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Native Americans

Spring 2005

Conference Brings Plateau Tribes and WSU a Few Steps Closer

To get here, most elders at Washington State University’s conference honoring the Plateau Tribes had to pass by places defined now only by what they used to be.

From Oregon and Washington, they drove along the Columbia, past dams where once abundant fish runs sustained them as “salmon people.”

From Idaho and Montana, they passed land that belonged to no one, by root-digging prairies and camas fields now gated and signed, “no trespassing.”

“As I traveled up here, I pointed out things along the river to my son,” said Wilfred Jim, a 67-year-old enrolled Yakama who lives in Warm Springs, Oregon . . . this … » More …

Ozette Art and the Makah Canoe

Many questions remain concerning the contents of the longhouses  excavated at Ozette. One of the most intriguing is the nature of its art, which was pervasive. More than 400 artifacts stored at the Makah Cultural Center might be considered art. Although a few pieces, such as the well-known carved whale saddle, are (presumably) ritualistic, most are everyday objects, combs, bowls, clubs, embellished with designs.

Jeff Mauger (PhD ’78), an archaeologist at Peninsula Community College in Port Angeles, earned his doctorate from WSU, analyzing the shed-roof style of the houses at Ozette and their relation to the style throughout the Northwest coast. Since then he … » More …

Winter 2008

A reburial eases a clash of culture and science

On a bluff above the Snake River, a few miles upstream from the Tri-Cities, people are gathering on a July morning to bury their dead. Or rebury, actually. The bones that fill the ordinary cardboard boxes sitting next to a deep open grave have spent decades in a laboratory storeroom. On one box is printed in neat letters, “woman and child.”

A warm breeze rustles the sage and wild rye, as people approach the grave in small groups, people of the Yakama, Colville, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Wannapum. Although the identities of the remains are uncertain, they are certainly ancestors of many of those gathered … » More …

Spring 2006

What I've Learned Since College: An interview with Rebecca Miles

Last May, Rebecca Miles became the first woman and, at age 32, the youngest person to be elected chairman of the Nez Perce tribe. In her one-year post representing the 3,000 members of the tribe, Miles has traveled the country speaking on issues like salmon recovery and the 150th anniversary of the Nez Perce treaty. She has also worked hard at home to address local issues, raise her two sons, and serve her community. A 1997 criminal justice graduate of Washington State University, Miles went on to earn a graduate degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. She spoke with Hannelore Sudermann November 15, 2005, … » More …

Winter 2005

Sacajawea's People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country

In this year of 2005, the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, we are again reminded of the role Sacajawea played in that long journey westward. However, Sacajawea’s tribe of origin, the Lemhi, has gone largely ignored. Only recently have historians given any significance to what Native American history offers us past the late 19th century. It’s this oversight that John W.W. Mann (’01 Ph.D. Hist.) addresses regarding the Lemhi tribe’s heroic struggle to maintain its separate ancestry, cultural heritage, and identity during the 20th century in Sacajawea’s People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country.

It is, frankly, an excruciating and confusing … » More …

Fall 2004

The Renaissance of American Indian Higher Education: Capturing the Dream

Much of the effort of American Indian education in recent years has been to reverse the effects of the deadly programs of the past, when the schools most Indians had access to were procrustean institutions, to which they were required to adjust, or fail. The intent of this book is to document the story of the Native American Higher Education Initiative (NAHEI) and the concept of the tribal college movement. The NAHEI is identified as a partnership of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with the tribal colleges and universities, three federal schools, four national American Indian educational organizations, and mainstream institutions of higher education whose programs … » More …

Summer 2008

A Dialogue with the Past

A fierce Pacific storm in February 1970 revealed early remains of Ozette, on the Olympic Coast between Cape Flattery and La Push. Worried about the site's vulnerability to looters and further storms, Makah tribal leader Ed Claplanhoo '56 called archaeologist Richard Daugherty at Washington State University, commencing an 11-year excavation of the site. The excavation yielded thousands of well-preserved artifacts and a wealth of clues to the history and culture of Makahs and other coastal tribes. » More ...
A new memorial in Neah Bay, built on land donated by Ed Claplanhoo '56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families, commemorates area veterans and the presence of Spain on the Northwest coast as early as 1774. Photo Zach Mazur
Fall 2008

A memorial and a blessing

At the western edge of the Makah Nation village of Neah Bay sits a tidy new park. It marks the spot where 216 years ago Spanish explorers built the first European settlement in the continental United States west of the Rockies and north of San Francisco.

Fort Núñez Gaona–Diah Veterans Park, dedicated in May, was built on property donated by Ed Claplanhoo ’56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families in a unique partnership amongst the Makahs, the state, and the Spanish government.

Claplanhoo, a former Makah Tribal chair, had known of the historic significance of his property for many years, even marking it … » More …