Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Yurok
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January 2014

Yurok: Embezzlement sentencing postponed - The sentencing of former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond was postponed Tuesday to allow him a chance to respond to allegations that he lied to a federal judge.

December 2013

Yurok: Embezzlement sentencing postponed: Yurok Tribe forestry director under fire for allegedly lying to a federal judge - The sentencing of former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond was postponed Tuesday to allow him a chance to respond to allegations that he lied to a federal judge. Court documents indicate the allegation surfaced earlier this month, a day after Raymond's first sentencing hearing date was postponed at the request of the Yurok Tribe, which asked for time to file a victim impact statement.

Yurok: Time For FDA To Recognize Sovereignty Principles - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seemingly created an untimely protocol of not complying with Executive Order 13175 and the meaningful principles of tribal consultation and sovereignty.

October 2013

Karuk-Yurok: A good signal for tribes: Tribes poised to receive $6M grant for broadband project - Members of the Karuk and Yurok tribes are crossing their fingers that the California Public Utilities Commission approves a $6.6 million funding request that would help extend high-speed broadband service to rural northern Humboldt residents.

Yurok: Tribe Seeks Logo, Brand Development, Website Design Pitches for New Hotel/Casino - On the same day the second floor of the Yurok Tribe’s hotel gave rise, the Yurok Tribal Council voted to approve a name for the new tribal enterprise. The hotel and casino project, which is scheduled to open in mid-May, will be called the Redwood Hotel Casino. The new name was selected to maximize web search-ability, which will be a major driving factor in the success of the project. The exterior of the resort-type business will model Yurok-specific architecture and the interiors of both the hotel and casino will include interpretive areas that showcase Yurok language and traditional stories.

Yurok: EPA Awards Grants for Klamath River Restoration Project (USA) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces it has awarded a $1.3 million grant under its Performance Partnership Grant Program to the Yurok Tribe in Klamath, Calif. to support the tribe’s efforts to control water pollution, enhance the tribe’s wetlands preservation and restoration program, and provide community outreach and staff environmental training.

Yurok: Science drives decision to increase Klamath River flows - “The Yurok Tribe will always take whatever measures are necessary to protect the Klamath River, which is our lifeline,” said Yurok Chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. “We intervened in this case on behalf the salmon and our people.”

Yurok: Mysteries of the green sturgeon unraveled - With the Central Valley population of the green sturgeon listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act along the Sacramento River, the population living closer to the Klamath Basin may be on its way to endangered status as well. Over the years, the Yurok tribe has tagged between 50 and 70 green sturgeon in their efforts to better understand the fish’s habits.

Yurok: Saving a language - For thousands of years before Western settlers arrived, the Yurok thrived in dozens of villages along the Klamath River. By the 1990s, however, academics had predicted their language soon would be extinct. As elders passed away, the number of native speakers dropped to six. But tribal leaders would not let the language die.

Yurok: How Archie Thompson Saved the Yurok Language - In March of this year, the Yurok Tribe lost Archie Thompson, a widower who raised eight children. Archie was the last living native speaker of the Yurok language, but, thankfully, the language didn’t die with him.

August 2013

Yurok: Saving one of California's 90 languages - California is home to the greatest diversity of Native American tribes in the US, and even today, 90 identifiable languages are still spoken there. Many are dying out as the last fluent speakers pass away and English dominates. But one tribe is having success reviving the Yurok language, which was on the verge of extinction and now is being taught in schools.

June 2013

Yurok: TreeSpirit Project, coverage insulting to Yurok Tribe - We write this in response to “ 'Creating a sacred ceremony' “ (Times-Standard, May 12, Page B1). The article features “TreeSpirit Project” founder Jack Gescheidt and his exploitation of a local issue involving a Yurok traditional cultural property now named Strawberry Rock.

Yurok: Local tribes protest Humboldt State University program consolidation on campus - Members of the Yurok and other local tribes rallied on Humboldt State University campus Friday afternoon to address potential program cuts of Native American studies. ”This is Humboldt State. This is where we live,” Yurok Tribal Council Member and HSU alumnus David Genshaw Sr. said. “This is where we want our children, our grandchildren and future generations to learn.”

May 2013

Yurok: Tribal courts aim to heal - Advocates for Native American survivors of intimate violence cheered when they won the right to prosecute non-Indian assailants in tribal court. “What you’re trying to do is resolve a problem,” Yurok Tribal Judge Abby Abinanti explained of their tribal court’s guiding principle.

