Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hate - The Real Issue

I received a call a few days ago from someone with the same last name as one of the antiwhalers. It is common for several Indians to have the same last name. But not white people. I assume he is the brother.

He said he remembers me from school. He had an antagonistic tone in his voice. He said he played ball with my brother.

My brother was a good ball player, better than the white boys and they resented him for it. Apparently they still do.

In Junior High I started taking the classes that would get me into college. Indians weren't encouraged or expected to go to college in those days. We weren't even expected to graduate from high school.

I was the only Indian in those classes and I was tortured. This man was trying to remind me of that. I have become an uppity Indian and he was trying to put me back in my place.

I am no longer a 13 year old girl. I am a middle aged woman. I did go to college. I have been to Europe and Cuba representing this country. I have worked in New York City and Washington DC.

The local racists and their kids make up the rank and file of the antiwhaling groups. They spout the same garbage as they did when we were in school.

My first day of school was my first time away from my family. I was ALONE. At recess I went out to the playground. I was immediately surrounded by a bunch of bigger, older white boys.

They told me that the reason Indians aren't white is because we bathe in shit. They said other ugly things to me but that is the one I remember.

That was my first day in school. It didn't change. The white kids tortured me until I left for BIA boarding school.

When the Makah whaling began all that hate against Indians was once again ignited. It was intentionally used by the antiwhaling leaders.

They brought out all the old stereotypes. They said that all Indians get money from the federal government. Some how I have been overlooked by that program.

They accused us of drug addiction and alcoholism. It is true that many Native Americans became alcoholic. We have no immunity to that disease. That is why the US government deliberately introduced alcohol to us. Most of the adults on my reservation have stopped drinking today. Some of us never did drink.

Dan Spomer and Paul Watson rant about white people being tax paying citizens. When the Makah got their first whale, Anna Hall, (Seashepherd board member) stated to the press that she was going home, she had a job and taxes to pay. Again the insinuation is that Indians feed at the federal trough at white people's expense.

There were many hate letters in the local paper. They called for boycott's of Indian smokeshops and casinos. The Makah don't have a smokeshop or casino. Why boycott other Tribes unless the real issue is hate?

I responded to those letters of hate. I corrected the many lies about the Treaties and our culture. I had to pass hurdles not required of the racist antiwhalers. The paper allowed them to attack me by name. I wasn't allowed to respond to them by name.

The fight to stop racism has been long and hard. Many white people feel they couldn't possibly be racist because they make a comfortable living and they are educated. Yet they accept the abuse of Indian people as natural. It's not.

They think racists are from the South and they are only prejudiced against Blacks. I call Port Angeles the Selma of the Pacific Northwest. Oh, they didn't turn the dogs on us or hang us, but it was going that way. That was where Dan Spomer and Paul Watson were trying to take us.

The phone call from the faceless man who snarled that he remembers me was disconcerting. He has the same last name as Mark Olson. When I asked him if he was Mark's brother he simply laughed. It was the laugh of a bully.

Like I said, I am no longer thirteen years old, or even five years old. I didn't have the skills to deal with racist bullies then. It is different now.

I know how to document incidents. I know how to contact civil rights organizations. I know how to expose racist agendas.

I have lived with racism in Port Angeles for over half a century. I recognize it even when it is disguised in sheepskin.

The antiwhalers are not flower children dancing in fields of wild flowers. They called death threats to the Makah and the Coast Guard. They called bomb threats to the Puyallup and Tulalip schools.

One day I came home at about noon from a doctor's appointment. That was the day that the first Environmental Assessment report came out in favor of the Makah.

I stopped at my mailbox. It had a rope tied around it. My first thought was "The antiwhalers. They lost and now they are trying to scare me."

I reached for the hook to open the door. It had a rope tied to it and was pegged into the ground. I was going to pull it then I got chills down my spine. I thought that if the rope triggered a projectile it would hit me in the side of the head.

I left it and went to find a police man. I found one and dragged him to see my mailbox. He told me to leave and not come back until he came for me.

