From: alra@governance.net
Subject: NIGC Cowlitz Decision Slaps Congress -- Opens Reservation Shopping Flo

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
National Alliance Against Reservation Shopping
PO Box 400
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-3087
Fax:  (360) 687-2973

NIGC Cowlitz Decision Slaps Congress -- Opens Reservation Shopping Floodgates

NIGC Runs Closed Process, Excludes Public, Violates Interior Cooperating Agency Policy, Ignores Public Comment and exposes hundreds of cities to new claims for federally mandated Indian casinos outside tribal homelands. 


Letter to NIGC Chairman Philip Hogen from Chuck Cushman, American Land Rights Association, National Alliance Against Reservation Shopping

Letter to NIGC Chairman Philip Hogen from Kamie Biehl, Stand Up For Clark County Citizens

*****Updated Action Items – After Kamie Biehl Letter

NIGC Announcement

Four Newspaper articles supporting Kamie Biehl Letter.

The full NIGC Legal Opinion is available at www.nigc.gov    Look where is says Commission Activities.;

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Chairman Philip Hogen     (Philip_hogen@nigc.gov)
Penny Coleman, Director, General Council
National Indian Gaming Commission 
1441 L Street, Suite 9100 
Washington, D.C., 20005

RE: Cowlitz Legal Opinion – Unfair process-unacceptable expansion of off-reservation Indian Casinos 

Chairman Hogen:  

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released an opinion this week stating that the land at the Interstate 5-La Center junction, where the Cowlitz Tribe wants to put a casino, qualifies as “restored lands.”

I want to object in the strongest way to both the substance of this opinion and the process that was used to keep a dramatic expansion of Indian gaming rights hidden from public scrutiny until it was a fait accompli.

The Cowlitz Tribe submitted its application to the NIGC in March with no public notice, and the NIGC never requested public input. Your agency knew that the facts were hotly contested and that local people had worked long and hard to expose and correct false statements made by the Tribe’s advocates.  Despite appearances before Congress by the Tribe, your General Counsel and testimony by many local people, despite FOIA requests to BIA, and Congressional representatives’ requests for information, the Tribe’s submittals and your deliberations were kept a secret for months.

You asked the Tribe to respond to a published paper establishing that Clark County Indians were not Cowlitz and the Tribe’s rebuttal was kept secret as well.

Anyone who wanted to know the facts would have asked local people who have done the research to submit their evidence and give their views.  It seems clear that non-Tribal views were not solicited because they were not wanted.

Local citizens only confirmed the existence of the restored-lands application in October and then quickly submitted materials supporting our position that the lands at the La Center junction are outside the Tribe’s aboriginal homeland, which has been adjudicated by the Indian Claims Commission and supported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 
Even this hurried and incomplete response was largely ignored.  For example:

the opinion does not mention the fact that the Cowlitz Tribe has over 2500 square miles of undisputed, adjudicated aboriginal territory to choose from, including vast expanses of undeveloped Interstate-5 corridor land. Not one reason is given by the Tribe or in the opinion to support reservation shopping outside the Tribe’s homeland

It is an abuse of federal power to put this casino where the Tribe and its investors want it instead of finding one of the hundreds of more appropriate locations.  The effect of the opinion is to allow the BIA to trump all local concerns.  The only reason the opinion is sought is because the Tribe’s advocates know the local impact is too great to permit a “no detriment” finding.  Your opinion is a statement that the Tribe wins and the community loses no matter what horrible effects will result.

In order to justify such use of federal power in this case, your agency had to toss out all of its precedents dealing with restored lands. In the process it has exposed hundreds if not thousands of cities to federal casino acquisitions for restored tribes.  According to the opinion:

-----1.  It no longer matters if a Tribe had a village, burial or ceremonial site on the desired property.  It is enough if a few tribal members visited the general area a few times or camped along distant parts of a river that flows by the site. Given that American Indians traveled and traded all over North America from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, and that rivers were the highways in that era, what community will be spared from a restored lands claim? For example, how many great lakes tribes fished or hunted near Chicago?

