Native American

News and information about Native American topic, tribes, tribal land, etc.

Rise Above

This week many local Native youth will participate in a basketball and volleyball Rise Above clinic in the Spokane Valley.

The clinic, interspersed with wellness programs and appearances from basketball and volleyball heavy weights, was inspired by founder Jaci McCormack’s experiences with sports, which she calls her saving grace.

McCormack is an Illinois State University women’s basketball legend and grew up on the Nez Perce reservation. She said basketball is where she always goes to find peace.

The Spokane City Council has unanimously voted to acknowledge the injustices committed against Native Americans and that City Hall sits on is tribal land.

During Monday’s city council meeting, Councilwoman Karen Stratton, whose mother was a Spokane Tribe member, said she was proud of the resolution, and the commitment it represents.

Michael Holloman, professor of Native American Art History at WSU and Anne-Claire Mitchell of the Artists Trust stopped by the studio today to talk with Verne about the art exhibit they co-curated featuring works from contemporary Native American artists of the Columbia Plateau. "Reservation X: Three Plateau Artists" opens February 3 at the Richmond Gallery. It is part of Saturate, a city-wide cultural events coordinated by Spokane Arts. 

Northwest tribes continue to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Indians and their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over the weekend, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville delivered hand-smoked salmon and firewood to North Dakota.

Members of the Washington US House delegation rarely agree on anything. But they're united on at least one quest - to name a wildlife refuge on the Nisqually River delta for a Native American activist who almost single handedly won fishing rights for Washington tribes.

Governor Inslee has ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers to return the remains know as Kennewick man to Native American tribes who may claim them.

Spokane Tribe / Spokane Tribe

The Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP) has received the approval it has been waiting for from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. That gives federal approval to the tribe to build a casino-resort near Airway Heights.

The idea to ban instant horse racing terminals in Idaho isn’t dead. In the recently completed Idaho legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that banned controversial instant horse racing machines. But Governor Butch Otter decided to veto that legislation.

oil train
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

Leaders from nine Native American tribes are urging the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for a proposed coal-export terminal near Bellingham. Among them are members of the Spokane Tribe, whose reservation is hundreds of miles away from the proposed terminal.

Washington Historical Society

Fish experts, scientists and tribal leaders came together in Spokane last week to discuss plans to try to reintroduce salmon and steelhead in the waters of the upper Columbia River. Ever since the creation of upper Columbia River dams, the salmon runs ended in that portion of the river. Now some 70 plus years later, there are plans to see if those runs can be restored.

oil train
Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

A Native American tribe has filed suit to stop oil trains from crossing their reservation. The Swinomish tribe of Western Washington has filed a suit in federal court against BNSF railway.

Some Native Americans says the new fish consumption rules being proposed in Washington are a step in the right direction, but may not go far enough. The state Department of Ecology has proposed changes to the fish consumption rates in the state.

Some environmental groups say new standards regarding proposed fish consumption rules in Washington State put citizens’ health at risk. The department of Ecology has just closed the public comment period on proposed rules for fish consumption rates in the state. 

Miners, Conservationists Tussle Over Old Mine

Mar 23, 2015

Conservationists and an Indian tribe are gearing up for a new round of battles over an old gold mine in the heart of Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Nez Perce Tribe and five Idaho conservation groups have filed a formal objection to the US Forest Service's approval of a four-mile long road to be carved out in the back country to allow access to an old mining tunnel.

Several hundred gambling devices in Idaho would become illegal under a bill now headed to the House floor.

 Cecile Ganteaume, Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Washington, DC and Multi-Media Artist and Colville Confederated Tribal Member Joe Feddersen spoke with Verne Windham on Friday morning about the Museum of Arts and Culture's three-days of special programs focusing on American Indian Basketry.

Casino entrance
Coeur d'Alene Casino /

A new study says the five tribes of Idaho play a major role in the state’s economy. The study was put together by University of Idaho research economist Steve Peterson. It says the five tribes have a $1.1 billion annual sales impact on the gem state’s economy.