I went to my mothers and waited until about ten that night. He came and told me I could go home. He said that a rope and been tied to my mailbox and stretched to a telephone pole on the other side of the road. When a car touched that rope it triggered a projectile that shattered the windshield. The victim was an off duty policewoman. That technique is called monkey wrenching and was developed by radical environmentalists to stop logging.

The antiwhalers must have found out that they didn't get me. They did it again at my mailbox. This time they got a non-Tribal member. The Tribal police watched my mailbox for a full week but the terrorists never came back.

I testified before the first Multicultural Taskforce meeting on racism. The Peninsula Daily News printed a photo of me testifying. Up until that time the antiwhalers didn't know what I looked like. The only ones who could recognize me on sight was Dan Spomer and Chuck and Margaret Owens.

One day I was shopping at the Plaza in Port Angeles. When I came out my car had been rammed so hard that the license plate was knocked off. I was never able to repair it. These are extremely dangerous people.

Safe Passing is an antiwhaling site. I call it a repository of hate. Why did they post my photo? Was it so that another lunatic in their ranks would learn to recognize me and take violent action? That is what I believe. The issue is hate. It always has been.

The antiwhalers are losing ground. Their hate is becoming visible. A cousin told me that this most recent attack on me will rebound on the antiwhalers. The public will ask why are they doing that to me. They will ask what happened to elicit that kind of response from me. The antiwhalers real agenda will be exposed.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Halley's Comet

John Amos brought his play "Halley's Comet" to Port Angeles on November 11, 2005. It is a one man show about an old man that plans to return to the hills where his father took him to see the comet. He was ten years old at the time. His father talked to the comet, telling him his life story and current events of the world.

Now Halley's comet is coming back. The old man announces his plan to return to the same spot and make his report to the comet. His friends and family tease him about it. He goes anyway.

He is confused because the scenery has changed. He places his picnic basket on a stump and searches for the maple tree that marks the spot.

He sees Halley's comet on the horizon. He excitedly introduces himself. He says people are always wondering where the Indians have gone. There are people called archaeologists. They dig up bones in old Indian cemeteries to study them. The old man says it is killing the Indians. The auditorium was so silent, the kind when EVERYONE holds their breath.

He said he went on a cattle drive when he was young. That was when he learned to believe in the Great Spirit. An Englishman who considered himself an Indian fighter was on the trip. He wore a necklace made of scalps. The old man explained that scalping was introduced by the Europeans. They paid a bounty for Indian scalps, men, women, and children.

The Englishman had participated in the Sand Creek Massacre. He bragged about the scalps of Indian women he had taken while the men were away hunting. It is one of the many dark times in American History that is being denied and/or ignored.

They entered tall grass country. All of a sudden Indians on horseback stood up. There was a Chief and Medicine Man leading. The medicine man rode up to the Englishman and pointed at his scalp necklace. He said "That is my mother." The medicine man started singing. The Chief and warriors joined in as they circled the cowboys.

In the distance they saw the biggest dust cloud they had ever seen. They also heard thunder as the dust cloud approached. There was a big male buffalo at the head of the cloud leading the charge. He put his head down and picked up the Englishman with his horns. The herd passed through the other cowboys without touching them.

When the cloud passed, everything went with it. There were no more Indians, no buffalo, no thunder, and the cloud itself disappeared taking the murderous Englishman. That was when the old man knew that the Great Spirit was real.

The old man said he had 16 children and 3 wives. He lost 3 sons in the wars and one daughter. He told of one son that died on an island in the Pacific during World War 2. Until that time black soldiers were only allowed to clean up and serve white soldiers.

The enemy was coming to invade the island. It was decided that it was necessary to arm the Black soldiers to repel the enemy.

The Japanese soldiers parachuted in. The American soldiers opened fire on them. So many men were killed midair that it rained blood. His son died defending that island. He lost two other sons in Korea and Vietnam.

The old man would hear a bell ringing. To him it sounded like the laughter of his daughter. He would run towards the sound calling her name. Then he would stop and look inward, remembering.

His daughter wanted to go down south to register Black People to vote. He told her no, that it was too dangerous. She must let someone else do it. The girl couldn't do that. She felt compelled to do her part to better the lives of others. He was proud of her, though afraid.

One day a call came telling the old man that his daughter had died of exposure. It didn't make sense, how did she die from exposure? He traveled south to claim her body.

