Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Swinomish
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January 2014

Swinomish: Kwiáht partners with federal conservation service initiative - The Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior have announced that Kwiáht is one of 91 organizations nationwide approved so far to help implement the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing our country’s natural and cultural resources. Kwiáht also recently launched a joint program with the Swinomish Tribe growing camas, a traditional Coast Salish food crop.

Swinomish: Insurer argues bones unearthing isn’t covered for Oak Harbor - An insurance company filed a complaint for declaratory relief in U.S. District Court this week against the City of Oak Harbor and an engineering firm. Travelers Insurance argues that it has no obligation to provide coverage to the city or Perteet, Inc. in connection with the Swimomish Tribe’s lawsuit against the two entities.

Swinomish: Native American travels across U.S. photographing citizens of tribal nations - She sleeps on couches, dines with strangers and lives out of her car. Still, Matika Wilbur does it for the art and for the people. Wilbur is Native American. Invariably strapped to her arm is a camera, and other than a few provisions and clothing, she owns little else. Last year she sold everything in her Seattle apartment, packed a few essentials into her car and then hit the road.

December 2013

Swinomish: US Seventh-day Adventist Tribal Chairman, Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community elected new NCAI president - On October 18, a Seventh-day Adventist Tribal Chairman, Brian Cladoosby, of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, was elected president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), at their 70th Annual Convention & Marketplace in Tulsa (Oklahoma/USA). Chairman Cladoosby is one of many tribal chairmen who are members of the Adventist Church.

Swinomish: Native American photographer to speak about her experiences - As part of Native American Heritage Month celebrations, the University of Toledo will host a free presentation by photographer Matika Wilbur on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium. Wilbur, a Native American of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes, will discuss her ongoing project 562, a national photo documentary project where she will visit all 50 states and photograph all 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

Swinomish: American Indian Congress Elects New Leaders - Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby was elected president, and Colville Tribes Chairman Michael Finley was elected first vice president.

Swinomish: Coal port foe heads national American Indian group - LaConner fisherman Brian Cladoosby has been elected president of the executive committee of the National Congress of American Indians, a 69-year-old organization that describes itself as the “oldest, largest, most representative” voice of Native Americans.

October 2013

Swinomish: Ecology director committed to finding water supply solutions in the Skagit Basin after state Supreme Court ruling - The Washington state Supreme Court ruled 6-3 today that Ecology in 2006 exceeded its authority in setting aside water reservations for new uses in the Skagit. The 2006 rule amended a 2001 water management rule that protected stream flows basin-wide. The Swinomish Tribe challenged the establishment of the reservations in 2008 and appealed a Thurston County Superior Court finding in Ecology’s favor in 2010.

Swinomish: Native American Tribe Prevails In Washington State Legal Battle For More Water For Salmon - The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (the "Tribe") learned today that the Washington State Supreme Court (the "Court") ruled in the Tribe's favor in a challenge to the Skagit River Instream Flow Rule amendments adopted in 2006 by the Washington Department of Ecology ("Ecology"). The Court's October 3, 2013, decision concludes that Ecology's 2006 Skagit Rule amendments are invalid because they are inconsistent with Washington State's laws to protect minimum instream flows for fish and other environmental values.

August 2013

Swinomish: Tribe lawsuit names Oak Harbor and job’s contractors - Swinomish Indian Tribal Community filed a class-action lawsuit this week against the city of Oak Harbor and three contractors over the desecration of an ancient burial ground during the Pioneer Way road-construction project two years ago.

Swinomish: Cladoosby Enters National Congress of American Indians President Race - Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby, who has long worked to strengthen economic conditions and stop ecological degradation in Coast Salish country, announced his candidacy June 25 for president of the National Congress of American Indians. The election will take place during NCAI's 70th annual convention October 13-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Swinomish: Tribe Outraged at City's 'Free Dirt' Offer - The Swinomish Tribe sued the Seattle suburb of Oak Harbor, claiming it refused to stop a road project after uncovering a burial ground and outrageously offered the excavated soil, filled with bones and grave goods, as "free dirt."

June 2013

Swinomish: New Publication Tells Western Fisheries Research Center’s History of Innovation - The U.S. Geological Survey's Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC), headquartered in Seattle, has led cutting-edge research on fish and aquatic environments for nearly 80 years – first in the Pacific Northwest, then nationwide and throughout the world. WFRC's history of innovation continues. Since 2008, the Coast Salish Nation and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have partnered with WFRC on the Coast Salish Tribal Water Quality Project, which blends science and Coast Salish cultural practices to study water quality and its effects on an ecosystem that supports orcas, salmon and other culturally important species.