Yurok: Casino and Hotel Construction Kicks Off - Construction has started for the new Yurok Hotel and Casino in Klamath. The funds for the project are coming from the 27.5 million dollar settlement they received from the U.S. Government.

Yurok: First Science Pub to feature condors - Condors, once plentiful in the Rogue and Umpqua basins, could be seen here again within a decade if all goes well with recovery efforts on Yurok tribe lands along the Klamath River and Humboldt County, Calif., coast.

Yurok: Chairman Sentenced to Probation and Community Service for Spotlighting - Nearly a year after he was caught and cited for using a spotlight on a deer at night from a vehicle, Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O’Rourke Sr. pleaded no contest to one of the two charges against him on February 27, 2013.

Yurok: Oldest Member of Yurok Tribe Walks On, Leaves Lasting Language Legacy - Archie Thompson wasn’t just vital to the revitalization and preservation of his tribe’s Yurok language, he was also the single father of his eight children and a World War II veteran. Thompson was born on May 26, 1919 in Watek Village, now known as Johnsons on the Klamath River.

April 2013

Karuk-Yurok: Made for the Trade - ”Made for the Trade,” an exhibit at the Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka organized by Ron Johnson, Coleen Kelley Marks and Susie Van Kirk, brings together a collection of Karuk, Yurok and Hupa baskets that were created specifically for sale, with the earliest examples from more than 100 years ago.

Yurok: Good Ole Boys, and Girls Part 3 - The last time Rebecca Owen was in the newspaper, she was 14 years old and the story wasn’t anything to be proud of. But she is now enrolled at College of the Redwoods where she plans to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. Her fiancé is also a college student. To improve her employability, she is working to have her records expunged with the help of the Yurok Tribe’s Clean Slate Program.

March 2013

Yurok: Oldest Yurok elder dies at age of 103 - Ada Charles, described by her family as the oldest of the Yurok tribal elders, died Thursday at the age of 103. A basket-weaver and fluent speaker of the Yurok language, she lived almost all of her long life in Del Norte, growing up in Klamath when it was a booming river town.

Yurok: Chairman Rejects Plea Deal that Would Prohibit Possession of Firearms - Yurok Tribal Chairman, Thomas Patrick O’Rourke went into Superior Court Judge, Marilyn Miles’ nearly empty courtroom last Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 planning to take a plea deal. Instead, he left with a set of trial dates.

Yurok: Tribe Votes to Put Settlement Funds Toward First Hotel and Casino - Members of the Yurok Tribe have voted in favor of a special referendum to distribute funds secured in the Nez Perce v. Salazar settlement, as well as use the money as an investment in the Tribe’s first hotel and casino.

Yurok: Voters Approve Yurok Tribal Casino - The Yurok Tribal Elections Committee certified the results on Monday Feb. 24, of a controversial special referendum on the Nez Perce v. Salazar Settlement that called for $10.1 million to pay attorneys’ fees and to finance a resort casino in Klamath.

Yurok: Disagreement over settlement funds; members submit petition opposing casino plans - More than 600 members of the Yurok Tribe who oppose plans to build the first Yurok hotel-casino submitted their petition for certification in tribal court on Friday -- a move the tribal chairman described as surprising but the petition's sponsor said is necessary to put more options on the table.

Yurok: Revival of nearly extinct Yurok language is a success story - The number of native speakers fell to six at one point. But tribal leaders would not let Yurok die, and some Northern California schools are now teaching it.

Yurok: A Downriver Educator Through and Through - Margo Robbins has never wanted anything but to stay on the river. “That’s where I’ve lived all my life. My mom brought me home there from the hospital; that’s where I returned from college; this is where I belong.”

Yurok: Tribal Members Push for Full Payout of Settlement Funds - James Dunlap and Frank McCovey were surrounded by a small crowd in front of Lucky Bear Casino in Hoopa on Wednesday, Jan. 16, as they gathered signatures from Yurok registered voters. The petition calls for a vote on whether or not 100 percent of the settlement funds from the Nez Perce Tribe, et al. v. Salazar lawsuit should be paid out to Yurok tribal members.

February 2013

Yurok: Tribe Receives $27.5M Federal Settlement - After careful consideration, the Yurok Tribal Council voted to put forth a referendum that seeks to allocate funds won in $27.5 million settlement in a way that addresses both the immediate needs of the Tribal Membership and its obligation to provide well-paying employment for Yurok people.