He could barely recognize her. They had turned the dogs loose on her. She didn't die from exposure. Dogs had killed her.

Racism in Port Angeles still exists. A couple days ago there was another meeting of the Community Multicultural Alliance. The article in the paper said that there were no reports of racism at the meeting.

That doesn't mean racism has been overcome. I have recently started going to the pool. Three or four tall white women came in while I was getting ready to go into the water. One women threw her bag at me. I turned in shock as it hit me. They kept on talking as if nothing happened. I decided to ignore them. She hit me again with her stuff. One of my cousins said that another woman always does that to her. A small group of us from the reservation had begun taking exercise classes at the pool. Apparently some people didn't like it. The woman hit me again with her stuff. This time I pushed them back at her hitting her. This time she looked at me in shock. I said "Excuse me, am I in your way?" She got scared and said "No, of course not." I asked her name and she told me. I finished getting ready without further incident and they no longer bother me. My cousin just tells her tormentor that she will pray for her.

I had hoped to go to the CMT meeting and testify. I didn't make it.

Just because no community members were there to testify about ongoing racism does not mean that it has been overcome.

There have been new incidents of harrassment of Coast Guardsmen that are Pacific Islanders.

I do believe we can beat racism. It will take commitment and work to educate people who accept racism as natural.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Makah Whaling

On October 6 2005 there was a meeting with the feds about Makah Whaling. We were separated into groups to talk about the options presented. One Tribal Councilman suggested scientific whaling like the Japanese. Sandy Abels suggested that commercial whaling be an option.

There weren't too many antiwhalers there. Sandy came from Seattle. There were many missing from their group. Chuck and Margaret Owens were there, but not Spomer.

Mark Olson and Sandy Abels were in my group. They spouted the usual ss lies. I brought up that the antiwhalers be required to take alcohol and drug tests. I know their leadership and most of their troops would not be able to pass the tests. Sandy spouted the racist stereotypes of Native alcoholism and drug addiction. I told her I knew that Chuck and Margaret and Spomer could not pass the tests. She said she didn't use alcohol and drugs. I told her I didn't either. I poked her in the shoulder.

I walked away. Sandy said that there was a no touching rule and I could be thrown out for poking her shoulder. I decided that if I was going to be thrown out for that, I was going to knock her on her butt. I turned and headed back to her. She got scared and put a row of chairs between us. The moderator came and ordered me back.

They harrassed and baited the Makah. The Peninsula Daily News stated that Dave Sones pushed Chuck Owens. They continually baited Wayne Johnson. He simply walked away from Chuck.

I admire the Makah for their grace during these meetings. I first met Chuck, Margaret and Spomer at the Sullivan reading. I asked Sullivan why he printed Paul Watson's lies about being AIM's medic at Wounded Knee 1973. He apologized to me when he signed my book. But he didn't retract his statements on the second publishing.

I believe Dan Spomer was brought here to run the anti-Indian campaign. He used to write inflammatory articles in the PDN about Indian Treaties and Indian Religions. He wrote one article about the Hopi's sacrificing eagles. It is the same garbage as his ranting about the Makah sacrificing whales.

I wrote a letter to Paul Gottlieb, opinions page editor, and John Brewer about them printing letters about Indians sacrificing whales. We don't now and we have never sacrificed animals.

Mark Olson published a film of me at the whaling scoping meeting. He filmed me from across the gym. He is an asshole and I flipped him the finger. I may do a gallery of hate and publish photos of the antiwhalers.

I suggested to a Makah Tribal Councilman that the antiwhalers be required to take alcohol and drug tests before they are allowed on the water to protest. That would be for the safety of the Whalers, the antiwhalers themselves, the Coast Guard and the general public. Remember that lunatic that rammed her jetski into the Coast Guard's rubber raft?

Despite all the money spent by the antiwhalers, it looks very good for the Makah. Maybe the Federal government will honor the treaties and stop paying attention to the tantrums of a bunch of rich spoiled brats.

The sitting mayor of Port Angeles was defeated in this election. The big issue was racism and the city's relationship with the Elwha Tribe. The racism of the antiwhalers tore apart Clallam County. Things have changed with this election.