Swinomish: Artist giving works to Oak Harbor - It’s taken a couple of years of negotiating, but North Whidbey artist Wayne Lewis may soon send his 3-foot clay sculpture of a Native American to be cast in bronze. Lewis is donating the intricately detailed sculpture, named “Island Spirit,” to the city of Oak Harbor for display on Pioneer Way. He originally depicted the well-muscled Indian man wearing a loin cloth, but officials at the Swinomish tribe said they believed that was inaccurate. “They felt it looked too much like a plains Indian,” he said. Native Americans likely caught fish without clothes, but Lewis said a nude might not be appropriate for downtown Oak Harbor. So he settled on a more generic covering.

Swinomish/Tulalip: Indian Enough Photography Exhibit Opens in Ohio - Matika Wilbur: Indian Enough has opened at River House Arts in Perrysburg, Ohio. The exhibition, featuring Wilbur's photographic work, will run until June 10.

May 2013

Lummi-Swinomish: Swinomish Tribal Member Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Second-Degree Murder - Kevin S. O’Leary, 55, an enrolled member of the Swinomish Indian Tribe was sentenced today in United States District Court in Seattle to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release for second-degree murder

Swinomish: Tribe should drop suit - The Swinomish Indian Tribe is seeking $9 million from City of Oak Harbor after construction unearthed a burial ground on Pioneer Way in 2011. Since the discovery of the remains, the city has worked diligently with the tribe to ensure the remains are handled appropriately and reburied. Filed now to beat the impending statute of limitations deadline, the Swinomish Tribe lawsuit is apparent backtracking on earlier promises to not sue if the city jumped through all of its hoops.

Swinomish: Swinomish seek $9 million in damages from city of Oak Harbor - The tribe filed a complaint for damages with the city Tuesday. The claim accuses city officials of violating law and breaching their legal duty by digging up the known site of an ancient tribal village and burial ground.

March 2013

Swinomish: Native Action Network To Present 'Enduring Spirit' Awards - More than 150 Native women will join together at the Swinomish Lodge to engage in an intergenerational exchange of knowledge that features positive role models and leadership development. This year’s theme, “The Power of Indigenous Women—Reaching Hands Across Borders” will honor and recognize the importance of sisterhood both here in the United States and across borders with sisters in Canada and beyond.

Swinomish: A Tribal Leader Speaks Out about Dental - Swinomish Tribal Indian Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby, formerly chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, champions dental therapy in his state. He urges other tribal leaders to do the same. Comment: Many countries have outlawed dental amalgam and grassroots support for America to do the same is growing. Dental amalgam releases toxic mercury vapor that is absorbed into the bloodstream. Banning dental amalgam is a worthy issue for Indian Country to take the lead.

Swinomish: Oak Harbor may build cemetery for unearthed remains - Oak Harbor officials confirmed that they are working with the Swinomish and other tribes to figure out how best to handle ancestral remains that were unearthed during a construction project on Pioneer Way nearly two years ago.

Swinomish: Discovery of Native American remains could cost Oak Harbor $4 million - The costs associated with the inadvertent discovery of Native American remains during a downtown Oak Harbor road project could approach $4 million. And that doesn’t include the unknown expense of reburial, which could potentially be very costly.

February 2013

Swinomish: Images of tribal culture, tradition - At the young age of 17, Matika Wilbur was in her senior year of high school and newly sober after intense drug and alcohol rehabilitation. A member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, Wilbur had struggled with her Native identity as she grew up near LaConner, unable to reconcile her personal experiences with the stereotypes she faced daily.

January 2013

Lummi-Swinomish-Tulalip: At Public Meeting Seattle Shows Strong Opposition To Gateway Pacific Terminal - “If this does go through you’ll witness firsthand what happened in the 1700s, 1800s…,” said Jay Julius, Chairman of the Lummi Tribe. “You will see rape in the first degree of our treaty and it’s not acceptable.” Leaders from the Swinomish and Tulalip tribes also spoke out against the terminal, alongside a local fisherman and several local politicians – including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine and State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.

Swinomish: Skagit County suggests tribes drop lawsuit in water dispute - Skagit County commissioners say they will rejoin a 1996 water agreement if the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community drops its lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology. The tribe’s lawsuit is currently being reviewed by the state Supreme Court. If the tribe is successful, it could lead to all rural and agricultural landowners in the Skagit River basin losing access to well water if they drilled their well in 2001 or after, Ecology officials have said.

