Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  On-line since 2011 - Updated January 2, 2014
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January 2014

Cowlitz: The destructive legacy of the first Thanksgiving: How Europeans hurt the American diet - Colonists' food and policies hurt Native peoples' health. Now Native communities are taking their food ways back.

Cowlitz: The wrongheaded obsession with “vanishing” indigenous peoples - “Meet the last tribes on earth, before they pass away,” reads the invitation on one of the rotating slides greeting visitors to the website of photographer Jimmy Nelson. The text fades to lay bare the image of three Himba women, backs to the camera, one carrying a young child.

Cowlitz: Interfaith message: ‘Life is good’ - The service included songs by the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Choir; skits by children from Temple Beth Hatfiloh; and presentations by the Rev. Elizabeth O’Day from the Center for Spiritual Living, Ahmad Adi of the Islamic Center of Olympia, and Roy Wilson, a spiritual adviser and storyteller of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, among others.

Cowlitz: Grants awarded for fish enhancement - Local groups in the Lower Columbia will receive $2.7 million in grants to improve rivers and streams with the goal of helping recover salmon and steelhead listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Cowlitz Indian Tribe, $144,200. The tribe will use this grant to develop a design to restore spawning and rearing habitat for coho, chum, and chinook salmon and steelhead in the lower South Fork Grays River in Pacific County. Cowlitz Indian Tribe, $82,500. In partnership with Rayonier, the tribe will use this grant to abandon two miles of logging roads perched above the Grays River in Pacific County. Abandoning the road will lessen the probability of catastrophic landslides. The tribe will contribute $82,500.

December 2013

Cowlitz: National Register of Historic Places Highlights Recent Additions During Heritage Month - Lawetlat'la, known to many as Mount St. Helens in Washington State, was officially added to the National Register on September 11, 2013, because of its spiritual and cultural significance to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Yakama Nation.

Cowlitz: I regret my “Naughty Native” Halloween costume - As a Native American woman, I thought my stereotypical costume was subversive. Now I know I was wrong. At the party, I tried to explain what my costume was all about, but it never came out right. “I’m dressed as a sorority girl at a Cowboys and Indians party,” I’d say, or, “I’m dressed as a white girl in a Pocahontas costume.” Confused, my friends responded, “But aren’t you just dressed in a Pocahontas costume?”

Cowlitz: Calls to investigate in La Center continue - Current employees in the City of La Center and others have joined in the demand for an external investigation into the operations in the city.

October 2013

Cowlitz: Housing, health care key concerns for Cowlitz tribe amid shutdown - Cowlitz tribal officials said Wednesday they are worried a prolonged federal government shutdown could shut off housing and health care dollars for members. Most tribal employees who are partially paid with federal grants aren’t in danger of furloughs until late next year, but tribal officials say they’re most worried about services for members. “It will be inaction, I think, that will be the most dangerous,” Chairman Bill Iyall said.

Cowlitz: Federal grant will help Cowlitz tribe maintain domestic violence program - The Cowlitz Tribe recently received a $711,000 federal grant to continue its domestic violence and sexual assault programs. The tribe received similar grants in 2007 and 2010. This year budget cuts meant that some tribes are having to shut down programs, so Cowlitz officials were “humbled” to still receive the grant, said Debbie Hassler, director of the Pathways to Healing program.

Cowlitz: Tribe announces opposition to coal terminals - Cowlitz Indian tribal officials announced Monday they are opposing proposed Pacific Northwest coal docks, specifically the Millennium Bulk Terminals project west of Longview. In a written statement, tribal officials said they worried that increased coal transport on trains and ships could threaten air and water quality along the Columbia River and harm salmon and smelt populations.

Cowlitz: St. Helens' tribal significance marked - For its significance to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Mount St. Helens on Sept. 11 was designated a Traditional Cultural Property and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. According to the Forest Service, Mount St. Helens' qualified for listing in the register because of its position as a cultural landscape central to local tribes' oral traditions and identities.

Cowlitz: La Center drafts sewer extension review - The city of La Center has released a draft environmental impact statement that lays a framework for extending sewer service beyond the city's urban growth area to the site of a proposed Cowlitz Tribe casino. The environmental impact statement calls for amending the city's comprehensive plan, urban area capital facilities plan and municipal code, and comes during a legal dispute brought by Clark County, Vancouver and other plaintiffs against the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Cowlitz: Designation notes Mount St. Helens' significance to Southwest Washington - Obviously, Mount St. Helens was well known around these parts before it became an international star on May 18, 1980. To the Cowlitz Tribe, the mountain long has been known as Lawetlat'la, which means "smoker" in English and which seems appropriate for a monument that has a habit of announcing its presence to the humans in the surrounding area. The mountain is part of the tribe's lore, and it is depicted on the tribe's seal and emblem.

Cowlitz: Tribes Honor Spirit of Cowlitz People - Moccasin-clad feet stepped to the beat of pounding drums as an American Indian song echoed through the Toledo High School gymnasium Saturday. War-painted men wearing feather headdresses and women adorned in bright, beaded jewelry sang and danced in traditional Native American dress during the 14th annual Pow Wow grand entry ceremony.

Cowlitz: Come along for a tour of the mighty Cowlitz River - The source of the Cowlitz River is plotted by the geographers to be here, where two rather modest streams rising on Mount Rainier’s Cowlitz Glacier — the Ohanapecosh and the Clear Fork — merge to form the chilly, idyllic Cowlitz River, which begins its 105-mile drop to the Columbia River inside the boundaries of the U.S. Forest Service’s La Wis Wis campground.

Cowlitz: Help paint a mural honoring local food at St. Helens Shopping Center - Longview’s oldest independent grocery store is getting its latest makeover. Designed by Wahkiakum High School art teacher Patrick Carrico, the mural traces the history of food from the fishing and farming of the Cowlitz Tribe to the industrial age and modern cafes. Carrico will sketch the design on the wall before others join in to paint.

Cowlitz: Mary Marguerite O’Brien - Marguerite O’Brien, 94, died at P.S. We Love Seniors in Corvallis. Marguerite was born in Centralia, Wash., to Ruby and Jacob Pittman, the oldest daughter and second child of four. She married John O’Brien on Nov. 6, 1939, in Midland, Wash. They moved to Oregon in 1944, living in Cottage Grove, Waldport, Toledo and Alsea. Marguerite was a homemaker, mother of six, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of 27. She was an elder of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and her son, John, currently serves on the Cowlitz Tribal Council.

Cowlitz: Nathan L. Van Mechelen - Nathan Van Mechelen, 56, died at home in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, of myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS. He would have been 57 in September. He is survived by his wife, Nan, son Jacob and adopted daughter Genevieve. The memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, August 31 at 11 a.m. in Tumwater, WA, at the Olympic Memorial Cemetery of Mills & Mills Funeral Home and Memorial Park.

Cowlitz: Tribal members stop at Fort Vancouver during canoe journey (with video) - Three canoes representing four Northwest tribes landed Monday at Vancouver in the early stages of a journey to the Olympic Peninsula. Bill Iyall, chairman of the Cowlitz Tribe, welcomed the visitors and invited them to participate in an evening of traditional dances and songs known as protocol. The group set up camp on the grounds of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a partner with the Cowlitz Tribe.