Many citizens have made a stand against racism. The antiwhalers accuse me of playing the race card. They played it first by using racism. They cry that anyone who disagrees with an Indian is called a racist. They say that as they attack our culture, traditions, ceremonies and spirituality.

It's funny. I have never spoken with an antiwhaler that actually does anything to better the environment. They do nothing to clean up the rivers or oceans. They don't take a stand against corporate pollution. I doubt if they recycle.

The antiwhalers don't even talk about gray whales. They just attack Indians. How does that save gray whales?

I am the Indian most hated by the antiwhalers. You can tell by Spomers attacks against me in his newsletters and Olson's publishing of the film of me on his site. I am not a whaler or Makah. I simply support our Treaties and freedom of religion. That tells me that the real issue is hate.

I was at the city pool with a group from the rez. Three or four white women came to the bench I was sitting on. One threw her bag and hit me. I was shocked and kept talking to my cousin. It COULD have been an accident. She hit me again. When she hit me for the third time, I shoved her stuff back at her hitting her. I said excuse me, am I in your way? She got scared and said of course not. They went to a different section of the pool. They have never bothered me since. Racism is live and well in Port Angeles.

The antiwhalers will find a different climate in Port Angeles and Clallam County. Every word of hate will discredit them.

Maybe now we can get down to the real issue of saving whales. The hate mongers will have to go elsewhere allowing the Tribes and real environmentalists to work together to save the gray whales.

One point many of us have continually brought up to the antiwhalers is that it should be a natural union between Natives and environmentalists. Who doesn't want that union to happen? I would say follow the money. Who footed the bill for the racist campaign against the Makah? Who paid Dan Spomer's salary?


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Anna Mae Aquash

Next year will make 30 years since that body was found in a South Dakota gully. We don't know any more now than we did then.

There are web sites dedicated to her. Everyone has an opinion or theory. Disagree with the accepted FBI story and you will be attacked, your computer hacked and crashed, your reputation will be severely questioned. There is still danger associated with her name.

Although Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted for her murder I still believe that it was the US Government that made the decision that ended her life. I don't think we will ever know the full truth. We will never get that from the courts. That would be like asking a coyote to guard the hen house. The result would be disastrous.

I think now that we were manipulated by the federal government. I think that the occupation of the BIA, Custer, and the occupation of Wounded Knee and the execution of Anna Mae Aquash was a war game.

I think that the feds decided that she was the lynch pin of The Movement. I think they were stopping the rise of a Red Messiah. I don't know if they thought that Anna Mae was the Messiah or they thought one would rise from AIM.

Taking out Anna Mae took out the Movement. I don't think it really had anything to do with our ideals or goals. AIM was simply a convenient target that met the needs of the feds at the time. All of this was a training exercise.

Arlo's trial was just another farce. John's will be too. It's a mop up. The erasing of all remaining tracks. There was no concrete evidence presented against Arlo. There won't be against John.

The feds will have their way. Any concrete evidence has been lost or destroyed. They are in charge of the hen house and the results are disastrous.

The legend of Anna Mae will live forever. She will be like Che. She was beautiful, intelligent and would have effected positive change for Native people.

We need to ask "Who was she a danger to? Who benefited from her death?" It certainly isn't Arlo or John.

Spirits here say it was 3 men that killed her. She didn't walk placidly to her death. She fought. They were scared of her. That is more in keeping with her personality.

The courts took uncorroborated hearsay testimony. I don't think they would take the word of Spirit.

I have no physical evidence for my assertions. It is just what I have learned from listening and watching for these 30 years.

I ask people to keep an open mind and heart. Don't take the coyote's word about what happened in the chicken house.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Canoe Journey to Tse Whitzen

It's been over for a month and a half now. The canoes and cameras are gone. We fed all the people. That was my big worry. People from town volunteered. They helped make gifts for the giveaway. They cooked and served meals. We wouldn't have been able to pull this off without the help of the People of Port Angeles.

This was the best thing for overcoming the wounds of racism. The town people got to know us a little better. We're not as scary as they thought in the light of knowledge.

