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U.S. House Votes To Compensate Spokane Tribe For Grand Coulee

Bureau of Reclamation

Congress is giving the Spokane Tribe an early Christmas present. The U.S. House voted on Monday to pay compensation to the tribe for its losses when Grand Coulee Dam was built in the 1930s and 1940s.

When the dam was built, Spokane tribal lands were flooded or otherwise damaged and the tribe was never compensated.

The action by the House will help to rectify that. It voted to approve annual payments to the tribe, the money coming from the Bonneville Power Administration, the entity that operates the federal dam system on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Monday’s vote follows a Senate vote in June. The proposal now goes to the president for his signature.

The compensation bill for the Spokanes has been in Congress for more than 15 years, getting through one chamber or the other, but never both. The Spokane Tribe is the second to receive money for losses due to Grand Coulee Dam; the Colville Confederated Tribes began receiving payments in the mid-1990s.