Cowlitz: Opposition to casino easily justified - The Cowlitz Tribe's proposed gambling casino near La Center demonstrates how the federal government runs roughshod over the law. Allowing only Native Americans to operate casinos is reverse discrimination, and that law will be broken.

Cowlitz: Value in granting tribe's enterprises - Regarding justified opposition to the Cowlitz Tribe's casino, reverse discrimination, and American values, we white European Christians discriminated against Native Americans (more appropriately America's "Original People") with bullets, syphilis and smallpox.

Cowlitz: The good ol' days? Really? - Stephen Franklin White's July 19 letter, "Opposition to casino easily justified," pines after the day when "strong Christians" ran our country. A time when we massacred Native Americans, stole their land, rounded them up and herded them onto reservations like cattle.

Cowlitz: Gov. Jay Inslee reappoints three to Board of Health - Gov. Jay Inslee reappointed three members of the Washington State Board of Health. Keith Grellner, Stephen Kutz and James Sledge will begin their first full terms representing matters of health and sanitation since filling several vacancies. Kutz is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and chairs its Tribal Council. He manages the tribe’s medical and mental health clinics in Seattle, Vancouver and Longview. Kutz received his master’s degree in public health from Tulane University. He also served in the Army for 20 years.

Cowlitz: Kelso schools add counseling program for Native American students - A new program offering mental health services for young people with Native American and Alaskan Native heritage will be offered in the Kelso School District this fall, said Chris Lange, mental health counselor with Cowlitz Tribal Health Services.

August 2013

Cowlitz: Ronald "Sonny" Aalvik - Ronald "Sonny" Aalvik was born in Willard on July 25, 1930, and passed away at 9:15 a.m. June 21 2013. He is survived by his four children: Jeffrey Aalvik of Beaverton, Ore., Greg Aalvik of Camas, Yvette Aalvik McCartney of Vancouver, and Erik Aalvik of Beaverton, Ore. Also his four brothers: Albert "Jr" Aalvik of White Salmon, Walter "Tootie" Aalvik of Stevenson, Lloyd Aalvik of Portland, Ore., and Doug Aalvik of Stevenson. Ronald was also blessed with 14 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He served for ten years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council, and was a former Tribal Council Chair.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Tribal Leaders – Part Three: Chief How How - Chief How-How gave assistance to a party of Iroquois hunters and trappers from Fort George (Astoria, Oregon) but later he became outraged because of their killing of thirteen Cowlitz men, women and children. As a result he successfully closed the Cowlitz River to traders and eastern Indians in 1818 and withheld them from the Cowlitz country for many years. He lived near the mouth of the Cowlitz River, and his primary area of influence was among the villages of the present day Kelso-Longview area.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Tribal Leaders – Part Four: Chief Scanewa - Chief Scanewa had at least two wives, and the names of six of his children entered into the historical records. Chief Scanewa’s daughter, Thasemuth, married Simon Plamondon, an employee of the Hudson Bay Company. She was baptized Veronica after the arrival of the priest. Scanewa’s youngest daughter, Mary (Lel Kwadot) married John McLeod of the Hudson Bay Company. His daughter Marguerite, about two years older than Mary, married Louis LeDoux in 1843 at the Cowlitz Mission. A number of the members of the current tribal council draw their matrilineal descent from these three women.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Tribal Leaders – Part 5: Tyee, Karke & Callipicus, Umtux, Kishkok - Tyee Dick (Richard) Sennawah, the oldest son of Scanewa, was a powerful Cowlitz Chief. He was recognized as chief of the Cowlitz, Nisqually, and Puyallup tribes. At this point in history, the Cowlitz ruled from Columbia River to the Puget Sound. He married a Nisqually woman and moved north to the Puget Sound area. He was buried on the Puyallup Reservation.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Part 6 Yakanam, Owhye, Kwonesappa, Wyeenoo or Wieno, Antoine Stokum - Yahkanam was an Upper Cowlitz Chief who showed much displeasure because of Chief Kishkok being willing to consider a treaty with the Whites, but he adhered to what Kishkok said.

Cowlitz: La Center prepares for future growth - According to La Center City Planner Dale Miller, a lot of the pieces are in place to support a burst of economic development in the area. In April, said Miller, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a new Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s plans to build a large casino on about 150 acres of land near the La Center I-5 junction. The new ROD rescinds the original ROD issued in 2010, which was appealed by operators of the four La Center cardrooms, Clark County, the city of Vancouver, nearby property owners and the group Citizens Against Reservation Shopping. Miller said he expected the new ROD to also be appealed, and that there was “two or three years of federal litigation to go” before the casino could become a reality.

June 2013

Cowlitz: Latest ruling clears way for Cowlitz casino, but expect more legal fights - The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has the green light to build a casino on Portland’s doorstep - again. The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a ruling on Wednesday that the tribe can form its reservation on 150 acres in Clark County near the town of La Center.

Cowlitz: BIA issues new decision in favor of Cowlitz Tribe’s casino - The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a new Record of Decision (ROD) April 22 to allow the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to take nearly 152 acres of land near the La Center I-5 junction into trust for the purpose of building a mega casino.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Tribal Leaders – Part One: Cheholtz - Chief Cheholtz was the only Cowlitz Indian whose life spanned the entire nineteenth century. He was born in 1795, and died on February 19, 1911, living to the ripe old age of 116 years. He witnessed the transition of Indian to White control of the land. Note: A subscription is required to read the article.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Tribal Leaders – Part Two: Cheholtz - According to information sent to E.A. Underhill by the Hudson’s Bay Company at Winnipeg, Canada, in 1828 there were 50,000 Cowlitz Indians; the following year, 1829, only a few scattered camps remained. The ague, brought by the Whites, spread rapidly from Cowlitz village-to-village. Pioneers who arrived after 1829 found the Indians were descendants of those who had survived the terrible epidemic. When the government gave the Indians the franchise to take up homesteads, plural wives were common, and Cheholtz had two. Note: A subscription is required to read the article. Comment: The fact that Cowlitz men commonly had more than one wife should dispel the myth that the Cowlitz were matriarchal.

Cowlitz: Endangered white-tailed deer moved to a new Southwest Washington home - Twenty-seven endangered Columbian white-tailed deer are settling into a new home on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge after being rescued from possible drowning. In case the deer wander, Lapp said planning is underway with the Cowlitz Tribe and the Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife Services to make a plan to deal with any problems, "if the deer leave and start depredation on adjacent landowners."

May 2013

Cowlitz: Packwood Mountain Festival - At 1 p.m. May 5, there will be a native American drumming ceremony with Roy Wilson, the spiritual leader of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. Also on Sunday will be a drumming ceremony with the Kinswa Family dancers and singers.

Cowlitz: Eagles Return to the Wild After Being Poisoned - Six bald eagles soared back into the wild near Winlock Saturday after being rescued from the brink of death. Kelly Guerra, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, said she came from Chehalis to witness the return to the wild because of the eagle's significance to American Indians. "The eagle is revered," she said.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Early Trading Leads to Early Battles - A party of Iroquois hunters and trappers from Fort George, at the mouth of the Columbia, journeyed up the Cowlitz River in 1818. One of their party was killed because, according to records, one of the Iroquois group named Oskonton was an aggressor with a young Cowlitz girl.