December 2012

Lummi-Swinomish: Tribal member pleads guilty to smothering wife with pillow - A member of the Swinomish Tribe pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to second-degree murder for smothering his common-law wife with a pillow earlier this year. Kevin S. O’Leary, 55, admitted that on June 7 he killed Valerie Jefferson, a Lummi tribal member, wrapped her body in a blanket and hid it under the bed before it was discovered five days later, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Swinomish: Tribal leader calls Obama 'first American Indian president' - President Obama received an unexpected honorific before his speech with Native American tribal leaders Wednesday afternoon, with Swinomish Nation Chairman Brian Cladoosby proclaiming him "the first American Indian president."

November 2012

Swinomish: State Supreme Court deciding whether salmon or property owners get water - Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people could have their water shut off by the state Supreme Court. A case before the court pits the Swinomish Indian Tribe against homeowners in a clash of two ways of life.

Swinomish: Ecotrust to honor indigenous leaders tonight at Portland Art Museum - Ecotrust celebrates distinguished Native national and international leaders working to improve social, economic and environmental condition of their people at the Portland Art Museum tonight. The nonprofit will present the 2012 Indigenous Leadership Awardee, Brian Cladoosby, with $25,000 and four others with $5,000 each to continue their community work. Cladoosby is chairman of the Swinomish Tribe in Washington and head of the Swinomish Fish Company. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire considers him a tireless advocate.

Swinomish: launches new loyalty scheme - A Native American Casino, the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, in Anacortes, Washington, is to use Joingo's Mobile Loyalty System to launch its marketing and promotional initiatives.

Swinomish and Tulalip: Meet Matika Wilbur: She’s Coming to Your Nation Soon, Smile! - Matika Wilbur is from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes–and she’s an ambitious, highly talented photographer. She is embarking on an amazing adventure: to capture at least 562 Indian Nations on film.

Swinomish: Commissioners are set to meet today - The Skagit Public Utility District #1 Commissioners are meeting this afternoon and on the agenda is a discussion on whether or not they will add their support to the Swinomish Tribe in the tribe’s lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Ecology in front of the State Supreme Court. The Swinomish Tribe is claiming that in-stream flow requirements, which were written by the Department of Ecology, under authority granted by the Washington State Legislature, cannot be altered without Tribal permission.

October 2012

Swinomish: Chairman Brian Cladoosby is set to receive a prestigious award - Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian will be honored next month for his history of tribal leadership. Ecotrust will award $25,000 and the 2012 Indigenous Leadership Award to Cladoosby for his work with the Coast Salish Tribes and his growing work as a national Native leader. The celebration will be held in November at the Portland Art Museum.

August 2012

Swinomish: Fish vs. Farms on the Skagit Delta - The Skagit delta farming system's intricate rotation of some 80 vegetable and seed crops has been 150 years in the making. Dikes to keep the low-lying farmland dry and tide gates to prevent saltwater incursion into croplands are valuable to farmers, but not so much to Natives trying to revive salmon runs on the third largest American river on the contiguous West Coast. The Swinomish Tribe's priority is fish, not farms. And a century and a half of treaty law has put in their hands considerable power to press their case. Note: Everybody is soooo concerned about preserving western Washington farmland; yet, some of the most fertile farmland in the world is buried beneath a maze of asphalt and shopping malls that stretches from Tukwila to Auburn.

July 2012

Swinomish: Tribe Works to Adapt to Shrinking Salmon Supply - Washington salmon depend on the cold water from glacial lakes to survive. But as temperatures increase and glaciers shrink, salmon populations are declining, threatening the way of life for the Swinomish Indians, also known as the "salmon people."

Swinomish: Tribal Community Liquor Legalization, Regulation and License Code - This notice publishes Title 15, Chapter 4: Liquor Legalization, Regulation and License Code for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. The Code regulates and controls the possession, sale and consumption of liquor within the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s Indian country. This Code allows for the possession and sale of alcoholic beverages within the jurisdiction of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, will increase the ability of the tribal government to control the distribution and possession of liquor within their Indian country, and at the same time, will provide an important source of revenue, the strengthening of the tribal government and the delivery of tribal services.

June 2012

Swinomish: Public invited to Kukutali Preserve planning meeting June 21 - Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, in partnership with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, will hold a public meeting on June 21 to start a planning process for Kukutali Preserve (on Kiket Island) in Skagit County.