Yurok: Former Tribe forestry director arraigned on federal charges - A former Yurok Tribe forestry director accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from the tribe was arraigned in federal court Monday on felony charges of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization.

January 2013

Yurok: Feds proceed with charges against Raymond, LeValley as state sets aside case - State charges against a former Yurok Tribe forestry director and two biologists accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from the tribe were dismissed Tuesday. Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander said the state case was dismissed without prejudice against Roland Raymond, 50, to allow the case to move forward through the U.S. Attorney's Office.

December 2012

Yurok: Tribe certifies election results - The Yurok Tribe has certified the results of the tribal chairman election that took place Nov. 7. The election was between incumbent Thomas O'Rourke, Sr., and Raymond McQuillen. O'Rourke received 53.43 percent of the vote while McQuillen received 46.57 percent, according to the tribe's election department.

November 2012

Yurok: Thomas O'Rourke selected for Yurok Tribe chairman - The Yurok Tribe had its runoff elections for tribal chairman Wednesday, and the tribe announced Thursday that the incumbent received the most votes. The election was between incumbent Thomas O'Rourke, Sr., and Raymond McQuillen. O'Rourke received 53 percent of the vote while McQuillen received 47 percent, according to the tribe's election department.

Yurok: Family, friends remember 95-year-old Yurok elder; Blanche Blankenship was 'a real gentle, kind spirit - Yurok elder Blanche Blankenship was a woman ahead of her time, who dedicated her life to serving the community, being a strong businesswoman and raising a family. The 95-year-old lived in Orick for the majority of her life, and was passionate about education, ranch and timber issues.

Yurok: Thomas O'Rourke selected for Yurok Tribe chairman - The Yurok Tribe had its runoff elections for tribal chairman Wednesday and the tribe announced today that the incumbent received the most votes. The election was between incumbent Thomas O'Rourke, Sr. and Raymond McQuillen. O'Rourke received 53 percent of the vote while McQuillen received 47 percent, according to the tribe's election department. The election board will meet Nov. 13 to certify the election results. For more information, contact the Yurok Tribe's election department at 482-1350 or go online to

October 2012

Yurok: Tribe invites members to learn about clean slate program - The Yurok Tribe is inviting tribal members to learn on Friday about its new Clean Slate Program, which can expunge conviction records for qualifying participants. The program will help people remove non-violent misdemeanors and felonies from their record if they haven't committed a crime in seven years. This will allow better access to jobs and to financial aid for both housing and educational purposes.

Yurok: State, feds, tribal police seize nearly 2,000 pot plants on Yurok Reservation - Working with tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the Yurok Tribe announced Wednesday the recent eradication of three large-scale marijuana growing operations on the Yurok Reservation.

Yurok: Coordinated effort eradicates 3 large pot grows on Yurok Reservation - The Yurok Tribe, working in collaboration with tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies, recently eradicated three large-scale, clandestine cannabis growing operations on the Yurok Reservation.

Yurok: Hearing continued on three accused of embezzlement - A hearing was continued Thursday for Roland Raymond, Ron LeValley and Sean McAllister, who are accused of embezzling more than $1 million from the Yurok Tribe. Federal charges have been filed against Raymond, but have not yet been filed against McAllister or LeValley. Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander indicated that he plans to dismiss state charges against all three men once federal charges have been filed against McAllister and LeValley.

Yurok: Member recognized nationally - Wild Rivers Community Foundation Executive Director Geneva Wiki has been selected as a recipient of the national “Native American 40 Under 40” recognition award by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Wiki is a member of the Yurok Tribe and has served as Wild Rivers Community Foundation's executive director since 2009.

September 2012

Yurok: Tribe holding two public hearings on three ordinances - The Yurok Tribal Council is holding two public hearings during the course of the next week to discuss three proposed draft ordinances. Comments will be accepted on an ordinance focused on gathering data regarding the harvest of big game animals by tribal members on the reservation. Another draft ordinance about prevailing wage is up for discussion. The revised ordinance would provide prevailing wages for certain agreements within the area of operation of the Yurok Tribe and the Yurok Indian Housing Authority. The third draft ordinance would specify ethical obligations for elected tribal officials.