April 2013

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: The Ascent Begins as Yakama Guide Leads Mount Rainier Expedition - Editor’s note: Last week, we began the journey of two white adventurers who sought to climb Mount Rainier. Gen. Hazard Stevens and Philemon Beecher Van Trump have enlisted the help of Sluiskin, a Yakama Indian who led them to the base of the mountain.

Cowlitz: Court decision doesn't change Cowlitz Tribe's plans - A recent Columbian front-page article reporting on a federal court decision about the Cowlitz Reservation -- especially the large, bold headline -- was disturbingly misleading. The Tribe's "casino plans" were not "blocked" or "thrown out" by the federal judge. Rather, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara J. Rothstein addressed a procedural matter related to how the Department of the Interior issued its decision to acquire in trust the land which will become the Tribe's reservation. The judge directed the Department of Interior to address that procedural matter and to re-issue its decision within 60 days. Related articles: Columbian: Cowlitz casino plan thrown out by federal judge | Columbian: Casino Plan is Struggling | Reflector: Judge issues ruling on Cowlitz Casino case, then reconsiders | KATU: Technicality derails latest push for Casino near La Center | TDN: Federal judge blocks Cowlitz casino plan | VBJ: Answering the question of highest & best use | VBJ: Appeals are one of many chapters in Cowlitz casino story | VBJ: Judge tosses out Cowlitz Tribe record of decision in surprising move | Reflector: Federal judge rules in favor of appeal of Cowlitz Casino decision |

Cowlitz: Endangered deer arriving at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge - Since the end of January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been transferring endangered Columbian white-tailed deer from the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge in Cathlamet to Ridgefield’s National Wildlife Refuge. The move was made after the USFWS discovered the potential failure of a dike along Steamboat Slough Road in Cathlamet brought on by changing river currents. The Cowlitz Tribe, who holds the Columbian white-tailed deer as a culturally significant species, has been working with the USFWS over the years to help recover the species and help relocation efforts.

Cowlitz-Yakama: Mount St. Helens sought for inclusion on National Register of Historic Places - Mount St. Helens was recently the subject of a petition by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. The council voted unanimously to nominate Lawetlat’la (a traditional name for the mountain) as a traditional cultural property of significance to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and Yakama Nation.

Cowlitz: Big smelt run has stretch of Columbia alive with animal activity - A mass of smelt at least 20 miles long is moving up the Columbia River, attracting thousands of birds and dozens of sea lions and seals. Smelt are plentiful in the Columbia River from around the mouth of Grays River upstream to Abernathy Creek, according to Craig Olds, the lead smelt biologist for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

Cowlitz: Toledo Should Capitalize on Its Rich History - As Toledo considers reinventing itself, I’d like to see the town tap into its rich history as home to the friendly Cowlitz tribe and the first white settlement north of Vancouver.

Cowlitz: Clark County public health director named to state Cabinet - The man at the helm of Clark County’s public health department for the last nine years will assume a new leadership role next month: Washington Secretary of Health. Gov. Jay Inslee has named Clark County Public Health Director John Wiesman to his Cabinet as the leader of the Washington State Department of Health. Wiesman points to several county-community partnerships as his biggest accomplishments in Clark County. On the top of the list is transforming Clark County’s health department into a first-responding agency through collaboration with three other counties and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

March 2013

Cowlitz: Alex Doucette, Sr. - Alex Doucette, 84, of Bothell, Wash., formerly of Waterford, passed away peacefully on Feb. 26, 2013, with his wife by his side. He was born to Lena Mae and Alex Doucette in Bellingham, Wash., on Aug. 21, 1928. Mr. Doucette joined the U.S. Navy at the tail end of Wor1d War II, serving for 24 years on active duty, including tours in Korea and Vietnam. He retired at the rank of E-8 Senior Chief. Mr. Doucette was a communicate of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Quaker Hill, a member of the Holland Club, and an elder of the Cowlitz Native Tribe in Longview, Wash. He retired from the Naval Underwater Systems Center after 25 years.

Cowlitz: Casino bid could affect other tribes - Indian casino case challenges tribe’s access to protected land - A Washington state tribe’s controversial bid to build a big casino comes to court today, in a case that’s being closely watched on and off reservations nationwide. For the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, the casino proposed near La Center is a potential economic savior. For opponents, including officials in Clark County and the nearby city of Vancouver, the proposed 152-acre gambling facility and resort is a looming burden. And for the Obama administration, as well as other tribes, the Cowlitz proposal could prove a test case whose final resolution could reach far and wide.

Cowlitz: Tribe pursuing National Registry listing for Mount St. Helens - The importance of Mount St. Helens to the history and culture of the Cowlitz and Yakama Indian tribes would get a boost under a proposal to include the volcano on the National Register of Historic Places. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Cowlitz tribe have submitted a joint nomination to recognize the volcano as a “Traditional Cultural Property of significance” to the Cowlitz and Yakama tribes.

Cowlitz: County motion in casino case denied - A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Thursday denied a motion by Clark County and other plaintiffs to throw out a revised opinion that had reaffirmed the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's right to establish a reservation and build a casino west of La Center. After denying the motion, the judge set a briefing schedule in advance of a trial on the issue of whether the tribe should be entitled to take the land into trust.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson -- Census Taking and Racial Bias - An event in the 1870 census taking reveals an interesting story. Cecelia Bercier, a Cowlitz woman, is listed with a “W” for white. But an examination of the “W” reveals that it was sloppily superimposed over an “I” for Indian, which occurred in 47 other places on the Lewis County rolls. The census taker was “beefing up” the territory’s white citizenship count in order to meet the population requirements for statehood.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson -- The Yakama Guide Who Led the First Rainier Ascent - The historic expedition of Gen. Hazard Stevens and Philemon Beecher Van Trump to climb Mount Rainier in August 1870 has its connections with the Cowlitz country and its people.

Cowlitz: Deer relocation to Ridgefield scheduled to begin this week - Relocation of up to 50 Columbian white-tailed deer from Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is to begin this week. The deer are being moved to save them from potential loss due to the impending failure of a dike between the Hansen refuge and Columbia River. The Fish and Wildlife Service will capture and move the deer with help from the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife and the Cowlitz Tribe.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: The Cowlitz Corridor, Part 2: Over Land or by Boat, Travel Was Tough in the 1850s - Governor Simpson noted that the salmon entered the Cowlitz River in the autumn on their way from the sea, but never in the spring. The emerging American enterprises developing along the Lower Cowlitz River in the 1850s offered the members of the tribe new means of subsistence. In 1845, John Jackson and Michael Simmons opened up a road from Vancouver to Olympia known as the Cowlitz Trail.

February 2013

Cowlitz: Leonard 'Jim' Janke - Leonard James Janke, 76, of Longview passed away Jan. 13, 2013, at the Hospice Care Center after a long battle with cancer. Jim was a member of the National Rifle Association, the Oregon-California Trail Association and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. His great-great-great-great-grandfather was Chief Scanewa and his great-great-great-grandfather was Simon Plamondon.

January 2013

Cowlitz: Clyde O. Edwards - Cowlitz Indian Tribe Elder Clyde Owen Edwards, 85, of Longview passed away Jan. 3, 2013, at St. John Medical Center. He was born Oct. 16, 1927, in Tacoma and was raised in Ryderwood. Clyde was a lifelong local resident, known by many nicknames, including "Shoulders." He took great pride in his Indian heritage and enjoyed award winning drum making and bead work.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Dour Scotsman Was Captivated by This Wild Country - David Douglas, a Scotchman, arrived at the Hudson’s Bay Co. in Astoria in 1840. He was not interested in the fur trade or for new territory for his government. He was a botanist, and he came to examine the things that grew in the heavily forested Cowlitz region. Note: A subscription is required to read this article on the Centralia Chronicle website.