-----2.  It does not matter if the Tribe had nothing to do with the vicinity for over a hundred years until gaming became an objective. The former NIGC requirement of continuous connection had to be discarded for the Cowlitz.

-----3.  It doesn’t matter if the project would conflict with existing residential and agricultural uses and be incompatible with local zoning and planning in place for decades. In the only other case allowing restoration outside a Tribe’s former reservation, NIGC looked at the equities and saw that the Tribe’s alternative land was not available. The opinion talks about equity but gives local citizens no consideration whatsoever.  The issue is not whether the Cowlitz should have restored land or a casino, it is where the federal government will place it.

-----4.  Several different tribes can claim a historic connection to a city if there were battles or trading routes or intermarriages that show some kind of shared connection. Given American Indian tribes’ intermarriages, trading and conflicts how can any tribe’s claim to an area be unique?

-----5.  A tribe that has an adjudicated area of thousands of square miles can now go site shopping where it had seasonal hunting or gathering connections and without having to seek sites close to home first.

The legal opinion does not square with the Wyandotte case where NIGC recently denied restored lands status.  The Tribe in that case had lived on the land for 11 years, its burial ground was nearby, the land was in the Tribes’ former reservation and had been ceded by the Tribe to the United States. Here, the Cowlitz never lived on the land, did not cede the land (were never asked to do so), it was not part of a former reservation and there are no Cowlitz village or burial sites anywhere around.  You will not be able to defend the Wyandotte case after the Cowlitz opinion, and it is not fair to Tribes to make up different rules for them. 


This huge expansion of the IGRA exception for restored tribes comes at a time when Congress is considering going the other way and while Senate and House committees were being assured of the how carefully and strictly the historic connection is considered in granting an exception under IGRA.

It is very clear that Congress needs to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act so your agency and others dealing with this issue provide a more level playing field, a real open public process and an opportunity to have a legitimate independent finder of fact.  

-----A.  You do not and did not provide an opportunity for public comment on this application by the Cowlitz Tribe.  Some comment was provided, but only because concerned citizens found out about the Cowlitz Restored Lands Request by accident.

-----B.  You failed to notify any cooperating agencies in the Cowlitz process, which violates Interior Department Policy.  You thereby excluded local communities from your entire process. 

 -----C.  You ignored the substantial public comment that did come in that clearly

provides substantive evidence that the Cowlitz were not in Clark County in any substantial way.   The evidence is overwhelming. The Cowlitz are now engaging in revisionist history and you are helping them by ignoring the quality histories available for the area.  

Did your counsel even read the documents regarding the Cowlitz in Clark County?  Specifically the material gathered by former Assistant Attorney General Al Alexanderson and the law firm of Perkins Coie? 

I noted that the opinion says the 1857 map shows Cowlitz territory extending at least as far south as the Lewis River.  Anyone can see this is not the case, that the closest Indian Tribe to the site is Upper Chinook and that the Cowlitz Tribe drew its site on the map in the wrong place so it would lie close to the “Howalitsk” name. The error was pointed out in the Perkins Coie submission, but shows up in the opinion anyway, just as erroneously claimed in the Tribe’s request.  

Your Counsel’s Legal Opinion seems to be full of delicate turns of a phrase and allusions that certain facts establish the Cowlitz as being in Clark County.  Pronouncements modified by the words likely, nearby, might be, could mean and many others.  The Counsel was clearly stretching to find support for the Cowlitz that they were in Clark County in any substantive way.   It does not appear that your Counsel gave any weight to the Alexanderson/Perkins Coie analysis.  Perhaps it was the timing.  But that was because you failed to provide any semblance of legal notice about your process.  

I know you said in your Restored Lands Legal Opinion that "This legal opinion is not intended to affect the Secretary of the Interior's discretion under Part 151 or provide any recommendation regarding the merit of the Tribe's pending fee-to-trust application."  

