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News from the Northern Plateau

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NESPELEM, Wash. - The Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway winds through the
Colville reservation of central Washington. The first project by the
Planning Department of the Colville Confederated Tribes was recently
completed with the placement of a 12-foot-tall steel sculpture of a
sasquatch atop Disautel Summit between the towns of Nespelem and Omak.

Virgil "Smoker" Marchand designed and constructed the structure. Marchand
is a well-known Colville artist who began working with steel about six
years ago and now has numerous sculptures erected in Canada and on the
Colville Reservation. This latest sculpture was put in place on Oct. 16 and
has already received favorable comments.

Many tribes' oral histories contain stories of a large man-like creature.
The name varies from tribe to tribe. The Colvilles talk of "Skanicum,"
while the neighboring Spokane Tribe uses the term "Scweneyti"; but
nationwide, the term "sasquatch" is well recognized.

Marchand commented, "It is our aspiration that the sculpture brings back
the legends and experiences of our history and culture as it was once
shared with us by elders and families. We're hoping to put together a
pamphlet from stories gathered to help the traveler better understand our
culture." Anyone wishing to contribute stories is asked to send them to
Virgil Marchand in the Planning Department at P.O. Box 150 in Nespelem.


LEWISTON, Idaho - The Nez Perce Tribe recently broke ground to construct a
new hotel and casino adjacent to the present Clearwater River Casino about
four miles east of Lewiston. In late October they were moving dirt for
water lines and providing parking for the present casino while a new one is
being built. Opening of the new casino is projected for late spring,
possibly early June, with a 50-room hotel scheduled to open shortly

The casino has been in a "Sprung structure," a type of tent, for the past
seven years. The new casino will be a facility in keeping with the tribe's
plans to modernize so that it can maintain a competitive edge with other
casinos in the region.

Both the casino and hotel are being constructed in such a way to allow for
future expansion. The new structure will be patterned somewhat after the
Little Creek Casino north of Olympia, Wash., owned by the Squaxin Island

Ken Arthur, director of marketing for the casino, commented, "It's a very
aggressive project. It should add to the business flow of the area and be
of benefit not only to the Nez Perce Tribe but also the Clearwater Valley
in drawing traffic to the area."


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WORLEY, Idaho - The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians recently met at
the Coeur d'Alene Casino and Hotel for its annual meeting. Ernie Stensgar,
former chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, was re-elected to his third
term as president of the ATNI. Stensgar served as chairman of his tribe for
20 years and is a board member of the National Congress of American

Stensgar commented that the organization wants to be more creative and more
proactive than reactive, and has developed a "think tank" concept to
explore and promote that idea. "I'm very pleased to be re-elected to keep
that alive and moving," he said.

He further commented that the executive offices, located in Portland, Ore.,
need to be enlarged from the present staff of two in order to keep in daily
contact with tribal leaders.


BONNERS FERRY, Idaho - The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho recently acquired 2.1
million kokanee (salmon) eggs from Meadow Creek in British Columbia, a
tributary of Kootenay Lake. The eggs were placed in the gravels of six
Idaho streams which drain into the Kootenai River in an effort to restore
kokanee runs into the river and its tributary streams. Kootenai Vice
Chairman Kym Cooper commented, "We are looking forward to having kokanee
return to their traditional spawning grounds."

The cooperative project involving the Idaho Department of Fish and Game
began in 1999 and continued the following two years before a shortage of
eggs in Canada caused a two-year delay. It resumed last year with 3 million
eggs. Adults from the earlier releases have been returning, something not
seen for several years before the start of the program. It's hoped that
this will become a self-sustaining run.

The Kootenai Tribe has historically depended on fish from this river.
Re-establishing kokanee will not only provide fishing opportunities but the
dead, spawned-out kokanee washing from the streams into the river will
provide food for sturgeon, another fish on which the tribe has long
depended and is helping to re-establish in the Kootenai River.


NESPELEM, Wash. - The Colville Tribal Enterprise Corp. had a highly
successful year, beginning with its induction into the "Hall of Fame" by
the University of Washington Business School. CTEC has been named many
times as a top minority-owned business in the state and is now ranked third
in that category based on revenues.

It generated one of its highest revenues this year, more than $130 million,
while employing approximately 1,000 people. More than $3 million in gaming
profits was distributed to the tribe, and CTEC donated more than $90,000
through in support of nonprofit organizations, charities and pow wows. It
also gave nearly $80,000 to help sponsor events that help draw tourists and
stimulate economic growth.

Donations and sponsorships include coats to the Head Start programs in
several communities; student scholarships for 18 young tribal members; and
donations to Breast Cancer Awareness, Economic Alliance, Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center, Coulee Corridor, the first-ever Kids Festival and
several other groups, including packages and letters of support to troops