Cowlitz: Tacoma Mall protest aimed at highlighting controversy in Canada - Protesters beat hide drums and sang coastal tribal songs during a flash demonstration Wednesday in the Tacoma Mall to support First Nations peoples who are lobbying Canada’s government. “We’re trying to stand strong in solidarity in support of our First Nations people,” said organizer Cathleen Lombard of Puyallup, a member of Washington’s Cowlitz tribe. “We don’t see a border; we’re all like one people.”

Cowlitz: Malicious Racist Attack on the Cowlitz Indian Tribe - Thursday, January 3, 2013, KATU in Portland, Ore, published an online report questioning the legitimacy of the enrollment of certain members of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. - Updated January 12, 2013

Cowlitz: State, federal money to boost regional fish habitat projects - Last week, the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced that it was awarding $19 million in grants statewide to improve habitat for wild fish that are on the endangered species list. In Cowlitz County the Tribe will work on several projects on Abernathy Creek.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: The Black Robes, Part 1: First Catholic Priest Had a Harrowing Journey to Western Washington - The Hudson’s Bay Company wanted to be alone in the Columbia area. Sharing the territory with others could threaten the monopoly on the fur trade that the company enjoyed. Chief Factor John McLoughlin felt that he had all the civilization he wanted at Fort Vancouver and he was not enthusiastic, therefore, when French Canadians in the Willamette Valley petitioned the Bishop of Juliopolis at St. Boniface of the Red River in the late 1830s to send in a priest or two. It was decided to establish the first mission on the Cowlitz River, instead of the Willamette Valley. As the Catholic missionaries moved westward across the land, Native American Indian people identified and referred to them as “The Black Robes.”

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: The Black Robes Part Two: Creation of Catholic Ladder - On Dec. 12, 1838, Father Blanchet took Augustine Rochon, the only personal servant that had been allowed him, and set out in a canoe with four Indian paddlers. They floated down the river to the mouth of the swift Cowlitz River, and then went up this stream until they reached Cowlitz Prairie. Here were located the Hudson Bay Company’s extensive farms managed by Simon Plamondon, assisted by five farmers. The first Indian tribe in Western Washington that Father Blanchet worked with was the Cowlitz; therefore, the first Catholic Church in Western Washington was built near Cowlitz Landing.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: The Black Robes, Part 3: Life and Death - Father Modeste Demers described one of the ancient Cowlitz customs with regard to burial. “They scarcely allowed the eyes of the sick man to close before they are covered with aikwa, a kind of shell they use for money; he is clad in his best clothes and wrapped in a blanket; four posts are driven into the ground; in these posts holes are bored, through which sticks are passed, upon which is placed the canoe destined to receive the corpse placed in file with his ancestors.

December 2012

Cowlitz: Lt. Wilkes Was Impressed With Female Cowlitz Chief, by Roy I. Rochon Wilson - Lt. Charles Wilkes, born in New York City in 1798, commanded an exploring and surveying expedition on the Pacific Coast 1838-1842, which ultimately took him to the Antarctic Continent. In 1841 he journeyed up the Columbia and the Cowlitz Rivers, and visited the Puget Sound Agricultural Company’s farm at Cowlitz Landing. Murray Morgan relates an encounter between members of the Wilkes’ Expedition and a “Squaw Chief.” They negotiated with a female chief for a horse to use on their portage.

Cowlitz: Health officials working to improve kids' flu vaccination rates - Cowlitz County health officials are hoping more kids are immunized against the flu this season, but they acknowledge they’re fighting an unfounded fear factor. The Cowlitz Indian Tribal Health Clinic vaccinated 31 percent of its pediatric population, while the Child & Adolescent Clinic immunized only 30 percent of its patients, according to the Health Department. - Dr. Joseph Mercola: Analysis Finds Flu Vaccine Efficacy Lacking, as Flu Vaccines are Suspended Across Europe and Canada

Cowlitz: Living history portrayals, key note speech highlight Native American observance - Living history portrayals of some of the most famous Native Americans in history and a key note speech by the highest ranking enlisted Native American soldier in the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Sgt. Lester Day, highlighted Regional Command-South’s National Native American Heritage Month Observance here on Nov. 22. Day, whose personal Native American heritage stems from the Cowlitz Tribe in northern Washington, noted it is no coincidence that the National Native American Heritage Month Observance is in the same month as Thanksgiving.

November 2012

Cowlitz: State's newest ferries won't carry 'Cowlitz' name - Despite a last-minute push for Southwest Washington parity, the name “Cowlitz” missed its chance to grace a state ferry Tuesday. In a unanimous vote, the State Transportation Commission selected “Tokitae” and “Samish” as the names for the state’s two newest ferries.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson Commentary: The Tragic Destruction of Coffin Rock - The story of Coffin Rock, which once was and no longer exists, is the story of a great tragedy. It was a 225-foot mound of black basalt on the north bank of the Columbia River, three miles downstream from the mouth of the Cowlitz River. This rock had long been a landmark to the Indians of the area, and was noticed by the American and British explorers who first traveled the river. Five months after Yankee Captain Robert Gray discovered and named the Columbia in May 1792, Lt. William Broughton of the British Navy traveled up the river for 100 miles, naming geographical features along the way. He called the rock Mount Coffin.

October 2012

Cowlitz: La Center files casino brief; City says it's not taking sides, but offering insight - While the federal lawsuit challenging a proposed reservation and casino in Clark County has lived up to expectations that it will at least stall the project for years, the city of La Center has stepped up and filed a brief to give the judge its perspective. January will mark two years since the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. A date for oral arguments has yet to be set. "The proposed reservation currently abuts the city limits of the city of La Center. The city has recognized that it potentially has an important role to play, if the proposed reservation is upheld. That role would potentially benefit the city, the tribe, and the East Fork of the Lewis River," attorneys for La Center wrote.

Cowlitz: U.S. still backs a Cowlitz casino - After being denied a request to temporarily halt court proceedings, attorneys for the federal government went ahead and issued a revised opinion this week, reaffirming the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's right to establish a reservation in Clark County and build a casino.

Cowlitz: 'Cowlitz' among finalists for state ferry names - The names of colorful seafood chain founder Ivar Haglund and the orca Tokitae are among the seven possibilities under consideration for two new Washington state ferries, a state agency said Thursday. The five other candidates — Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot, Samish and Sammamish — follow the more traditional route of tribal names and words carried by most of the 23 ferries already in service on Puget Sound.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson Commentary: Seeking Spirit Power Was a True Quest - The Cowlitz sent girls as well as boys into the mountains to seek their personal spirit power, their tomanawas. When a girl went, they sent her into the mountains and she took her work, perhaps a basket. They told her, “You must work yonder at the end of the mountain; you will make your basket, you will sit facing the sunrise, and then it may address you.” When an Upper Cowlitz boy was sent into the mountains for his vision quest, he would first spend the night in the sacred lodge with his elders, and then in the middle of the night he would go with them to the sweat lodge.

