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News from the Pacific Northwest

Wooten re-elected Samish chairman, Matthews secretary

ANACORTES, Wash. - Tom Wooten was re-elected chairman of the Samish Indian Nation June 29.

Dana Matthews was elected secretary; she was previously a council member. Dave Blackinton and Shawn McAvoy were elected to the council. Longtime council members Chris DeKay and Billie Jo Settle retired.

Terms are four years. The other council members - Vice Chairman Tim King, Treasurer Tamara Rogers and Councilman Gary Hatch - have two years remaining in their terms.

Wooten has been chairman since 2005, when he succeeded longtime chairman Ken Hansen, who retired because of health reasons.

During Wooten;s chairmanship, Samish completed the purchase of almost a block around its offices on Commercial Avenue, opened an additional office in downtown Anacortes, helped develop a plan to restore the health of Fidalgo Bay, expanded its offering of public cultural events and continued its pursuit of treaty fishing rights.

Report: Native children more likely to be referred to CPS

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A study by the state's Racial Disproportionality Advisory Committee found that American Indian children were three times as likely as white children to be referred to Child Protective Services and twice as likely to be in foster care for more than two years.

The study includes data from 58,000 children who were referred to CPS in 2004 and follows them through November 2007. The study also found that black and Hispanic children were more likely to be referred to CPS and placed in foster care than white children. The number of Asian children referred to the system was lower than the others.

Liz Mueller, Jamestown S'Klallam vice chairman, is co-chair of the advisory committee. The others are Patricia H. Clark, King County Superior Court judge, and Marian S. Harris, associate professor of social work, University of Washington.

The advisory committee was created in the 2007 Legislature to investigate racial disproportionality and identify the societal and systematic factors that play a role. The committee released its 110-page report June 25, followed by a two-day symposium at the UW College of Law.

The committee will develop and present a remediation plan to the Legislature by Dec. 1. The plan could include involving extended family members and individuals close to the family in the agency's decisions about a child; and kinship care as an alternative permanent child-care plan.

Four American Indian performers in delegation to Australia festival

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YAKAMA, Wash. - Four American Indian performers participated in Australia's indigenous arts and cultural festival, The Dreaming Festival, June 6 - 9. Their tour was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Australia.

Cochise Anderson, Chickasaw/Choctaw, is an actor, performance artist, playwright, poet and storyteller, as well as a traditional and blues musician. He performed and presented a workshop on spoken word performance.

Naomi Bebo, Menominee/Ho-Chunk, is studying for a graduate degree in American Indian studies and a juris doctor in American Indian Law at the University of California - Los Angeles. She is president of the Native American Law Student Association at UCLA and enjoys pow wow dancing and performing with American Indian Dance Theatre.

Accomplished dancer Dallin Maybee, Seneca, has toured as a performer and choreographer in China, Mexico, Mongolia, Qatar, South Korea, and most of Europe, South America and the United States.

Leon Thompson, Yakama/Nez Perce, has traveled internationally as a Traditional and Fancy dancer. He has extensive experience organizing cultural and fundraising events for Native communities and causes.

Patricia Paul takes oath as attorney in Nisqually court

SWINOMISH, Wash. - Patricia Paul, Inupiaq, has been admitted to practice law in Nisqually Tribal Court.

Paul, a resident of the Swinomish Indian Reservation, is a private practice attorney in La Conner. She is married to Kevin Paul, Swinomish senator and master carver. She is also a member of the Northwest Inupiaq Dancers, who performed June 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

She served as a tribal judge pro tem in the Northwest Intertribal Court System and served two terms as co-vice president of Washington Women Lawyers.

Paul is admitted to practice law in the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle tribal courts. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association, Skagit County Bar Association, National Native American Bar Association and the Northwest Indian Bar Association.

Paul is considering writing a book about her 12 years of work in tribal law.

Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at