Clark National Park. "I think it's one of the most important sites, if not the most important site, on the lower Columbia River in Southwest Washington because of what happened here over an immense period of time."

June 2012

Chinook: For first time in 150 years, Chinooks paddle from one historical home to another - More than two dozen set out from the historic winter home of the Chinook people last Wednesday morning to travel by tribal canoe, down the Columbia river to the sacred shore of Chinook Point near what was Middle Village, to join their tribe in the annual ceremony to honor the return of the salmon. The trip was an historic one. According to Chinook tribal chairman Ray Gardner, it had been likely 150 years since last a flotilla of Chinook canoes made the 78 mile journey down river.

Chinook: Members on canoe trip this week - This week, the Chinook Indian Nation Council is traveling down the Lower Columbia River Water Trail in traditional canoes. The route, starting from Cathlapotle at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, includes stops in Kalama, Wash., Mayger Dock/Clatskanie, Cathlamet, Wash., Elliott Point/Pillar Rock and Chinook Point/Fort Columbia.

Chinook: Tribe Fights for Private Rite - The Chinook in Washington state, recognized by the state but not the BIA, have trouble accessing historic lands near the mouth of the Columbia River, said Chuck Sams, director of Indian Country Conservancy, which helps unrecognized tribes.

Chinook: Hopeful signs for the Chinook - If an aspiring young artist is seeking an idea for an inspirational novel, he or she need look no farther than the story of the Chinook, Clatsop and related native peoples of the Columbia River. The descendents of these once-mighty tribes demonstrate remarkable patience as they deal with a federal bureaucracy that pretends they are invisible.

May 2012

Chinook: The Tall Ships Return To Astoria Waters - The Chinook Tribe will welcome the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain as they begin a four-day stay in Astoria. Tribe members are scheduled to greet the ships in traditional canoes near the Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Drive, at approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 31.

Chinook: Gardner will run for tribal chairman - Saying “There are too many things going on, too many things getting close,” Chinook Tribe Chairman Ray Gardner has decided to seek a third three-year term. Gardner struggles with an obstructive lung ailment. In March he said he was retiring from his top leadership role with the tribe, which is among the nation’s most historic native peoples but lacking in formal federal recognition.

Chinook: Tribal Chairman Ray Gardner imparts some wisdom on us - Returning as chairman of the Chinook Nation, Ray Gardner’s family has called this region home “since the very beginning.” A member of the Willapa Tribe, he was born and raised along the Willapa River and graduated from South Bend High School in 1974. Employed as a transportation specialist with the state for the past 21 years, he once worked at a mill, in oyster beds, on a commercial crab boat, and drove truck for 16 years.

April 2012

Chinook: Chinook interpretive site nearing completion - The $2 million state project to recreate an interpretive site celebrating the meeting of Chinook Indian and European cultures near McGowan, Wash., along U.S. 101 is still on track to be finished in August, despite a soggy, blustery winter.

Chinook: Transition time for tribe; Change in leadership is chance for assessing directions - Ray Gardner is an effective spokesman, leader and evangelist for the Chinook Indian Tribe. He brings intelligence, gravitas and humor to the business of representing an important Native American nation that has been shamefully marginalized by U.S. and inter-tribal politics. Gardner’s impending retirement as Chinook chairman in June will be both risky and a potentially valuable chance for the tribe to assess where it is and where it wants to be.

March 2012

Chinook: National Park big economic plus for area - A new National Park site here honoring Chinook tribal life will attract up to 175,000 new annual visitors, the park superintendent predicts.

Chinook: Gardner retiring from Chinook tribal chairmanship - Ray Gardner, chairman of the Chinook Indian Tribe, will retire from his leadership position in June by not seeking re-election to a third three-year term. Gardner, who has experienced a form of obstructive lung disease during the past two years, announced his decision at the annual Pacific County Democratic Crab Feed in South Bend Saturday night. He cited a need to focus on his recovery.

February 2012

Chinook: Chinook monument park well on its way - "This will be a spectacular park," said Ray Gardner, chairman of the Chinook Indian Tribe. "There’s none like it in the nation. It’s the first park that will tell the entire story of the homeland tribe that lived on the site. I’m happy with how it’s going and with the great care taken by the construction crew."

January 2012

Chinook: Comcomly descendant talks history, future - Peggy Lagergren Disney is the longest-serving Chinook tribal councilwoman and secretary-treasurer for the tribe. "When Comcomly was chief everyone had a job. He was a great leader and made sure everyone had a purpose, as well," Disney said. "Now I think our tribal people are in as much danger as when the small pox epidemic wiped out so many." Comcomly was the principal chief of the Chinook Confederacy, which extended along the Columbia River from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean.

December 2011

Chinook: Still time for the Chinooks - Another year ends with justice still unachieved for the Columbia River’s most famous Indian tribe.

Chinook: Orphaned Chinooks deserve a home - The leadership of the Quinault Tribe north along the Washington Coast has been particularly tenacious in working to block efforts by their hereditary rivals on the lower Columbia. Sharing the Quinaults' nervousness over the hypothetical chance that Chinooks might gain a meaningful share of natural resources, some nontribal fishermen and crabbers also have quietly worked to block tribal recognition.

Chinook: Tribe ramps up new campaign for federal recognition - For more than 150 years, the Chinook Indian Nation has struggled to obtain official recognition from the federal government. Exhausting many of their options, the Chinooks have turned to a new tool: an online petition.

November 2011

Chinook: Legendary fishing

Chinook: Tribe closes food bank

Chinook: Anthropology speaker and bus tour featured in 'Ocian in View' event schedule

Chinook: Lewis and Clark event includes tours, talks

The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River (Civilization of the American Indian) [Paperback]: The Chinook Indians, who originally lived at the mouth of the Columbia River in present-day Oregon and Washington, were experienced traders long before the arrival of white men to that area. A small seashell, the dentalium, was the principal medium of exchange. Women held equal status with the men in the trade, and in fact the women were preferred as traders by many later ships' captains, who often feared and distrusted their men.

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