Cowlitz: Barbara Ann Kinswa Smith Lindholm - Barbara A. Lindholm, 68, beloved friend, sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother passed away at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 due to complications from treatment for a brain tumor via small cell lung cancer. Barb, a member of the Cowlitz Tribe, was born in Tacoma on July 31, 1944 to Josephine and Issac Kinswa.

Cowlitz: Ronald Eli Le Garde Sr. - Ron Le Garde Sr. passed away peacefully at his home. Ron was born in Shelton, Wash., to Harold and Caroline Le Garde on April 2, 1933. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. Ron worked and retired from Puget Sound Log Scaling and Grading Bureau after 33 years of service. He was a proud member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

Cowlitz: Inevitability of Cowlitz Casino now in question? - There’s no question the leadership of the Cowlitz Tribe and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority still believe it’s inevitable that the project will be built. They may be right. But, there’s also no question the legal team representing those making the appeal believe that the federal government has no choice but to rescind its 2010 decision or else proceed with a losing case due to the failure to address the key historic materials. A glimpse into which side is right may come as early as this week when the Department of Justice reveals its response to the judge’s deadline. Stay tuned.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson: Get-Togethers Included Bone Games, Marriages and Races - Hundreds of people would gather at summer food gathering camps, where tribal members not only gathered food, but also enjoyed such activities as visiting, horse-racing, bone games, trade and exchange, and arranging marriages. Gambling certainly involved transfers of goods from tribe to tribe. The Cowlitz maintained inter-tribal relationships, and married freely with adjoining tribes, even with the Chinooks, who were their longstanding rivals. The Lower and Upper Cowlitz were not on good terms with the tribes on the coast and did not like to go there to trade.

Cowlitz: Watershed Restoration, the New Job Growth Sector - It’s late August on Abernathy Creek in western Washington State and a construction crew is awhirl hauling wood to replace log jams that have been absent from this stream for decades — all part of an effort to reconnect the stream with its floodplain. After each frequent rainstorm here in the Northwest, sediment clouds the water and the swift, rutted channel leaves few places for young fish to find refuge or returning salmon to spawn. The crew is supported by the local Cowlitz Tribe and a number of other public and private partners who hope to reset the system’s natural ecological processes and see salmon return in higher numbers.

September 2012

Cowlitz: Feds seek to revisit casino decision - In a surprising twist in the federal legal battle over the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's proposal to build a casino near La Center, the federal government asked a judge to temporarily halt the proceedings in order to reconsider its initial determination that the tribe could establish a reservation. The request was made after federal attorneys acknowledged they never received key documents that had been submitted by local opponents to the tribe's proposal. U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts denied the request, however, and ordered the federal government to decide by Oct. 5 whether it wants to proceed in defending itself in court or rescind the Bureau of Indian Affairs' 2010 decision.

Cowlitz: Federal judge imposes deadline as Cowlitz Tribe and BIA lose momentum - Fortunately for Clark County residents who want to maintain the community's high quality of life, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe's proposal for a mega-casino near La Center has encountered yet another obstacle, this one placed by the federal agency that tribal officials have long hoped would champion their cause. As we've learned recently, the Bureau of Indian Affairs either lost or never reviewed important historical documents provided by casino opponents.

Cowlitz: Berries, Salmon, Elk and Camas Fed Our People, By Roy I. Rochon Wilson - The Cowlitz lived on streams and were good fishermen. They were also good hunters who followed the dear at all seasons. Salmon was the tribe’s principal food, while venison was the principal flesh food. Elk were easily driven at the season when they herded and a single hunter would pursue the elk with the aid of two or three dogs. Besides deer and elk, they hunted bear, the big horn mountain goat, beaver, mountain beaver, and raccoon. Much of the meat would be dried for winter. The sinew would be saved for thread with which to sew the hides that were tanned. The teeth were saved for decoration, and the beaver fur for trim.

Cowlitz: Management Group Plans Huckleberry Project - A local group has a plan to restore huckleberry fields in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest which may help commercial timber harvesting return to the forest. The Pinchot Partners, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on ecosystem management and creating local jobs, has collaborated with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the U.S. Forest Service to develop a huckleberry enhancement project.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson - Where and How the Cowlitz Lived - The Upper Cowlitz villages were numerous and relatively small. They extended far upriver, nearly to Mount Rainier, this being possible because of the nature of their valley and the fact that Mount Rainier is an isolated peak rising from a low base, not a high point on a mountain range. Nearly everything that has been said about the Upper Cowlitz applies also to the Lewis River Cowlitz. They too, were Taidnapam Sahaptin of speech. In geography and ecology their habitat was comparable in nearly all respects.

August 2012

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson - Inside the Longhouses: Fires and Smoke But No Fleas - Most Cowlitz permanent winter quarters were constructed with red cedar planking. The sleeping areas were down the two sides of the longhouse, and the cooking fires were down the center. The size of a longhouse was known by its number of fires. Each cooking fire would accommodate two families, one family on each side of the longhouse; hence, a five-fire longhouse could accommodate 10 families, and a nine-fire longhouse could accommodate 18 families.

Cowlitz: Sen. Murray talks with local abuse victims - Ramping up for a struggle over the Violence Against Women Act, Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray heard painful stories from survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as she visited YWCA Clark County on Wednesday morning. The Democrats’ plan includes provisions to ensure gay and lesbian people are covered under the act; that American Indians are better able to prosecute non-Indian attackers who commit crimes on tribal land; and that a higher number of temporary visas are available to immigrants who want to stay in the U.S. to help law enforcement prosecute their attackers. The Republican plan is similar to that of Democrats’ but it does not include those additional provisions. On Wednesday representatives from Cowlitz Indian Tribe stressed the need for the language in the Democrats’ reauthorization proposal. Tribal leaders have the authority to go after Indian perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, but they cannot prosecute non-Indian abusers who commit crimes on tribal land. Comment: Would this language include perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence against men and boys? And what about other crimes? This is a sovereignty issue that needs to be dealt with separately, and not bundled with the sexist Violence Against Women Act.

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson Commentary: Driving a Local Highway? It Was Probably Once an Indian Trail - There was a network of numerous trans-mountain trails, kept open by the neighboring peoples for the purpose of inter-tribal trade, ceremonialism, gambling, and visiting. Most of the east-west trans-Cascadian traffic across the Gifford Pinchot area either went south of Mt. Adams or was funneled through the Cispus, White, Cowlitz, Tieton and other passes. The two main routes were the Klickitat trail to the south, and the Cowlitz trail to the north. The ways of the Cowlitz and the Yakamas differed greatly. They constituted two quite separate cultural areas due to greatly contrasting environments. This was one of the attractions of travel: seeing another way of life, visiting a foreign country.

Cowlitz: Cowlitz Covered the Miles in Canoes and Horses - The Cowlitz lived in villages along the river banks; therefore, their original form of transportation was the canoe. The Cowlitz used canoes of different styles. They were masters of river navigation.

July 2012

Cowlitz: Roy I. Rochon Wilson Commentary: We Made Spears From Elk Horns and Nets From Cedar Bark - The Cowlitz relied much on fishing and digging of the camas. Their tools reflected this diversity. The women would take the bark of the cedar tree and make rope which had many uses. Many times the rope was used to make nets that were used to catch fish and birds. Some of the nets were used for the making of dip nets, and others for the use of gill nets. The men would take small stones and drill holes through them using sand as the cutting edge and a piece of wood (similar to an arrow shaft) for the bit and handle.

