Spokane Tribe

News and information about the Spokane Tribe of Indians.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

This week, Spokane Public Schools has broken ground for two of its three new middle schools.

On Wednesday, the district held a ceremony to formally begin the building of the new Denny Yasuhara Middle School in northeast Spokane. On Thursday, the district celebrated the beginning of construction at Pauline Flett Middle School near Albi Stadium.

Spokane Tribe Says No To Native American Mascots

May 7, 2021
Rebecca White/SPR

Washington has a new law that bans schools from using Native American imagery without a tribe’s consent. The Spokane Tribe says it won’t be endorsing any such proposals.

The Reardan-Edwall, Wellpinit and Spokane school districts all currently use Native American themed mascots. North Central High School in Spokane and Reardan-Edwall, which is spread between Lincoln and Spokane Counties and has many students from the tribe, both use Indians. Wellpinit uses the term “Redskins.”

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.

Courtesy of Washington State Patrol

A Spokane Tribal member is now on the job, helping Washington state with cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people.

Dawn Pullin’s job with the State Patrol was created by the legislature after members heard stories about Native American women who were either murdered or missing.

Pullin will serve as a bridge between investigating agencies and Native tribes in eastern Washington.

Photo from Steve Jackson

The Spokane Tribe held a long-anticipated celebration Thursday at its reservation in Wellpinit. Members celebrated the passage of federal legislation that will finally compensate the tribe for losses incurred after Grand Coulee Dam was built.

Nearly 80 years after the completion of Grand Coulee Dam, the Spokane Tribe will finally receive compensation for losses it suffered from the project.

The tribe lost lands that became submerged under the waters of the Columbia River. It also lost the salmon runs that had fed their people for centuries.

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.

steve jackson

A new statue was put in place in Redband Park in Spokane on Wednesday. Redband Park was formerly known as Glover Park in Peaceful Valley.

The statue is of a redband trout, a native fish of the Spokane River.

Sponsors of the project included the city of Spokane, Spokane Indians baseball team, TC Energy, Spokane Tribe, and the Spokane River Forum.

The forum’s Andy Dunau says the "Redband Rising" statue is designed to call attention to the fish, which has been in decline for many years.

Spokane Tribe Goes Solar

May 17, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane Tribe is joining the green energy revolution. On Thursday, tribal officials held a ceremony to celebrate the installation of solar panels on more than two dozen tribal buildings and homes.

Scott Leadingham/Northwest Public Broadcasting

Tuesday on the Inland Journal podcast, non-native invasive species are causing headaches for wildlife and fisheries managers in the Northwest. Idaho is trying to keep out the quagga mussel, a little creature which is becoming a nuisance in many parts of the country. We’ll hear about efforts to stop the spread of Washington’s most immediate threat, the northern pike, a big fish that’s gobbling its way toward the Columbia River.


The Kalispel tribe has filed a legal complaint in Federal Court challenging the Bureau of Indian Affairs approval of the Spokane Tribe’s casino project in Airway Heights.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Spokane Tribe’s off-reservation casino requires a positive determination that demonstrates the proposed casino would not be detrimental to the surrounding community.

But the Kalispels contend their own casino operation in Airway Heights would be affected by a new casino in the community.

Last June, The Spokane Tribe was selected to be designated a “Promise Zone,” a title bestowed on only twenty two communities nationwide. The designation gives them preferential opportunities when applying for federal grants.

So far that designation has allowed the tribe to secure a million dollars for a suicide prevention program.

It’s been ten years in the making, but the Spokane tribe has won approval from Governor Inslee for its Casino in Airway Heights. The tribe says it will be an economic boon that will bring thousands of new jobs, but not all are happy with the announcement. 

The projects proponents point to the $400 million expected to be spent to build the project over 10 years. Jamie SiJohn is a spokeswoman for the Spokane Tribe Economic Project , who says they estimate the new project will bring 5000 jobs to the Spokane  region

The Spokane tribe will soon have more chances to battle poverty, through an announcement made at the White House Monday. The tribe was selected to be one of nine nationwide to be declared a “Promise Zone.”

The designation by the Obama administration of the Spokane reservation and tribal trust lands in Airway Heights and Chewelah as a Promise Zone is good news for the tribe, which has unemployment levels as high as 45 percent.

Sherman Alexie's new children's book stars Thunder Boy Smith, a little boy who was named after his dad. "People call him Big Thunder," the boy says of his father. "That nickname is a storm filling up the sky. People call me Little Thunder. That nickname makes me sound like a burp or a fart." Over the course of Thunder Boy Jr., the boy emerges from his dad's shadow to become his own person.

David Lewis via flickr

Opponents to a proposed expansion of the Mt. Spokane ski area are appealing to Governor Inslee for help in stopping the project.

Spokane Tribe / Spokane Tribe

The Spokane Tribe has decided on a brand name for their casino project on Spokane’s west plains. The name is likely to help the project, if the casino gets approval form the Washington governor's office.

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.

Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio

The city council voted unanimously Monday night to name the plaza outside city hall the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place. Its subtitle, ‘the Place Where Salmon is Prepared’, is what Spokane tribal members historically called the spot. 

Sun, Crowd, and Music for New City Hall Plaza

May 2, 2014


Avista Utilities celebrated its 125th anniversary by building Spokane a new City Hall Plaza, and sprucing up the adjacent Huntington Park. Paige Browning reports on the celebration at city hall on Friday. At Avista’s celebration, there was sun, a big crowd, and live music. Local teenage band Acuff and Sherfey played to the crowd outside city hall, where people gathered for the first time at the new plaza.