However, the slipshod manner in which you examined the proposed casino site in relation to the Cowlitz indigenous history helps create a domino affect where future decision makers come to falsely rely on the credibility of your investigation and your document.  It will certainly be cited by the Cowlitz as this process moves along as evidence that they were actually in Clark County.  You will have helped the Cowlitz create the myth.

At a minimum, you should withdraw this faulty and biased legal opinion.  You should remove any reference to the Cowlitz in Clark County until you carry out due diligence and open a public comment period to allow the public and cooperating agencies to participate.  The Cowlitz are trying to rewrite history.  The National Indian Gaming Commission should not do the same.


As it stands now, your legal opinion could be considered a cruel joke.  It will exist and be cited nationally as a poster child for biased and secretive bureaucratic behavior and discredit the NIGC in other future and past decisions.  It will be used to show that your agency has little credibility because you do not do your homework or even solicit the homework that others have done for you.  No one should rely on your opinions because they are not carried out by an independent finder of fact.

I certainly hope Congress will take note from this sordid affair and pass legislation to change the mission of the NIGC to more fairly reflect Tribal needs as well as those of concerned citizens. 


Chuck Cushman
American Land Rights Association
National Alliance Against Reservation Shopping

PS.  I am attaching a copy below of the letter to the NIGC from Kamie Biehl, which I wish to associate myself with.


 From Kamie Biehl to Philip Hogen and the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Standup For Clark County Citizens  11/25/05.  Supporting newspaper articles below.

__Corrected Copy_-- November 26, 2005__

Chairman Philip Hogen
Penny Coleman, Director, General Council
National Indian Gaming Commission
1441 L Street, Suite 9100 
Washington, D.C., 20005

November 26, 2005

RE:  Your recent decision on the Cowlitz gaming ordinance and historical ties to land.

Dear Sir and Madam,

I am in receipt of your official opinion on the Cowlitz Tribe's request to conduct gaming on lands located at what you term, "the Lewis River Property" in Clark County, Washington.  I am deeply distressed at several things that have or will occur as a result of this opinion and found it to be far different than most land determination opinions issued from the NIGC that I have read.

You state that this opinion will in no way impact the way that federal agencies view this request.  However, the NIGC issuing a restored lands provision means that the Tribe’s desire to use this site for a casino overrides our community concerns as a matter of law.  Even if we prove and BIA finds that the local impacts will be devastating, including in this case loss of almost all of an entire town's current and primary tax base, the Tribe will say it does not matter because your opinion makes all that immaterial to the decision.  It would also remove the role of our local and state government in this decision, including our Governor.  We view this as critical.

Unlike other NIGC opinions, there was no finding that Cowlitz Indians ever resided on or near the property. You cited "likelihood" of the Cowlitz maybe having villages or engaging in one battles in this area.  Yet, I saw no history of burial grounds, no history of villages, nor proof of any significant Tribal presence.  

 In general, what I did see was an alarming lack of attention to undisputed history and facts that show the Cowlitz were from upper Washington.  The area was along the Cowlitz River far from Clark County.  I've read through the BIA findings, the Indian Claims Commission and also local historical journals, all which concur with the Cowlitz River area as the true homeland of the Tribe.  

Some of the information your commission used to show a presence in Clark County has already been disputed by noted historians, including the Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers at Camp Bonneville, again, the BIA who said, "no conclusive proof" and the Indian Claims Commission.  The I.C.C. even chided the tribe's ethno-historian for citing his own work to establish a presence along the lower Lewis River.  

I also do not see any evidence in your opinion of the Tribe's previous litigations for lands in Medicine Creek that they cited as their indigenous territory, including legal battles against other tribes to claim those lands far from here.  They also litigated against Tacoma Power and Light, located several hours from here and a local newspaper carried one of their elders speaking of that Cowlitz territory, calling it their homelands. 

Other news articles from 2002, had the Cowlitz tribal chief stating that "Tahola is our home" when referencing their reservation rights on the Quinault reservation.  Tahola is located in upper Washington several hours’ drive from here.  In addition, the tribe was awarded reservation road grants in Toledo, Washington. Ancient burial grounds and other proof of indigenous history are entirely absent from this area. 