Cowlitz: Native-Americans Descend On Vancouver In Ceremony - Dozens of Native-Americans from the Cowlitz tribe landed on the shores of Fort Vancouver in a traditional canoelanding celebration on Tuesday. Tanna Engdahl, a Cowlitz descent, stood at the shore with a smile, while watching almost two dozen people carried an 800 pound canoe. “This journey is to remember that time our ancestors had of freedom of all the waterways, and it is to commemorate, not only the past, but the fact that all the descendants are alive and thriving and proud of their heritage, their tradition, their lifeway and their legacy,” she said. Note: Tanna Engdahl is a tribal leader and elder.

Cowlitz: The Languages: History of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe - The four divisions, or bands, of the Cowlitz Tribe were the consequence of geographic, historical and linguistic factors. The study of the linguistic factors is quite interesting because the Cowlitz Tribe was unusual, although not unique, in having divisions differing in language: Salishan and Sahaptin. The Cowlitz was the southernmost of the Salish speaking tribes living in Western Washington and British Columbia. By the time the white men arrived on the scene, the Cowlitz were multi-lingual speaking two different dialects of the Salish, the Taidnapam dialect of the Sahaptin, and the intertribal trade language — the Chinook Jargon. With the coming of the white man they found it necessary to also learn to speak English and French. Why were they considered by many to be dumb, ignorant savages?

Cowlitz: Taunton casino’s fate tied to landless tribe’s legal battle - In 2010, the Cowlitz Indians, a landless tribe in the Pacific Northwest, celebrated a long-fought victory after finally persuading the federal government to take 152 acres in Washington state into trust as the tribe’s reservation. The Cowlitz had grand plans for their land: a gambling resort with 3,000 slots and Las Vegas-style table games, a hotel and RV park, restaurants, and retail stores. But two years later the project is on hold, frozen by federal lawsuits challenging the government’s right to take land into the trust for the tribe. Tribal gambling can take place only on sovereign Indian land, and until the lawsuits are resolved the tribe is technically still landless. The travails of the Cowlitz are resonating across the country, all the way to Taunton, where another landless tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag, was last week celebrating its own incremental victory in an effort to build a resort casino. The fates of the tribes may be related: The Mashpee Wampanoag are following the Cowlitz blueprint for getting trust land.

Cowlitz: The Long View: History of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe - “Cowlitz” Means “The People Who Seek Their Medicine Spirit” The concept of defining sharp boundaries in order to set off the territory of one group from that of another is typical of Anglo-Americans, but it is a foreign concept to Native Americans. They had loosely defined use areas, and the territory of one group would often heavily overlap with those of others. The following boundaries are to be understood in a general sense as the basic use areas of the four Cowlitz Tribal bands.

Cowlitz: 32 tribal casinos statewide ... and counting? - The plaintiffs will file a brief explaining why they should win, the defendants will file a brief explaining why they should win, and then each side can respond. If the judge still wants to go on to oral arguments, that's his prerogative. The plaintiffs -- which include Clark County and the city of Vancouver -- have fired the first volley.

June 2012

Cowlitz: Cowlitz Elects New President in 1937 - On June 14, 1937, The Centralia Daily Chronicle reported the Cowlitz Tribe held their annual meeting at the Moose Hall in Chehalis, with part of their time spent electing a new president. J.B. Sareault, president, had died last winter, and his son James E. Sareault was elected president. Others elected were Lewis Castama, Silver Creek, vice president, and Mrs. Margaret Ray, Oakville, secretary-treasurer. “Before the white man came to the northwest, the Cowlitz tribe had as their territory over 4,000 square miles which comprised land west of the Cascade mountains, north of the Columbia river, south of Puget Sound and east of the coast range,” the newspaper wrote.

Cowlitz: Tribe Does Not Want Reservation in 1912 - On June 12, 1912, The Centralia Weekly Chronicle reported the Cowlitz Tribe did not want to move onto a reservation far from their homeland. “The Cowlitz Indians are opposed to accepting land and settling on the Quinault reservation, this decision having been practically reached at a meeting of the tribe which was concluded in Chehalis yesterday,” the newspaper wrote.

Cowlitz: Crafts of the Past - Judy Bridges, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, is descended from five fur traders and their Native American wives. Her baskets use both traditional and modern materials. She has been teaching and demonstrating basketry over 12 years. Besides demonstrating such basketry techniques as plaiting, twining and coiling, Judy will teach cordage making using various natural materials. Saturday, June 23 – Sunday, June 24, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma.

Cowlitz: Corps: No EIS for Toutle River spillway project - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will proceed with a plan to raise its Toutle River sediment retaining dam 10 feet this summer and will not do a full environmental impact study of the project, the agency announced Friday. Fish advocates, including the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, had asked the corps to conduct a study and to consider other alternatives to control the flow of silt in the river.

Cowlitz: Don't dismiss flood threat, courtesy of Mount St. Helens - Flood protection along the Cowlitz River isn't as good as it needs to be, particularly in Castle Rock and Lexington. Tribal officials have said the corps shouldn't be in a hurry to raise the spillway until there's a better long-range plan for bringing anadromous fish back to the North Fork Toutle. We're glad that the corps is moving ahead. We don't oppose efforts to improve spawning runs, but flood safety has to come first — and eventually both goals can be accomplished.

Cowlitz: Cowlitz People Thank Salmon For Life - Voices rose in unison with drum song as a fragrant fire hissed and glowed Sunday morning at the point where Olequa Creek and the Cowlitz River come together. Members of the Cowlitz Tribe and their friends stood on the banks of the river, waiting to sing and celebrate the arrival of the salmon in an ancient ceremony.

May 2012

Cowlitz: Corps of Engineers presses ahead with plan to raise Toutle River spillway - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sticking to its plan to raise the spillway of its Toutle River sediment-retaining dam, rebuffing calls by the Cowlitz Indian tribe and others for a full environmental impact study of the flood-control project. "Based on our analysis, we have come to the conclusion that there are no significant (environmental) impacts," Tim Kuhn, coordinator of the corps' Mount St. Helens flood control effort, said Tuesday. Comment: I read the Corps of Engineers preliminary report on the SRS. It stated that the SRS was doomed to fail. When I asked why the SRS was built, I was told the decision was made by politicians. If they follow through with plans to raise it a total of 30', it will destroy what is left of the wild salmon run, there.

Cowlitz: Cowlitz tribe takes ownership of I-5 sculptures - The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has taken ownership of the towering steel and wooden monuments located along Interstate 5 outside of Toledo, after the 2010 death of their creator, quirky Seattle millionaire Dominic Gospodor. Note: Thanks to tribal member Don Ryan.

Cowlitz: Kudos to Cowlitz Tribe for Taking Over Monument - Of the many stories I’ve encountered over the years at The Chronicle, the tale of the Gospodor Monuments is one of the most unusual and memorable. An eccentric Seattle millionaire, a bafflingly unique artistic vision and hundreds of feet of tubular steel topped with glowing sculptures. From a journalist’s perspective, what’s not to like?

