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News from the Pacific Northwest

Gover is speaker at economic forum

PORTLAND, Ore. - Kevin Gover, Pawnee and director of the National Museum of the American Indian, was the scheduled guest speaker at a Lewis & Clark Law School symposium on indigenous economic development April 4.

The conference brought together 11 scholars from around the country, most of whom are American Indians experienced in economic development. They discussed practical and theoretical issues facing American Indian governments in their task to bring economic development that is profitable, sustainable and culturally appropriate to their communities.

The symposium was sponsored by the Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe law firm in Portland, and the Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section. Session topics included economic development, gaming, the Indian Financing Act, natural resources, sovereign interests outside reservations and taxation.

Lewis & Clark law professor Robert J. Miller spoke on the topic of ''International and Domestic Treaties to Promote American Indian Economic Development.'' Miller is the author of ''Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and the Manifest Destiny.''

U.W. students host empowerment forum

SEATTLE - Indigenous empowerment was the focus of two days of events organized by Native American Students in Advanced Academia.

The seventh annual Symposium of Native Scholarship took place April 4 - 5 at the University of Washington's Kane Hall. Keynote speaker was Tom Porter (Sakokweionkwas), cultural and spiritual leader of the Mohawk community at Kanatsiohareke.

Sakokweionkwas is co-founder of White Roots of Peace, a group of elders who tour the country sharing traditional teachings and encouraging young American Indians to embrace their cultural traditions. He co-founded the Akwesasne Freedom School for grades K - 8, with a curriculum in Mohawk. He also founded Partridge House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Researchers and community members presented their views on how indigenous empowerment can impact indigenous students, their research and communities. Students, scholars and teachers made 10-minute presentations and participated in panel discussions. Topics included ''Genealogy & Geography,'' ''Social Science,'' ''Native People for Cancer Control,'' ''Science,'' ''Literary Criticism,'' ''Education & Language Revitalization,'' ''Indigenous Tourism'' and ''Overcoming Colonialism.''

The symposium concluded with a community forum, ''Research and Responsibility: Working with Native Communities.''

Puyallup finishes first of 20 'green' homes

PUYALLUP, Wash. - The first of 20 homes for Puyallup elders - built using energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable construction methods - has been completed.

The public toured the home for the first time March 29 - 30. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Northwest Indian country.

The single-family, two-bedroom home has unique features. Entranceways have smooth ground surfaces and no stairs. There are wide interior doors and hallways; lever handles, rather than knobs, for opening doors; light switches with large flat panels, rather than small toggle switches; clear lines of sight to reduce dependence on sound; and bright lighting.

The home was built using salvaged and locally produced materials; certified sustainably harvested wood; recycled-content roofing, concrete and insulation; and low- or non-toxic materials, paints and finishes. It has low-flow plumbing fixtures, appliances and toilets; solar cooling and heating; rainwater collection for landscape irrigation; native plants and drought-tolerant landscaping; and pervious pavement for onsite storm water infiltration.

The design was developed with elders and their caregivers through a process facilitated by EcoFab, a Seattle company providing technical assistance and consultation for green construction. Partners and sponsors include the National American Indian Housing Council. Visit

Duwamish, Swinomish host Earth Day events

SEATTLE - Several thousand people of all ages are expected to participate April 19 in annual Earth Day cleanup efforts hosted by the Duwamish Tribe, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and People for Puget Sound.

Along the Duwamish River, volunteers will clean, mulch, plant and weed at eight sites to improve fish and wildlife habitats. The day will feature an afternoon celebration of music, food and prizes.

Participants will receive a high-resolution map of the Duwamish Valley showing public access and restoration areas with information to help the public get involved.

At Swinomish, volunteers will clean beaches, remove invasive blackberries and Scotch broom, and plant native plants. Volunteers will enjoy a traditional salmon lunch, participate in cultural activities, view educational displays, meet traditional artists and enjoy music by special guests.

Skagit Transit will provide free bus service to and from the event from points around Skagit County.

Plateau Native Arts Celebration April 26

SEATTLE - Nine artists from the Yakama, Cayuse and Nez Perce nations will demonstrate the arts of the Columbia River Plateau region at the Plateau Native Arts Celebration April 26 at the Burke Museum.

Vivian Harrison, Elza Weaselhead and Sky Weaselhead will demonstrate the intricate craft of cornhusk weaving. Elza Weaselhead will also demonstrate tule mat weaving and discuss the aesthetic and practical uses of tule mats.

Roberta Danzuka and Geraldine Miller will demonstrate beadwork, an art commonly used by Plateau artists as a decorative technique on clothing, shoes and other items.

HollyAnna Pinkham will demonstrate how to make a saddle and will talk about the role of the horse in Plateau culture. Weavers Beatrice Tilleqots and Jenny Williams and contemporary sculptor Alyne DeCoteau will show their work and discuss their experiences as Plateau Native artists.

The Plateau Native Arts Celebration is presented in association with two exhibits currently on view, ''Peoples of the Plateau: The Indian Photographs of Lee Moorhouse, 1898 - 1915'' and ''This Place Called Home.'' The museum is located on the University of Washington campus. For more information, visit

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