The Army wants to name an urban-combat training center at Fort Lewis after Chief Leschi, a Nisqually who led Puget Sound tribes to war nearly 150 years ago. The tribe endorsed the plan. "Leschi fought well for a good cause and died for that cause,'' said John Weller, the fort's range control officer. The "Leschi Town'' proposal calls for as many as 30 buildings to be built in 2003 or 2004 at a cost of $22 million. Much of Fort Lewis is on land once occupied by the tribe. Historians say Leschi tolerated white settlers until 1854, when Territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens compelled him and other tribal leaders to sign the Medicine Creek Treaty that set aside a 2-square-mile area for the Nisqually, with no access to the Nisqually River where they had fished and hunted for generations. Leschi lost the war, but won access to the river as well as respect of the American soldiers. Stevens demanded after the war that Leschi be charged with killing an American colonel during the conflict. The Army objected, saying the killing was just part of war, and said it would not allow Leschi to be hanged at Fort Steilacoom. He was hanged anyway in 1858.
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