Jim Casey did a great job covering the event for the Peninsula Daily News. He also edited a special edition on the Journey. The copies went fast and I missed it.

The Journeys are alcohol and drug free. Many get to hear the Spiritual teachings for the first time. We hear of a lot of youth who are getting into trouble for drinking and drugging by the age of nine years old. They are lost with no direction. Tribal politicians are more concerned with making money.

Young people paddled for 200 miles or more simply to represent their Tribe. Most did it without pay. The only compensation was honor and the gratitude of Elders who could no longer make the journey.

The sight of your Tribe's canoe coming ashore will bring the hardest heart to tears. The wind acted up and interfered with the protocol. The Coast Guard issued an order that no canoes would be allowed on the water. Some Tribes waited until the Coast Guard left, then launched. Some trailered their canoes to Port Angeles then joined the Native Armada asking permission to enter our territory.

Alaskan Natives brought their sealskin canoes. One young man circled the harbor as each canoe formally requested permission to land. He would pick up cedar hats that were blown off by the wind. He would ask the Elders which canoe lost the item. Each time he was told that he should make the person dance to get it back. He was too soft-hearted to do that. He returned each item to the owner.

Canoe landings are always emotional. Chief Dan George's words "My heart soars like a hawk." are the only words fit to describe your feelings.

This year there was a canoe full of young people that battled their way from Vancouver Island across the stormy 18 miles of The Straits of Juan De Fuca. I believe they were the last to come in. An Elder man said quietly, "Look how young they are." The captain was 15 years old. His crew ranged in age from 9 years old to 16 years old. They came alone, no adults, no support boat in case they got in trouble, no money. I don't know their names, but I will never forget them. For me, they represent the hope for our future.

The funny times is always when people are made to dance to get back personal belongings they had lost. A "princess crown" had been found. The MC held it up so everyone could see it. He asked the owner to come forward to dance for it. She had already gone home. Her cousin vounteered to dance. She was a pretty little girl of about 11 or 12. She was a good dancer, the crowd cheered when she entered the floor. When she was done one of the adults in her group called her back on the floor. She said that this was the second time this girl had danced. She had started getting into trouble and came on The Journey to straighten her life out. Another "princess crown" was found. That owner had also left. Three of her cousins danced to get back her beauty crown. What touched me was that these young people had a sense of committment to friends and family. They are TRIBAL!

The Makah had volunteered to sing for those who had to dance. One young man who sang with them was from Ahousat on the west coast of Vancouver Island. They are whalers on the Pacific Ocean.

This young man spoke of his efforts to become clean and sober. He said he had been lost for a long time and came on The Journey to find himself. He said he was going to make himself dance to get himself back.

He went out on the dance floor. Some young women started dancing on the side to support him. The floor exploded with men dancing to find themselves. You could see that some of them belonged to the secret societies. They danced as if they were in full regalia with magnificent carved wolf masks on their heads. They wore the every day costume of modern Indians, jeans or shorts and t-shirts.

Women joined them on the floor. It was a proclamation that we are still here. We may be wounded, but we are healing. We have survived the guns, reservations, boarding schools, public schools, termination, alcohol and drugs.

There are always tears on the journeys. They come from deep within, of pride and pain, sorrow and joy, and release. Our greatest hurts have come from learned behavior. Our teachings say children are sacred. They were sent to the catholic boarding schools that did not believe that our children are sacred. They were physically, sexually, emotionally, and mentally abused. They were sent home to plant those seeds of destruction in our communities.

The Creator has given us a great gift. We have the opportunity to heal ourselves. To get back to our roots. The canoe teaches us to pull together. We need each other to reach our goal. The cedar tree knowingly gives it's life to become our canoe. It's bark makes our hats and ceremonial gear. We have remembered that We are One.

The Canoe Journey's are a simple act. It was born of The People not federal bureaucrats. We are finding ourselves like those dancers who danced for all of us. Our future is with those kids who climbed into a canoe and paddled into the storm. We have won with those young girls who accepted responsibility and danced for a cousin who couldn't do it.

There were canoes that couldn't make it because of deaths in their communities. We had heard that a Great Lakes Tribe was coming. The Maoris and Hawaiians didn't make it either. The price of gas was high, yet people came.

