WIGA News Clips December 19, 2006
Tribal review period shortened The Daily Herald 12/19/06
Stillaguamish plan funds distribution The Daily Herald 12/19/06
Lawsuit targets Indian land issue Times Union 12/19/06
Tribal review period shortened
Tribes now have 30 days to respond to the county when archaeological features are
discovered during construction.
By Krista J. Kapralos
EVERETT - A change in a county code that Snohomish County officials say is a
"housekeeping amendment" could be a harbinger of a future shift in the county's policies
toward Indian tribes, county planners said.
The Snohomish County Council voted last week to create a 30-day deadline for the tribes
to respond when archaeological features are found in the course of development.
The county was once home to countless Indian villages and encampments. Many of those
villages, and the bones of the people who inhabited them, are now buried in the ground.
Tribal leaders have sparred with the state and developers in the past to preserve ancient
remains discovered in the course of construction. Under the county's old code, the tribes
were allowed to take as long as they wished to advise the county when remains or
artifacts were found.
"We used to just send them a report and then wait for them to respond," said Karen
Watkins, principal planner for Snohomish County's planning department. "It would hold
Stillaguamish tribal chairman Shawn Yannity said he's concerned that 30 days isn't
enough for his tribe to review the permits.
"For a small tribe like us, we only have one person reviewing permits," he said. "Those
permits are coming from state agencies, county, city agencies. That's a lot of permits that
come across our desk, and with just having one person reviewing them, 30 days is kind of
He said he would have preferred 60 days, but is optimistic that the county will work with
"It's going to be a working process, so it might take some time," he said. "That's the nice
thing about codes: they can always be amended."
Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Tulalip tribal leaders wrote letters to the county and
appeared before the council to argue for more influence over artifacts, burial grounds and
other and sacred spots that are sprinkled throughout the region.
The Sauk Suiattle tribe asked that the county expand the code that regulates what is
currently termed "archaeological and historic resources" to include "native Indian burial
grounds and culturally significant sites," Watkins said.
The county didn't add the terms the tribe requested because county officials wanted input
from all the local tribes, Watkins said. The county is undergoing a development code
update that could take several years.
"This is one piece of that," she said. "We don't have a schedule for when different pieces
will go forward."
Spokesmen for the Sauk Suiattle and Tulalip tribes could not be reached for comment.
The Sauk Suiattle, Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes were among those that were party to
the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, which surrendered land that makes up about a fifth of
what is now Washington to the federal government. Those tribes are now working
together in a legal suit known as the Habitat Claim to assert sovereignty over land and
resources they say are integral to their culture.
The request from Sauk Suiattle to expand the definition of "archaeological and historic
resources" is part of a tribal concern that is bigger than the "housekeeping" the council
hoped to conduct in last week's vote, Watkins said.
Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or email@example.com.
Stillaguamish plan funds distribution
The Stillaguamish Tribe is accepting applications from public and nonprofit agencies for
projects that will address negative impacts on the north Snohomish County area from
Stillaguamish Tribal Gaming operations at Angel of the Wind Casino.
The tribe plans to award the funds on a competitive basis to eligible applicants who have
a plan to address a negative of tribal gaming at the casino. Applicants must also
demonstrate the ability to complete their projects by Dec. 31, 2007.
Under a gaming compact with the state of Washington, the Stillaguamish Tribe is
required to reserve 2 percent of its net profits to address negative impacts on the local
community from gaming operations.
Applications are available by contacting the Stillaguamish Tribe at 360-652-7362.
Completed applications must be postmarked or received by the Stillaguamish Tribal
Offices no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 31. No faxed or e-mailed applications will be accepted.
The Stillaguamish Tribe's mailing address is P.O. Box 277, Arlington, WA 98223-0277.
Lawsuit targets Indian land issue
State officials seek to block U.S. agency from placing property in trust
By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
First published: Tuesday, December 19, 2006
ALBANY -- A state assemblyman and other elected officials from central New York
have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the Department of the Interior from putting
land into trust for American Indian tribes.
The action, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Albany, could pose a new hurdle for
an existing casino and several proposed gambling halls.
For instance, it would prevent the federal government from putting land into trust for the
Oneida Nation of New York, which operates Turning Stone casino in Verona on land that
has been ruled taxable, nonsovereign territory.
It also would affect the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, which is eager to build a $600 million
casino at Monticello Raceway and anticipates a favorable ruling soon from the Interior
Other tribes covered by the suit are the Oneida tribe of Wisconsin, the Seneca Cayuga
tribe of Oklahoma and the Cayuga Indian nation.
"This is directed at the feds, saying they don't have the right to come into New York,
which is one of the original 13 Colonies," said Assemblyman David Townsend, R-Rome.
He said the 13 Colonies continue to have autonomy, and new reservation land can't be
forced on the region. He said he wants the state to be able to directly negotiate with tribes
for any expansion of tribal land.
The suit says the federal environmental impact statements done by the tribes on their
proposed reservation expansion are inadequate and inappropriate.
A Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman did not return a call for comment. Plaintiffs
include Townsend, Oneida County Legislators Michael Hennessy and Jack Gardner,
Central New York Fair Business Association and Citizens Equal Rights Alliance.