May 2012

Swinomish: Oak Harbor to pay tribe $600,0000 - Oak Harbor city officials will propose a $600,000 contract with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community next week for work to be performed by spiritual leaders, monitors and handlers at the archaeological site on Pit Road.

Swinomish: Tribal Community will talk about a proposed ordinance - The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is hosting a public hearing tomorrow on a proposed ordinance that will outline the permitted uses of tribal tidelands. The ordinance is intended to preserve the ecological and economic value of the tidelands, according to a statement from the tribe’s planning office.

April 2012

Swinomish: Tribe dedicates Story Pole to SVC - On April 16, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community held a special ceremony to dedicate a Story Pole to Skagit Valley College at SVC’s Mount Vernon Campus.

Swinomish: Snatching Skagit River Water Is In The Public Interest? - Washington state’s Swinomish tribe faces a water rights battle in the Skagit River basin. The tribe is currently arguing before the Washington State Court of Appeals that the Washington Department of Ecology acted illegally in exercising a rarely invoked “overriding consideration of public interest” (OCPI) state water law loophole.

March 2012

Swinomish: Tribes Receive $4.2 Million in Conservation Grants - The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community will inventory, manage, protect, and enhance wildlife and habitat resources on the 118 acres of tidelands, nearshore, and old growth forests of Kukutali Preserve on the Swinomish Reservation in Washington state.

February 2012

Swinomish: Legislation could allow building in closed creek basins - Swift action in the Legislature could allow dozens of property owners to build on their land for the first time since area creek basins closed last summer. The property owners had become caught in a 15-year dust-up among Skagit County, the Swinomish Tribe and the city of Anacortes over water rights in the Skagit River valley.

Swinomish: Families look forward to new affordable housing - The Swinomish Housing Authority has 16 rental homes now under construction, and the first houses will be move-in ready in June, housing authority officials said.

Swinomish: Crabber who drowned in Penn Cove identified - The crab fisherman who drown in Penn Cove last weekend has been identified as 51-year-old Joseph Thomas Sias of La Conner. “He was very well known in the Swinomish tribal community,” said Island County Coroner Robert Bishop.

Swinomish: Search for missing fisherman suspended near Whidbey Island - The Coast Guard on Monday suspended its search for a missing fisherman whose empty boat was found near Whidbey Island on Sunday. A Swinomish fisheries patrol vessel crew spotted the 32-foot bowpicker fishing vessel turning circles with no crew aboard at 2:35 p.m. Sunday. The vessel was registered as a Swinomish tribal boat and witnesses claimed to have seen one person aboard at 12:30 p.m.

Swinomish: Coast Salish Leaders Advise Young People to 'Learn the Treaty' - This wasn’t a landmark anniversary. It was the 157th, to be exact. But the message was as strong as if it were the first anniversary of the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855—Young people must study the treaty and must get the proper education so they can defend it.

January 2012

Swinomish: Festival aims to sharpen focus on Native traditions - Coupeville's annual Penn Cove Water Festival could have an expanded focus on the Island’s Native cultural past thanks to the group of volunteers who have taken over leadership of the event. "We’re trying to go back to as Native and natural as we can," said Vicky Reyes, a new board member for the festival. The event includes tribal canoe races, arts and crafts, storytelling, music, dancing, exhibits, Native American fry bread and salmon, and children’s activities. Tom Ellis said he’d like to see more opportunities for children to learn about Native traditions. "We want to have some kids’ activities tuned to the Native American culture," he said. The group needs about $30,000 each year to stage the event. It typically receives some grant support from local tribes and Island County lodging tax revenues, but in 2010 the event struggled to bring in enough money to keep going. With the annual Tribal Canoe Journey ending at the Swinomish reservation near La Conner last year, local tribes had less money available. This year, the water festival is hoping to receive renewed tribal support, Haas said.

December 2011

Swinomish: Keeper of the preserve - Kukutali Preserve is a unit of Deception Pass State Park that includes 84 upland acres on Kiket and Flagstaff islands and about nine upland acres on Fidalgo Island. Co-owned and co-managed by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the property was acquired in June 2010 for $14 million.

November 2011

Swinomish: State 'can't imagine' why employee was at casino

Swinomish: Tribal member pleads guilty to assault in habitual offender case

Swinomish: Water Pollution Regulations Underestimate Fish Consumption, Endangering Public Health

Swinomish: Movies celebrating Native culture will be shown weekly throughout November

1421: The Year China Discovered America: On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and colonized America, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.

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Rod Van Mechelen, Publisher & Editor, Cowlitz Country News

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