It has been a hard time for the Elwha. We cried for our ancestors that were desecrated by the mill, the town and the state. We picked up the broken shards of their skeletons. Our young people worked in the cold of winter, up to their knees in mud. They were broiled in the summer sun.

We endured the anger and racism of the town when we stopped the construction. We have over 300 intact remains of our ancestors that need to be reburied. We have uncountable bits and pieces of remains that will never be put back together.

The words, songs and dances of our guests picked up our tears and helped relieve our burdens. Prayers are still needed, to soften the hearts of the politicians, both Tribal and state.

It was an honor to host all the canoes. We will tell the stories forever.


Sunday, May 22, 2005


It is such a personal thing, yet others feel compelled to question and criticize. I joined "The Smokehouse" in 1977.

I graduated from college in September 1977. I didn't want to be like those Indians who thought they were better than other Indians just because they had a white man's education. I was initiated the following December of the same year.

I wanted my life to be spiritual. I didn't know what I was asking. I was told before I left the Smokehouse after my first year, "You are the one that has changed. Everyone else is the same. You will have to fit yourself back into that world you left."

I don't think I ever did completely succeed. I have always been a little out of sync. The rest of the world seems to be dancing to a manic drummer and I still haven't learned any of the steps.

My Dad died about ten years ago. After a year of mourning I joined the Shaker Church. Our teachings say that when you lose a parent your life changes drastically.

I wanted a positive change. I wanted to forgive my Dad for the hell he'd put me through with his drinking and violence. He was responsible and only drank on weekends.

We have a flood story here that says that we tied our canoes to the mountaintops so we wouldn't get lost. There is a cedar rope wrapped around one of the mountain tops. Dad would take us to search for it every spring.

He would take us to drink from a mineral spring and bathe in a pool beneath a waterfall. If you did that you would live a long healthy life. The mineral water was foul and I was the only one that would drink from it. I have always understood ceremony and ritual.

I have recently been questioned on an internet discussion list for being "Christian." Although I am a Shaker, "Christian" still means white.

The United States government banned all our ceremonies and outlawed our religions. The Creator gave us the Shaker Church to help our people. We pull sickness from people.

White people and some Indians think that life on a reservation is coninual sweat lodges and ceremonies. That would be so nice. But it wasn't like that even in the old days. We still had to survive.

That's what we do best. Our people are very spiritual. Once our religions were outlawed most started going to church.

The leaders in the Smokehouse were also Shaker plus a white church. They saw nothing wrong with it. Our people didn't have any problems with the early missionaries.

Whites and newborn Indians have a very narrow view of Indian spirituality. Not everyone is ready to be a Shaker or Smokehouse Dancer. God will meet you whereever you are.

Friday, May 20, 2005


This is the time for endings. Two cousins lost in two weeks. One died from cancer. The other died in an accident at work.

I hate to see men cry at funerals. My cousins friends from work and his union were there. Tough guys, quietly crying or joking so they wouldn't cry.

Mom's nephew loved Elvis. He even had a full size cutout. Had his picture taken with it too. My mom said who is that man with him. It made everyone laugh.

We have big dinners after our funerals. Non-Indians are always surprised. Salmon, clams, crabs, oysters, deer, elk.....tables strain under the weight. It's ceremonial. When we eat together, we become even, our energy combines. Elders who are tired or sick take what they need. Those who grieve are lifted up. Dinners are important, sacred.

I said another kind of goodbye to two good friends. They are going home. She is needed by her own people. She has given a lot of her time and energy. We talked of resurrecting the outlawed women's societies. There was so much other work that needed to be done, we didn't get to the fun stuff.

He helped me get out information about Tzewhitsen. He is more diplomatic that I am. When the Washington State Department of Transportation people stopped talking to me, they talked to him.

I asked him to put a petition on the internet. He knows more about that stuff than me. He spoke to the State. They told him my Tribal Council had signed an agreement stating that they would not sue the State of Washington over the village of Tsewhitzen. They also agreed that no Tribal member nor our descendants would ever sue the State.

My heart sank. The State said the council bartered for our Ancestors. They asked for ten million dollars, but settled for 3.4 million. I have never been so angry in my life. The State said there was nothing we could do. It's legal and binding.

