yakama nation

Courtesy of Yakama Nation

The Yakama Nation is calling for the removal of three lower Columbia River dams — Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day — in an effort to save salmon and preserve First Nations’ culture.

Standing on the banks of the Columbia River Monday, near the remnants of Celilo Falls, Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy traced the history of decrees, congressional acts and court cases that led to the damming of the river.

Sheri Whitfield / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The fire that engulfed Notre Dame cathedral shocked the world earlier this year. And a wildfire in July on Rattlesnake Mountain in southeast Washington similarly shocked Northwest tribes.

Treeless Rattlesnake Mountain is over 3,600 wind-swept feet above sea level. It’s part of the Hanford Reach National Monument designated by President Clinton, home to rare plants and fauna. 

Franklin County Fire District 13

Updated Friday, July 19, 11 p.m. PT

A wildfire continued burning today near the Hanford Nuclear Site on and around the Hanford Reach National Monument. The Cold Creek Fire is burning sensitive, federally protected habitat. As of Friday evening it was estimated at nearly 42,000 acres and 60 percent containment.

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A legal case involving the Yakama Nation and Washington state taxes that started in 2013 came to an end Tuesday with a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

 In a 5-4 ruling, the court decided in favor of tribal treaty rights in a case between the Washington Department of Licensing and Cougar Den, a gas station in White Swan on the Yakama Reservation.  

Maya Lin Studio

A large public art project proposed to be built beside the now-inundated great falls of the Columbia River has been put on indefinite hold by its sponsor.

The installation was planned for Celilo Falls — east of The Dalles, Oregon — as the sixth and final outdoor artwork in a series by celebrated designer Maya Lin along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Lay Conn / KCTS-9

Emily Washines was 18 years old when she was crowned Miss National Congress of American Indians. Yakama tribal councilmembers and elders sung a warrior song for her and then extracted a promise.

"After I got a pageant title, [they said] we want to talk to you about who Yakama women are," Washines said. "I thought, 'Oh gosh. There is going to come cooking lessons or something.'"

But tribal leaders had something else in mind. They wanted Washines to remember a message about a little-known war that wracked the Pacific Northwest in the 1850s. 

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zwj3d3j

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a five-year-old case that questions the rights outlined in an 1855 treaty between the United States and Washington’s Yakama Nation.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

JoDe Goudy, Chairman of the Yakama Nation, was denied entry to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. Goudy almost always dons his traditional regalia with purpose for important occasions, and a visit to the highest court in the U.S. is no exception.

But diplomacy didn’t seem to sway a security guard outside the Supreme Court.

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Whether a Northwest Native tribe can legally transport goods and services across state lines is at the heart of arguments that will be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

SCOTUS To Review 'Landmark' Tribal Sovereignty Case

Jun 27, 2018
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Last year, the Washington state Supreme Court granted the Yakama Nation the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members called it a landmark case for tribal sovereignty. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review it.

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A Yakama Nation leader, Russell Jim, has died. The 82-year-old was well-known by tribes and environmentalists across the nation for his fight to clean up Hanford.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Thursday a bill aimed at shedding light on the cases of missing or murdered Native American women. 
 At the bill signing ceremony, Native women in traditional regalia performed a women’s honor song.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Yakama Nation is asking Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide. It’s a steep slope outside of Yakima that is moving slowly and clings above a small community, a railroad corridor, Interstate 82 and the Yakima River.

The tribes have a lot to lose if it goes down.

Emily Washines

In the mid-19th century, Emily Washines' ancestors in the Yakama tribe fought the U.S. Army for four years in what became known as the Yakama—or Yakima—Indian War. She said few people in the Pacific Northwest today know much if anything about the bloody conflict.

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A state Supreme court decision Thursday gives a Washington tribe the right to transport goods and services across state lines without taxation. Attorneys and tribal members said the case is a win on the side of tribal sovereignty.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Alaska’s largest statewide native organization honored the Yakama Nation during their annual convention Thursday. The Yakama Nation loaned the Alaska Federation of Natives $225,000 to establish itself 50 years ago.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

A press briefing midday Saturday included spokespeople from the Union Pacific Railroad Company, officials with various environmental agencies from both Oregon and Washington, the county sheriff and even Richard Franklin, a federal-level official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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The Yakama Nation will have more control with its tribal police and courts over crimes committed on the nation’s reservation. That’s according to the federal Interior Department this week.

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A federal judge in Eastern Washington has ruled a cigarette maker on the Yakama Indian Reservation owes $58 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

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Leaders of the Yakama Nation in central Washington say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Yakama Nation’s steelhead reconditioning program is like a retreat spa for fish. And it's changing the circle of life for the species.

Historic Site, Cave Art Delay Transmission Line

Aug 1, 2013
Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Northwest history is colliding with the need to upgrade the region’s electric transmission grid. It’s happening on a windblown patch of riverfront property at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Bonneville Power Administration is trying to build a new transmission line across that land. But conflicts over historical preservation have increased the cost of the project to $185 million and stalled progress for more than a year. Colin Fogarty begins our story in Wishram, Washington.

Washington Incident Management Team #2/ InciWeb. A column of smoke rises from the Mile Marker 28 Fire near Goldendale, Wash.

A wildfire near Goldendale, Washington is blackening grasslands, shrubs and forests along Highway 97. It’s called the Mile Marker 28 Fire.

About 30 homes have been evacuated so far.

“As of the last information we have, no structures have been lost. So it’s still in a precautionary mode, says Randy Shepard, an information officer on the fire. "But given the nature of the fire, we didn’t want to get anyone too close to the fire.”

The fire started on Wednesday, but the cause is still unknown. Much of the active blaze is on Yakama Nation land.