Skip to main content

News from the Pacific Northwest


FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. - Noted Sioux sculptor Doug Bison is featured in a
2005 calendar produced by Airlift Northwest, a medical flight provider in
the San Juan Islands in north Puget Sound.

Bison is a great-grandson of Mniconjou Lakota chief Si Tanka (Big Foot),
who was killed at Wounded Knee in 1890. Bison suffered cardiac arrest on
May 12 while at work in a cafe in Friday Harbor. Fortunately, the town fire
chief and an emergency medical technician were in the cafe and rushed to
his aid.

They used an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, to shock Bison's
heart back to life within four and a half minutes of his collapse. He was
airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham. He was back at work within
a week and has maintained a diet and exercise regimen.

Bison is now an advocate for placing AEDs in public places for such an
emergency. AEDs are being purchased for the marina and airport, and several
businesses now have AEDs on site.


SEATTLE - John Sledd, senior attorney in Seattle's Native American unit of
the Northwest Justice Project, has received the Pierce-Hickerson Award from
the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's Native American Section.

The award recognizes "outstanding contributions to the advancement and/or
preservation of Native American rights." Sledd received the award Dec. 3 at
the association's annual conference awards luncheon at the Omni Shoreham
Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Sledd has served Indian country - in particular, low-income tribal members
- for 22 years. After graduating from the University of California at
Berkeley in 1982, Sledd was hired as an attorney at DNA People's Legal
Services on the Navajo Nation. After four years, he was litigation director
and general counsel and serving on the advisory board of the national
Indian Legal Services Support Center.

In 1989, Sledd joined Evergreen Legal Services in Washington state and
became the sole lawyer for the Suquamish Tribe. In 1999, he returned to his
favorite work, representing low-income tribal members, as director of the
Native American Project at Columbia Legal Services in Seattle.

In 2004, Sledd moved to his current position. He helped lead the successful
effort to require testing of American Indian law on the state bar exam. His
latest major effort is to facilitate development of a statewide legal
attack on the disproportionately high dropout rates and low academic
achievement of American Indian students in Washington public schools.


SEATTLE - Dave Sonnes, vice chairman of the Makah Tribal Council, was one
of 14 people appointed by Gov. Gary Locke to the Oil Spill Early Action
Task Force.

The task force was created partly in response to two recent oil spills in
Puget Sound; in the Oct. 14 spill, response was delayed because of bad

Task force members will explore actions to be taken during the early stages
of oil spills that occur during bad weather. The task force will prepare a
report with recommendations to enhance notification procedures, improve
response policies and employ improved response technologies. A draft report
is expected in mid-December.

The state Department of Ecology and the Coast Guard, who share the
responsibility for responding to oil spills in Washington's coastal waters,
will co-convene the task force.

Scroll to Continue

Read More


SEATTLE - Gabe Galanda, Nomlaki/Concow, has received the Native Justice
Award from the Northwest Indian Bar Association.

The award was presented by NIBA President Lael Echo-hawk on Nov. 1. It
recognizes Galanda's commitment to creating opportunities for American
Indians in the legal profession.

Galanda has served in leadership positions within NIBA, the Washington
State Bar Association and the King County Bar Association. He is a frequent
speaker and writer on American Indian law subjects.

Galanda was a leader in the successful effort to include federal American
Indian law on the Washington state bar exam. The bar exam policy recognizes
the pervasiveness of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction issues, and
requires that every Washington lawyer understand the legal rights of tribal
and non-tribal clientele.

Galanda is an associate with Williams, Kastner & Gibbs PLLC, a Northwest
law firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.


SEATTLE - Patricia Paul, legislative policy analyst for the Tulalip Tribes,
has been accepted into "Innovations in Governance," a program of Harvard
University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"Innovations in Governance" is a one-week program offered through the
Kennedy School of Government Executive Education and the Ash Institute of
Democratic Governance and Innovations.

Paul was invited by Harvard to apply. The program teaches senior executives
how to best devise and deploy new institutional arrangements to respond to
their organization's needs. Paul will attend the fall 2005 program.

Paul, Inupiaq, earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from Antioch
University in Seattle in 1993, and a juris doctorate from Seattle
University School of Law in 1998.


OLYMPIA, Wash. - Mike O'Brien, director of the Department of Social and
Health Services' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, was honored by the
Consortium of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) at
the organization's 11th annual conference in Seattle.

CANAR President Treva Roanhorse cited O'Brien for his "long-term commitment
and partnership" in supporting tribal and public vocational rehabilitation

CANAR serves as an avenue for collaboration and cooperation between
rehabilitation project administrators serving Native American persons with
disabilities to increase and enhance the quality of services for them.

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