I said we fight anyway. It seems that all our battles have been against all odds. Many good-hearted people from around the world signed our petition. We pulled many 20 hours days and some all-nighters getting out information about Tsewhitzen.

Many people from other Tribes asked me why we didn't have a demonstration in Olympia and at the village site.

I have no illusions about staging a demonstration under the watchful eye of big brother and homeland security. I knew the dangers.

I made the decision. We would demonstrate in Olympia first, then in Port Angeles. Racism was very ugly at the time. Our chairwoman was receiving death threats. Someone called and said they could pick us off from the top of the hill. Our reservation is in a valley.

Our chairwoman Frances Charles finally told the State they had to stop construction and leave. The racism and threats got worse.

My friend called me one day and told me the amount of money the State had put into the graving yard and the amount the city of Port Angeles thought they were losing. It was several millions. I said that the money making potential of waterfront property is probably higher. He said people have been killed for that amount. We thought about that then went back to work.

When they told me that they were leaving I reminded them of what we had done together over the years. The work we still had to do. I said we will never make the history books, but I thanked them for their work to save my ancestors.

So Ann....we may be elders by the time we get the societies going again, but we will do it. And Keith...I am so glad you got to taste huckleberries.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005


During the 60's and 70's sovereignty was our cry, vision and goal. We dreamed it.

Treaties are made between sovereign nations. That was our evidence. Fish-ins were staged on the Puyallup and Nisqually rivers. It was illegal for Indians to fish in Washington state until the Boldt Decision. Yet it was a right retained in our Treaties.

The Trail of Broken Treaties, the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, the subsequent "Trails" were demands for recognition.

When I was growing up my dad fished at night when no one could see him. The smokehouse was covered by a big maple tree. We were ordered to tell no one we had fish.

The Frank's Landing family on the Nisqually river near Olympia forced the State of Washington into court. They staged fish-ins and were arrested. Their defense was the Treaty of Medicine Creek.

Those that fought for sovereignty were labeled militants, troublemakers or agitators. They are sometimes excluded from the benefits of sovereignty by those in Tribal power.

Corrupt Tribal officials will hide behind sovereign immunity. They cannot be held accountable for their actions. Tribal members and staff have no avenue for complaint.

Sovereignty to me means the right to feed our people. It is as simple as that. We need to provide jobs, health care, housing, enough to give them a dignified life.

Sovereignty needs to have the words courage and honesty and honor added back to it's meaning. We must see to the needs of ALL the people, not just the families who can provide the politicians with the most votes.

Chiefs were trained. The first law of a chief is to feed the people. That is a simple law that says it all. You see to the needs of the people before yourself.

Politicians are not trained. An elder once told me that everyone starts out good, but most people sell out for money. She was talking about a chairman I was fighting.

Politicians usually start out good. They promise to serve the people. They sell themselves with noble goals. They wind up selling themselves for money. Or they give up when they find out they can't change things for the better.

A friend of mine wanted to do a healing ceremony for the Tribe over the graving yard issue and the desecration of our ancestors. I had told her of the sorrow our people were carrying for our ancestors. Our elders were physically ill for a year. Some had strokes.

I called the Tribe's business manager to reserve a room for the ceremony. He would not approve it. He said he only talks with the Shaker minister about Spiritual things.

I reminded him that I was a Tribal member and he worked for me. He said he works for the Tribal council. I said yes, and they work for me.

We didn't get the room. Our chairwoman stole my friends idea of a healing ceremony and my idea of a demonstration at the site.

She staged a farce that she called a healing ceremony. There was no healing or ceremony. It was just a chance for her to get before the cameras. For that she stopped real healing.

I have asked the Washington State Department of Transportation to come and talk with the Tribal community members. We want to know what happened. Why do we have 300+ ancestors in storage with no place to rebury them?

The DOT needs to know how we feel. They have been talking with Tribal officials. They are concerned with money.

The DOT needs to know the trauma they put our people through. They must do something about the racism they stirred up against us. They did it, they are accountable.