August 2012

Yurok: A golden gift: Klamath Salmon Festival turns 50 - Each year in Klamath, the Yurok Tribe gives the community a gift. This year it's a golden gift: the 50th annual Klamath Salmon Festival, to be held Saturday. ”We are pulling out all the stops for the 50th festival,” said Matt Mais, the event's organizer, in a press release. “The Yurok Tribe is working hard to make this family event better than ever before.”

Yurok: Former Yurok forestry director charged federally, unclear what's next for accused biologists - The federal government is taking on the prosecution of a former Yurok Tribe forestry director accused of embezzling almost $1 million, but as of today hadn't taken action against a pair local biologists allegedly involved in the conspiracy. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint Thursday against Roland Raymond, 49, charging him with a single count of embezzlement from an Indian tribal organization. Raymond is scheduled to make his initial appearance in the case Monday in the federal courthouse in Eureka.

Yurok: Salmon Festival contest deadline approaching - The deadline is next Wednesday (Aug. 15), for youth to enter the Yurok Tribe's 50th annual Klamath Salmon Festival “Noo-rey-o-won-ee/Keet-ko” contest. In English, the name of the contest translates as “Beautiful Girl Inside and Out/Strong and Able Boy.” Formerly known as the “Pretty Girl/Young Warrior” contest, the competition is a race to see who can sell the most raffle tickets before the annual Salmon Festival. The raffle prizes include a variety of items, both large and small. The contest is open to youth ages 5 to 17.

Yurok: Tribe receives grant to pave Bald Hills Road - The Yurok Tribe is receiving a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant to pave a large section of the rugged Bald Hills Road, which connects the geographically split reservation. Bald Hills Road winds through Yurok Ancestral Territory, Humboldt County and Redwood National Park land. The thoroughfare connects both sides of the Yurok Reservation and is frequently used by tribal members, federal agencies, tourists and law enforcement, according to a press release.

July 2012

Yurok: Eureka City Schools board approves Yurok language class - The Eureka City Schools Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved adding a Yurok I class at Eureka High School in the fall. To pay for the new class, Eureka City Schools has entered into a partnership with the Yurok Tribe. The tribe has agreed to donate $5,000. The district will also apply for a grant of $5,000 from the Humboldt Area Foundation and will allocate $5,000 from its Title VII Indian Education Grant to pay for the class.

June 2012

Yurok: Tribal Council holding elections - The Yurok Tribal Council is holding elections for a chairperson, vice chairperson and Orick district seat. Interested people must be Yurok Tribe members. They must be at least 30 years old to run for chair or vice chair and 25 years of age or older to run for a district seat. Nomination papers can be picked up starting Monday at the Yurok Tribal Office in Klamath, 190 Klamath Blvd. There is a $25 filing fee when the nomination forms are picked up. The nomination period closes July 20.

May 2012

Yurok: Tribe celebrates Wellness Court justice system - The Yurok Tribe is inviting the community to learn about its developing justice system that incorporates traditional tribal values into its services. The tribe will hold a community honoring and informational gathering on Friday to celebrate the Yurok Wellness Court and gather public feedback.

Yurok: Tribe receives $1.1 million to fix Mouth of Klamath Road - The Yurok Tribe has received two emergency project funding notices, totaling $1.1 million, for the stabilization Mouth of Klamath Road, a critical thoroughfare for tribal members, residents and tourists, according to a press release from the tribe.

Yurok: Tribe receives $1.1 million to fix Mouth of Klamath Road - The Yurok Tribe has received two emergency project funding notices, totaling $1.1 million, for the stabilization Mouth of Klamath Road, a critical thoroughfare for tribal members, residents and tourists, according to a press release from the tribe.

Yurok: Tribe revisits Redwood National Park land transfer; tribe holding public meetings next week on revised legislation - The Yurok Tribe is rolling out new draft legislation next week in its attempt to place more than 1,200 acres of national park land under the tribe's control.

Yurok: Klamath River cleanup set for Saturday - The Yurok Tribe is holding its 11th annual Klamath River Cleanup event on Saturday to raise awareness about illegal dumping and pollution. This year's family-friendly event also includes an invasive plant pull.

April 2012

Yurok: Tribe asks Commission to better protect traditional harvest under MLPA - The Yurok Tribe delivered a proposal before the California Fish and Game Commission in Eureka on Wednesday, April 11 "giving the board an opportunity to better protect the Tribe’s right to traditionally harvest of marine resources," according to a press release from the Tribe.