Cowlitz: James Anaya Hears Testimony on Domestic Violence in Seattle - My name is Pamela Stearns. I am an enrolled member of the Tlingit nation. I am Eagle/Shark (Wooshekeetaan Clan). My Tlingit name is “Tlingsei.” I am here today as President of CANOES (City of Seattle Native Employees) whose mission is to raise awareness and issues that are important to Native Americans and indigenous nations within the City of Seattle. I am here to urge the [United Nations] to speak for the VAWA – Violence Against Women Act. Comment: Stearns' story is very moving. But the old adage that two wrongs don’t make a right applies. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is sexist and ineffective. For that reason, it should be replaced with a Family Violence Act that addresses the total problem and treats all perpetrators, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

Cowlitz: Agencies, tribe join to track the strength of the once-abundant smelt runs, now listed as threatened - Scientists from two state agencies and a tribe this spring are testing the waters of the Columbia and Sandy rivers, gathering evidence on the abundance and presence of smelt. The agencies involved are the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which in 2007 initiated the threatened listing with the federal government.

April 2012

Cowlitz: ODFW Research Targets Columbia Eulachon - Since NOAA Fisheries listed eulachons for protection under the ESA on May 17, 2010, biologists have begun taking a closer look at them and what it will take to protect the species. Biologists are now generating population estimates by measuring smelt eggs and larvae, which are collected at multiple points along the Columbia River from Bonneville dam downstream 105 miles to Westport. The Cowlitz Tribe, which originally filed the petition asking the federal government to list smelt under the ESA, is also cooperating in smelt research.

Cowlitz: Long-time instructor dies; Lee Rhodes taught biology and microbiology from 1969-1988 at Saddleback College - Memorial services were held for Dr. Lee W. Rhodes, a long-time Saddleback College instructor, trustee and vice president of the South Orange County Community College District board. He passed away on February 11, 2012. As an elder of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Lee served as tribal historian.

Cowlitz: Tribe opposes Toutle River sediment project - The Cowlitz Indian tribe says a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to raise the spillway of its Toutle River sediment-retaining dam by 10 feet could have serious consequences for endangered salmon and steelhead. In a March 21 letter to the corps, tribal chairman William Iyall says the project could be "potentially devastating" and the impacts would be "adverse, significant, and irreversible." Shannon Wills, a biologist for the tribe, said Monday the Cowlitz want to preserve part of their cultural identity. "We are a salmon tribe," Wills said. "This is our cultural heritage. How can you be a salmon people if you don't have a salmon?" Comment: Chairman Iyall is a professional civil engineer who knows a great deal about such projects, while Wills has moved heaven and earth to restore the salmon run there, even drafting volunteers to help. The problem is not the silt, but human interference that has forced it to accumulate. Volcanic silt has a place in the habitat to feed the oceans and sustain the beaches, but it also has commercial value in cement, ceramics, filtration systems and more. Both have been ignored, with destructive consequences for fish and humans. Raising the dam will only prolong the pain and increase the harm.

Cowlitz: Bond savings cut rents at county health center - Clark County, which recently refinanced bonds, will lower rents for six tenants at the Center for Community Health. Collectively, tenants will save just over $826,000 between now and 2016. The non-county service providers include Cowlitz Indian Tribe Health and Human Service Department and Telecare.

Cowlitz: Cowlitz River smelt data suggest run may be rebounding - There are indications that the run is rebounding...But that doesn't mean dipping for the once-plentiful fish will be reinstated any time soon. Researchers for Washington, Oregon and the Cowltz Tribe are in the second year of research projects about smelt and still have years of study to do before developing a reliable way to count the oily fish. The states are focusing on smelt in the Columbia River while the tribe, fittingly, is doing much of its work in the Cowlitz River.

March 2012

Cowlitz: Species on the brink; Biologist works to crack the mystery of what happened to the Sandy River smelt - These days, the once-abundant Pacific smelt – officially known by the Chinook word “eulachon” – is officially a threatened species in danger of becoming extinct. Washington state’s Cowlitz Indians successfully lobbied to have the southern eulachon listed as threatened in 2010 under the umbrella of the federal Endangered Species Act, identifying the species as in danger of becoming extinct. The Cowlitz Tribe has received a three-year grant to study the Columbia River tributaries, such as the Sandy River, where the eulachon often go to spawn. Craig Olds, a eulachon biologist working with the Cowlitz Indians, said his team of six people is surveying the Sandy River and 11 other rivers in southwest Washington.

Cowlitz: Port of Kalama Plans Kalama Interpretive Center to House Community’s Rich History and 140 Year Transportation Legacy - Exhibits will track Kalama’s first inhabitants, the Cowlitz Tribe and the settlers that followed over the next 100 plus years including renowned Oregon Trail writer Ezra Meeker. he Kalama Interpretive Center will not only tell the story of how Kalama was settled, but treat visitors to artful display models and replicas including a handcrafted canoe carved from a cedar log by Cowlitz artisan Robert Harjeu,

Cowlitz: Corps' Toutle River spillway now open to public comment - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday began accepting public comments on its plan to raise the spillway of its Toutle River sediment-retaining dam by 10 feet. The Cowlitz Indian tribe and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have expressed concern the raising the spillway could block fish headed upriver. To address that, the raised section of spillway will be “notched” to make sure there is enough water for fish during low flow periods.

February 2012

Cowlitz: Artifacts hinder Ridgefield land sale; Real estate experts say down market drag on property - In an area the Cowlitz Indian Tribe called home for thousands of years sits Mabel Parvi’s retirement nest egg, untouched. Her attempts to sell her land have been slowed by the artifacts’ presence, she said. "To discard that would be a tragedy," said Bill Iyall, chairman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which has lived in the Ridgefield area for thousands of years. The idea artifacts are pushing down the value of Parvi’s land is questionable, said Dick Riley of Vancouver-based Riley & Marks Appraisal Firm. It is entirely possible two other factors the recession and the presence of developed properties are driving Parvi’s land price down, Riley said. There are developed properties available on the market. Thus, people are less willing to invest the time and money to build on undeveloped lots, he explained.

Cowlitz: Tribe Receives Nearly $2 Million for Housing - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the Cowlitz Tribal housing authority $1,979,873. HUD awarded $33,428,515 in Indian Housing Block Grant allocations to 25 tribes in Washington. The awards are part of some $404 million distributed across the country. IHBC still has $250 million to allocate to Native American communities nationwide this year.

Cowlitz: Discovery of artifacts delays Ridgefield park work - A Ridgefield parks project is on hold after archaeological workers discovered pieces of the city’s past buried underneath the proposed site, city officials said. One month after Portland-based Archaeological Investigations Northwest labeled Overlook Park a "significant site" for Native American artifacts, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation have yet to decide whether excavation is warranted or changes to the city’s project design are needed. Archaeologists reviewed Overlook Park for pieces of fire-cracked rock used to cook and also material used as tools by the Chinook, Cowlitz and other tribes, said AINW’s Jo Reese in November.

January 2012

Cowlitz: Skeet Jensen didn’t let a dumping of snow stop him from bringing three canoes into Tacoma Art Museum - Skeet Jensen didn’t let a dumping of snow stop him from bringing three canoes into Tacoma Art Museum. Jensen was the man responsible for organizing the three canoes now proudly greeting visitors to the museum’s airy lobby, one each for the Cowlitz, Muckleshoot and Puyallup tribes.