They are hiding behind the Tribe's sovereignty. They will only talk with elected officials. Yet our constitution and bylaws states that the voting members are the Tribal Council and governing body. The elected officials are the Business Committee. They take care of Tribal affairs at our direction.

White Tribal employees and state officials hide behind the word sovereignty. They use it to not talk with us. That's not what it means. It certainly isn't what I fought for.

Sovereignty means we have the right and responsibility to feed our own people.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Truth and Reconciliation

The weekend of May 5-6-7 2005 was a landmark for the city of Port Angeles and the Elwha Klallam Tribe. Naomi Tutu spent those 3 days touring the Tse- Whitzen village site and speaking with local people.

Naomi, Reverend Charlie Mays, Mike Dougherty, and John Brewer as well as a select few friends from town attended our Traditional Foods Dinner. They ate the familiar salmon, clams and oysters.

Mike came to my table and asked me to show him how to eat the chitons that we call in english Chinese Slippers. They grow on the big rocks in the salt water. They look like the shoes that the Chinese wore when they first came here.

The chitons have little shells along their back that make me think of dinosaurs. You remove the shells and run your thumb along the body and remove the innards. Then you can eat the meat. I cleaned it for everyone.

I thought how different this must be for people who don't hunt or gather their own food. They don't have to bloody their hands with death. Everyone was respectful and ate what was put in front of them. It must have been a totally new experience for everyone.

I told how we started these dinners. Our ceremonies had been outlawed by Washington State and the US Government. In the 70's and 80's I tried to start the First Salmon Ceremonies. People weren't ready at that time.

Most of our people are Christian now. They still have that instinctive fear of being jailed for practicing our ceremonies. I softened my approach and had a "dinner" instead of a ceremony. We thank the Creator for all the foods provided.

The Center for World Indigenous Studies has found that Pacific Northwest Indians have evolved along with their environment. We get the most calcium from the chitons I mentioned.

We ask the elders if there is anything they would like us to get for them. One asked for seal. We had it at the next dinner. It was the first time that many of us had eaten it. It was delicious.

I told our Creation Story, the flood story and how we came to develop a symbiotic relationship with our environment.

Naomi had to leave early to fascilitate a meeting with Tribal members and three members of the city council and members of the Multicultural Taskforce. The hour was spent with each person stating what they wanted the other side to hear.

Naomi's speech that night for the whole community centered on the development of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in South Africa. She mentioned that morning's tour of Tsewhitzen. She was told that pipes had been laid by the mill. During excavation human skulls were found below, alongside and on top of pipes. There was no way that the mill could not have known they were there.

This atrocity reminded Naomi of one with her people. Many people were "disappeared" during apartheid. After it was over they found mass graves of people who had been tortured and killed.

She said one mother wanted to identify her son herself. He was 15 years old. She had just bought him a new pair of tennis shoes. He had disappeared a few days later.

When a new mass grave had been found the young mother went to the site looking for her son. Bodies were stacked on top of each other. She recognized her son by his new tennis shoes. I was crying and could hear sobs behind me.

She told stories of the men who had participated in the torture and murders. After apartheid the Truth and Reconcilliation commission was formed. Men who were charged with committing atrocities were brought before the commission. If the told the truth of what they did, they would be pardoned.

It seemed that most could not own up to what they had done. Many held offices in their churches and had families and were considered pillars of their community. They did not want their families and community to know of that horrible part of their life. I cannot think of a word to describe the ghastly things they had done to other people.

Naomi said that the people who won their case over missing relatives were given the choice to set the compensation. They asked for schools and clinics for their village. Naomi's stories told of how low humanity could fall and the nobility we can reach.

The gift she left with me is hope. She said that the city of Port Angeles and the Elwha Klallam Reservation is one community. She said we are ahead of the curve because we are talking with each other.

The next step is to get the Washington State Department of Transportation to come out to the Reservation and talk with community members. They are hiding behind the government to government farce that they have abused. They said they are meeting with the Tribe's Business Committee.

The members of the Tribe are the governing body, not the Business Committee. The government to government relationship is between the Tribes and the federal government. It is being misused and misinterpreted here.

Dialogue between the people of Port Angeles and members of the Elwha Klallam Tribe has begun. Coverups and abuses will be harder to contain.