Some of the instances you cited to show a presence in Clark County have also already been disproved.  So we assume most of this information came directly from the Cowlitz ethno-historian's work that was already dismissed.

The Chinook and Klickitat Tribes are or were from this area, not the Cowlitz.  Their history is very clear and changing it to show the Cowlitz as indigenous to this area in order to gain a Class III casino seems, in a very real sense, stealing another tribe's history and territory.  The Chinooks are also trying to gain federal recognition.  Your decision helps the Cowlitz Tribe to site a casino less than ten miles from where the Chinook Tribe is constructing a replica of their Plank House.

Since deciding to build a casino, the tribe has requested a HUD grant service area to include Clark County.  They recently relocated tribal offices closer to this area, we assume to try to show a closer presence.  That they are asking the BIA to include Clark County as a BIA-grant service area is more of the same.  This has been used in your formal opinion to support a historical tie.  Does a tribe asking to have their grant service areas located close to where they have requested permission to conduct gaming even remotely qualify them as having aboriginal ties to those lands? 

In your opinion, your justification for temporal ties uses the Cowlitz Tribe's request of the lands at the "Lewis River Property" as their first lands purchased as part of restoring lands to a new, federally recognized tribe.  There is no mention of the fact that David Barnett, millionaire real estate speculator and the chief's son, purchased those lands for his personal use.  When Mr. Barnett was asked about his reasons for purchasing the Lewis River property in a 2002 Columbian Newspaper article interview, he said, "There is no story, I don't have any plans for these lands." He emphasized that the tribe was not involved in the purchase.  

Those same lands are the ones being shown as selected by the tribe, three years after Barnett purchased them, as a temporal connection.  Your opinion also says that the tribe has no trust lands.  In fact, the Cowlitz Tribe has other lands.  Cowlitz Indians have individual trust lands from the allotments issued off the Quinault reservation where the Tribe has reservation rights, per Supreme Court decisions granting them such.  They also have lands in Toledo, Washington where they recently gained reservation road grants.  

Our group asked repeatedly to know if a restored lands determination was being considered.  In spite of meeting with your offices in Washington, D.C. and establishing what we felt were solid contacts, no one seemed to know anything about the request for restored lands exception as far as your offices working on an opinion or a gaming ordinance.  This included the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, both regionally and federally who had conflicting opinions, but neither appeared to know of your ongoing process.  

This kept us from being any part of this process since March of 2005 up and until we found out just weeks before your final decision.  Our group and many others have a solid history of research, involvement and interest in this issue.  We were all kept from contributing information or even corresponding on this issue until it was close to your final decision  

The lack of balancing opposing arguments is evident in this opinion and I believe substantiates the concerns submitted to you by opposing parties just prior to your issuance of this opinion.  Your opinion seems to rely almost solely on the revisionist history provided by the tribe, rather than the true area history.  This is not unlike the Cowlitz tribal submissions to the Indian Claims Commission.  However, in that instance, the courts discovered that the submitted information was not entirely accurate.  Subsequent to the findings of error, the I.C.C. ruled that the Cowlitz Tribe could not claim Clark County as their indigenous territory.

I really wish to understand what we can do now about this erroneous and faulty opinion.  Can it be appealed?  Can it be amended to reflect the accurate history of Clark County with words such as "likely" and "assume" completely removed?  This is not an issue that those types of words should be used.  No one can assume or pretend to know what might have been likely.  Not when the clear indigenous history for other tribes in this area is so well known.  Not when the indigenous history for the Cowlitz shows them to be from other areas, outside of Clark County.

The Cowlitz tribe cannot possibly lay claim to the entire state of Washington.  They were not that large of a tribe, yet they have litigated for lands from the upper portion by Olympia to the lowest portion, that being Clark County.  If the NIGC decides to issue a restored lands decision to tribes if they ever "wandered" through an area or fought one battle in an area, then how many other areas will face Class III casinos applications even if the tribes have no real indigenous right to develop there. The precedent that could be set by this decision is significant with regard to the national issue of reservation shopping.

