News from the Pacific Northwest: Atkinson elected president of N.W. Indian Bar Association

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SEATTLE – Lisa Atkinson, Cherokee/Osage, a private-practice attorney representing tribes and tribal entities on litigation and business matters, has been elected president of the Northwest Indian Bar Association for 2006 – ’07.

The association was founded in 1991 and works to increase the number of Native attorneys in the Pacific Northwest through legal education and advocacy. It has more than 200 members.

The association led the effort for Washington to become the second state to test new lawyers’ understanding of American Indian law on the bar exam. It is also noted for its scholarship
support of Native law students.

Atkinson is secretary/treasurer of the Northwest Tribal Court Judges’ Association and is a board member of the Northwest Justice Project. She also serves as a judge pro tempore and appellate justice in various tribal courts.

During her tenure, she wants the association to continue its outreach to Native law students through hands-on mentoring and scholarship assistance. “NIBA also hopes to begin reaching out to the judiciary to strengthen understanding on the unique legal aspects involved in cases involving Indian children in state courts,” she said in a press release.

Other new officers are President-Elect Naomi Stacy, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Treasurer Victor Torres, Aleut; Secretary Douglas Nash, Nez Perce; and at-large members Lael Echo-Hawk, Pawnee; Juliana Repp, Nez Perce; and Rion Ramirez, Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Pascua Yaqui.

<b>Archaeology Month gives insight into Native cultures</b>

SEATTLE – Archaeologists and Washington’s first peoples worked together during Archaeology Month in October to create public awareness about the importance of protecting the state’s archeological heritage and culturally sensitive sites.

The 14th annual observance was organized by the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Events include hands-on activities, presentations and tours in about 24 communities.

At Suquamish Village, Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman and tribal archaeologist Dennis Lewarch led a presentation, “People of the Clear Salt Water: 6,000 Years of Suquamish Indian History.” Their presentation summarized the cultural adaptation of the Suquamish people over the past 6,000 years, using archaeological, environmental, ethnographic and historic period data, maps and photographs.

At Discovery Park Visitor Center in Seattle, visitors learned about the 4,200-year-old Native village that once stood at the park site. At the Rocky Reach Visitor Center in Wenatchee, visitors learned about the Stemilt Village site. At Wanapum Heritage Center in Ephrata, staff members demonstrated the Wanapum art of tule mat weaving, traditional string twining, beading, cornhusk weaving and flintknapping.

Visitors saw Native artifacts and exhibits at the Colville Confederated Tribes Museum, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Lynden Pioneer Museum, Makah Cultural and Research Center, Moses Lake Museum and Art Center, Skagit County Historical Museum, Washington State Capital Museum, Washington State University Museum of Anthropology, Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, Whatcom Museum of History and Art and the Yakama Nation Cultural Center.

<b>‘Lynching of Louie Sam’ subject of lecture, slide show</b>

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – In February 1884, a mob from Nooksack Township near the U.S. Canada border crossed into Canada and lynched a Sto:lo teen, Louie Sam, for the murder of Nooksack Township shopkeeper James Bell.

It was a crime that Sam did not commit.

In February, 122 years later, the Washington state Legislature issued a resolution expressing sorrow and regret over the way legislators in 1884 whitewashed the investigation into Sam’s lynching. British Columbia’s lieutenant governor issued a similar public apology, criticizing the province’s 1884 government for burying the results of an investigation that revealed who the members of the lynch mob were and what their motivations might have been.

Keith Thor Carlson, a University of Saskatchewan professor whose research into Sam’s lynching led to the teen’s exoneration and the two governments’ apologies, will explore the racial issues related to this crime in a free public lecture and slide show on Nov. 16 at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, 121 Prospect St., Bellingham.

In addition to the two governments’ apologies, a 600-pound stone figure believed to contain the soul of a Sto:lo ancestor was repatriated from the Burke Museum in Seattle to the Sto:lo people in October. The stone was taken from the Sto:lo people after they abandoned their Sumas Prairie village in the wake of the 1884 lynching.

<i>Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at rmwalker@rockisland.com.