Cowlitz: Large spring chinook runs predicted, sturgeon season could be cut short - Anglers can look forward to a big run of spring chinook, with one of the largest returns in recent years predicted. However, sturgeon fishing seasons will be shortened again this year because of a continuing drop in the population size. Smelt were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in May of 2010, and this is the second year in which no commercial or sport smelt-dipping will be allowed. Biologists for the states and the Cowlitz tribe are researching smelt in the Columbia and its tributaries, trying to develop a better way to estimate the population size.

Cowlitz: MTGA's financial house of card - Jeers: To the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s financial house of cards. The Connecticut-based group, which has partnered with the Cowlitz Tribe in an effort to develop a large casino near La Center, faces a March deadline to restructure nearly half of its $1.6 billion debt. So far, its efforts have been unsuccessful, and the tribal gaming authority’s CEO says finding new financing is "an extremely complicated process." We hope members of the Cowlitz Tribe will look at the Mohegan example and realize that tying their economic future to gambling is a risk not worth taking.

Cowlitz-Suquamish: After half-century of doubt, KC area man solves ancestral mystery - Washington Children’s Home Society, March 21, 1941, Dear Rev. & Mrs. Samuelson, We are wondering if you might not be interested in a seven month old baby boy. He is of French, Scotch (black ink mars this portion of the letter) descent. That baby is now 71 years old. Nearly 50 years on his quest to unravel the truth, he can fill in the scratched-out blank. He is Justin Orr, former executive director of the Heart of America Indian Center in Kansas City. And he is of the Snohomish and Cowlitz nations of the Pacific Northwest.

Cowlitz: Debt still burdens Mohegan gaming; Proposal for a Cowlitz casino is as secure as ever - The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the Connecticut-based group that is working with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to build a casino near La Center, has not been able to restructure its debt yet remains committed to the Cowlitz project. The authority has more than $1.6 billion in debt. About half of it comes due in March. CEO Mitchell Etess told The Day, a newspaper in southeastern Connecticut, that the authority has been "working extremely hard to get (the refinancing) done. It’s an extremely complicated process." During a conference call, Etess said they have spent approximately $40 million on the Cowlitz project and remain committed. Cowlitz Chairman William Iyall said Friday that he shares the same concerns the authority does about the debt, but said it’s not unusual considering the economy.

Cowlitz: New research is needed in Washington about the problems of gambling addiction - The local impact of this issue is clear. Four cardrooms have operated for years in La Center. The Cowlitz Tribe wants to open a megacasino on Interstate 5 near La Center. And the Oak Tree Casino opened recently as a cardroom in Woodland. At the state level, the growth of gambling has been significant; it’s now a $2.5 billion industry. Washington state has 28 tribal casinos. The number of cardrooms has climbed to 61. Also, there are 1,043 commercial pull tab operations and 234 bingo halls. So more research is needed. If officials at casinos and cardrooms suspect the problem is no worse than it was in 1999, they should welcome a study that proves the point. At any rate, it’s time to find out.

Cowlitz: Challenge to tribe is shameful - Those participating in the Clark County challenge of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk’s decision should be ashamed of themselves. Have any of these holier-than-thou warmongers even bothered to research the U.S. history of the Cowlitz Tribe? History clearly evidences the vital roll the Cowlitz played in the development of the Pacific Northwest. By challenging the decisions, Clark County is saying the Cowlitz were not formally under federal jurisdiction in 1934 and that in 1920 the state of Washington’s issuance of ID cards to the Cowlitz did not happen. And that in 1855, the Cowlitz Tribe was not assured by the U.S. government that the tribe would be provided with a reservation if they did not join the fighting. The Cowlitz Nation complied, however, the government’s assurance of a Cowlitz reservation apparently fell by the bureaucratic wayside … and continues to do so.

December 2011

Cowlitz: Local counties receive several grants to improve fish habitats - Several groups that work to improve habitat for endangered fish have been awarded more than $1 million for projects in Cowlitz County. Clark County projects on the Lewis River total $925,383 and money for work in Wahkiakum County totals $361,505. Cowlitz County: Reshaping Abernathy Creek, $486,305. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will will excavate channels through an abandoned roadbed to restore full connectivity between the creek and its floodplain, and place logjams in the creek to increase habitat and the river to meander. The tribe will contribute $85,819 in donations of cash, labor and materials.

Cowlitz: Tribe denies claims by plaintiffs in lawsuit; Federal approval of reservation near La Center challenged - The Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which earlier this year filed as an intervenor in Clark County’s lawsuit against the federal government over the decision to allow the tribe to establish a reservation near La Center, has filed its answer to the claims made by plaintiffs. U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts has set an initial scheduling conference for Feb. 10. During the conference, attorneys will agree on a timeline for how the case will proceed.

Cowlitz: La Center council members approve sewer agreement with Tribe - Members of the La Center City Council voted 4-1 at a Dec. 14 meeting to approve a $14 million sewer agreement between the City and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. The agreement would allow the City to provide sewer service to the Cowlitz Tribe’s proposed casino near the La Center I-5 junction. No citizens offered testimony during the public comment period prior to the vote taken at the Dec. 14 meeting. John Bockmier, a Vancouver consultant who represents La Center’s four existing card rooms spoke againat it, and Phil Harju, the vice chairman of the Cowlitz Tribe, spoke for it.

Cowlitz: La Center council approves sewer agreement - Contingent on a federal court’s ruling on whether the tribe can use 152 acres of land to build a proposed casino, the La Center City Council gave the go-ahead Wednesday night to a 20-year, multimillion-dollar sewer agreement between the city and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.

Cowlitz: On casino, feds disregard state laws - In the case of the proposed Cowlitz tribe casino in the La Center area, there is no functional reservation at that site. The right to allow a casino at the location was created out of thin air by unethical partnerships and officials.

Cowlitz: Clark County groups receive $925,383 for fish projects - The Cowlitz Tribe will use $401,730 to place logs and jams into two side channels of the North Fork of the Lewis River, remove invasive plants along the bank, and replant the area with native trees and shrubs. The tribe will contribute $91,400 from a local grant and donation of labor and materials.

Cowlitz: The real story of 'Treasure of the Coweeman' - A fictional story based on actual events about Civil War gold.

Cowlitz: Mashpee tribe focuses on July casino deadline - The Cowlitz tribe was able to establish it had a relationship with the federal government that preceded the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 cited in the high court ruling. "The Cowlitz tribe was federally recognized as a tribe in 2002 based on evidence of a continuous political existence since at least 1885," the decision states.

Cowlitz: Time to Give to Walk-N-Knock, Historical Museum

Cowlitz: Possibility of artifacts halts work on Ridgefield park

November 2011

Cowlitz: Correction: La Center sewer expansion

Cowlitz: La Center delays vote on Cowlitz sewer deal

Cowlitz: Cowlitz Silver Salmon Run Could Set Record

Cowlitz: La Center, Tribe agree on sewer deal: Before any lines laid, federal court must rule on casino lawsuit

Cowlitz: Irish elected for third term as La Center mayor

Cowlitz: Tribe leader to speak at historical museum

Cowlitz: Tribe, Lewis County Agree to Share Sewage Treatment Plant at Toledo Airport

Cowlitz: Irish, Van Dinter battle for Mayor

October 2011

Cowlitz Webmaster Starts News Aggregate Site

Vader mayor, council face rocky road ahead

Cardrooms support Van Dinter


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Rod Van Mechelen, Publisher & Editor, Cowlitz Country News

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