The five tribes collectively raise the gross state product by $653 million, or about one percent of the gross state product in 2013. Steve Peterson says a big portion of the money comes from tribal casinos, which have also helped to foster partnerships with local businesses and governments.

A bold project to try to reintroduce salmon in the upper reaches of the Columbia River is being announced by Native American tribes. While salmon runs seems to be making a gradual comeback in the Columbia river, no Salmon have been able to make it past the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams since 1942.

A new paper from the Columbia basin tribes and Canadian First Nations lays out a phased approach that would first assess the viability of reintroduction.

Jim Boyd Band, featured on APCMA website /

A local Native American will be receiving a prestigious award for his music in New York this week. 58 year old Jim Boyd has been entertaining audiences for decades, and this week, will be honored with a Lifetime achievement award at the annual Native American Music Awards ceremony.

HBO is planning a new six-hour miniseries on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

A little-known fact about Columbia River dams is that a valuable chunk of the power generated on the U.S. side goes to Canada under an international treaty.

New Hatchery Breeds Unusual Fish

Oct 9, 2014
US Fish and Wildlife Service /

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo paused in a whirlwind tour of north Idaho town hall meetings Thursday to preside at the opening of an unusual fish hatchery run by the Kootenai Tribe in Bonners Ferry. The new 15-million dollar hatchery at Twin Rivers northeast of Bonners Ferry will produce white sturgeon and burbot, both unusual species which dwindled to nearly extinction in the past 50 to 100 years.

Jane Fritz of The Idaho Mythweaver speaks with Verne Windham about the American Indian Film Festival in Sandpoint, Idaho on October 11, 2014 at the Panida Theater. 

The message at Wednesday’s YWCA awards luncheon was for women: take chances in your career, and doors will open. Northwest native Hattie Kauffman knows that first hand, and gave the keynote address at the Women of Achievement event. This year seven Spokane women were recognized for leadership.

Flickr: Five Acre Geographic

The number of returning fall Chinook salmon on the Columbia River this fall has taken a dramatic upswing. Over the weekend, 107,000 Chinook climbed the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam.

A spokesperson with the Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Sara Thompson says those numbers set a new record. She says "those are the highest numbers over Bonneville Dam since it’s construction.”

Thompson says the record number of returning fish is excellent news for Colombia River Tribes and their fisheries, and she attributes the improvement in the runs to a number of factors.

Idaho Celebrates Water Rights Allocation Process

Aug 27, 2014

With completion of a long, laborious legal process to figure out who owns what water in the Snake River basin, Idaho has become the first state to adjudicate water rights on a large scale. Completion of the process was so momentous that Idaho invited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to preside over a celebration.

Idaho officials will be taking up the issue of water rights in North Idaho this fall. That, after the negotiation process was approved by the legislature this year. The process is called water adjudication, and will determine who gets how much of the region's water. The state has had a senior water rights policy for years, but also has a “lose it or use it policy” meaning if some aren’t using their current rights, they can be taken away.

Megaload Moving Despite Petition In Northern Idaho

Aug 12, 2014

Another megaload of oil refinery equipment is traveling through the Inland Northwest this week, and with it, protesters have scheduled demonstrations in Idaho towns. Friday, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit to the company Bigge Crane to haul a nearly one-million pound load across northern Idaho.

The fire burning on the Colville Reservation continues to grow. The Devil's Elbow Fire Complex is now over 19,000 acres. About 700 firefighters battled the blaze over the weekend. 32 people have been evacuated, and about 150 homes are threatened. One abandoned house has been destroyed.

The primary election results for U-S Congress in eastern Washington were fairly predictable, with GOP incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers winning 52 percent of the vote. For the fifth congressional district, Democrat Joe Pakootas won nearly 30 percent and will go on to the general election. Pakootas, the Colville Tribe’s chair, says he is encouraged by both his and his opponent’s results.