Yurok: Questions linger in million-dollar embezzlement scheme after fugitive surrenders - Late last month the embezzlement investigation was taken over by the FBI and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The case likely will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The next court date is scheduled for May 1.

Yurok: Roland Raymond turns himself in to authorities Thursday; former Yurok Tribe forestry director accused of embezzling federal funds - Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond, 49, was booked into the Del Norte County jail at 9:30 a.m. Thursday after turning himself in to authorities, according to the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office. Raymond had been on the run since Feb. 23, when authorities served search warrants at his home on the 2200 block of Hillcrest Avenue just outside Eureka city limits. A $1 million warrant for Raymond's arrest was issued, alleging he committed crimes of burglary, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime.

March 2012

Yurok: A Vision of Reviving Tribal Ways in a Remote Corner of California - From a forested bluff, Willard Carlson Jr. stands watch over Blue Creek where its indigo eddies meet the gray-green riffles of the Klamath River. One night, cooking salmon and eel over an alder fire, he vowed to do something that had not been tried here for at least 150 years: to build a traditional Yurok village from scratch, a ceremonial place that will "bring people home to reconnect with the old ways," he said. Mr. Carlson, now 59, his salt-and-pepper hair heavy on the salt, named the village now rising in a clearing Ah Pah, or "the beginning of the stairway." He views it as a place of healing for "the many people who have lost their way."

Yurok: Cannery on Yurok Reservation Planned - Efforts are being coordinated to create food security and livelihood for families on the Yurok Reservation. The project involves building a cannery and food processing center. A Yurok family launched the funding campaign using a crowd funding platform. The funds raised will be used to build an FDA approved cannery in Weitchpec on the eastern edge of the Yurok Reservation. The funding campaign features the smoked wild salmon and the blackberry and huckleberry jelly and jam gift sets. These will be the first products produced by the cannery. Their objectives are to build an FDA approved cannery; to develop a food distribution practice within the community; and to create a market for the surplus foods. The video on the website is 3 1/2 minutes long.

Yurok: Alleged embezzlement by forestry director, MLPA official outrages Tribe - "The Tribal Council understands the outrage that we all may feel as the victims of these alleged crimes," said Thomas O'Rourke, Chair of the Yurok Tribal Council. The Yurok Tribal Council, in a letter to Tribal Members on February 14, expressed "great disappointment and outrage" over "serious allegations of theft of Tribal resources" by two biologists and the former Yurok Forestry Department Director.

February 2012

Yurok: Warrants served in $900K embezzlement case - Search warrants were served on three locations in Humboldt County on Thursday seeking individuals and evidence linked to an embezzlement case involving the Yurok Tribe and totaling more than $900,000. Most of the money is suspected of being bilked over two years by former Yurok Tribe Director of Forestry Roland Raymond with the aid of Ron LeValley, president of Mad River Biologists, authorities said in an affidavit of probable cause.

Yurok: Condor conservation - Yurok Tribe Wildlife Biologist Chris West will present an illustrated talk on the “The California Condor: Recovery Still in the Balance.” He will cover the biology and history of condors throughout their range, threats to the species and resulting declines, and the current conservation program history and progress.

January 2012

Yurok: Ridgway’s Jacob Anderson is student of the month - Ridgway High School’s Jacob Anderson is Santa Rosa City Schools high school student of the month for January. Anderson has earned a 3.7 grade point average. Anderson is active in Yurok Tribe of California activities and regularly sings and dances with Native American performing youth groups. He spent last summer in Montana and South Dakota singing and dancing at tribal gatherings.

December 2011

Yurok: Klamath man dies in car accident on State Route 169 - The Yurok Tribal Police found a Klamath man Friday afternoon who died after his car went over a steep embankment on State Route 169. According to the California Highway Patrol, Albert W. Webster, 48, was driving his 1995 Toyota 4-Runner northbound on Route 169 when he failed to navigate a lefthand curve in the road. He drove across a wide pullout and over the edge of a steep embankment.

Yurok: Riding to the Rescue of the Klamath

November 2011

Yurok: Trinidad fishing fleet receives blessing; event has become a Thanksgiving tradition

Yurok: Gensaw Sr. elected to Yurok Tribal Council

Yurok: Hundreds of students team up

Yurok: Artistic pursuits

Yurok: Bill would lead to dam removal from Klamath River

October 2011

Yurok: Concerns, support over Klamath dam removal continue

Yurok: Author seeking dignity for Indian dead to speak at SOU


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