Finally, could you explain why the Class II ordinance for gaming was issued, as opposed to a Class III?  The proposed development and draft EIS issued by the tribe's contractor both show the Cowlitz's intent to build a Class III facility, not a Class II.  This also concerns me.  Did they ask for Class II instead of Class III deliberately? Is the NIGC aware of the Cowlitz's intent to conduct Class III gaming on this site?

I would appreciate some type of response so that I can understand how this critical decision was issued.  I would also like to know if the decision can be appealed or amended to reflect more of the accurate history of the Cowlitz tribe and their true aboriginal territory.


Kamie Biehl
Stand Up For Clark County Citizens
38007 N.E. 60th Avenue
La Center, Washington 98629

cc:  Offices of Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton

       James Cason, Department of the Interior
       Congressman Brian Baird
       18th District Legislator, Richard Curtis
       Senator Craig Pridemore
       Senator Joseph Zarelli
       NIGC Commissioner, Cloyce Choney
       NIGC Commissioner, Nelson Westrin
       La Center City Councilman, Troy Van Dinter
       Mayor of La Center, James T. Irish
       Clark County Commissioner, Steve Stuart
       Clark County Commissioner, Marc Boldt
       Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna
       Chuck Cushman, President, American Land Rights Organization

 *****Action Items:  (These items are extremely urgent)

-----1.  Call, Fax and E-mail -- Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and her Chief of Staff Brian Waidman (202) 208-7351 – FAX: (202) 219-2100 - gale_norton@ios.doi.gov or brian_waidman@ios.doi.gov   Where is a space between names, it means an underscore. 

-----2.  Call, Fax and E-mail – Deputy Lynn Scarlett - (202) 208-4203  -- 
FAX: (202) 208-1873 – lynn_scarlett@ios.doi.gov

-----3.  Call, fax and e-mail Rep. Richard Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee.  Ask for the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and their decision making process to be made part of the Committee hearing process on reservation shopping.  Phone:  (202) 225-2761.  Fax: (202) 225-5929.
E-mail:  resources.committee@mail.house.gov

-----4.  Call, fax and e-mail Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.  Ask for the NIGC decision making process to be made part of their ongoing hearings into corruption, casinos and reservation shopping.  Call at (202) 224-2251.  E-mail to:  Jeanne_bumpus@indian.senate.gov; john_tahsuda@indian.senate.gov    Fax:  (202) 228-2862.

-----5.  Call, fax and e-mail your Congressman at (202) 225-3121 to request that he or she write a letter to Chairman Pombo asking for hearings into the NIGC and this decision to massively expand reservation shopping.  Ask for a copy of the letter.   Ask for his or her fax and e-mail.  When the Capitol Switchboard answers, ask for your Congressman.  Then ask for the staff that handles Indian gaming, Tribal Casinos and reservation shopping.

-----6.  Call both your Senators at (202) 224-3121 to request that he or she write Senator McCain to request hearings into the NIGC and its decision making process.   When the Capitol Switchboard answers, ask for your Senators office. 

-----7.  Call at least three other people to ask that they make the same calls with the same requests.

 -----8.  Please forward this message as widely as you can. 

-----9.  Read the full NIGC Cowlitz decision at www.nigc.gov    Look on the home page under Commission Activities.  



Below is the NIGC Notice regarding their Restored Lands Opinion.  Below that are several newspaper articles involving the Cowlitz where the Cowlitz, by word and deed, show they were headquartered far north of Clark County.

-----Original Message-----

From: NIGC@nigc.gov [mailto:NIGC@nigc.gov]

Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 4:01 PM

Subject: Cowlitz Indian Tribe's Class II Gaming Ordinance Approval

On November 23, 2005, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) issued an approval for a tribal gaming ordinance submitted by the Cowlitz Tribe (Tribe), a copy of which is attached, along with the NIGC's Press Release and a supporting legal memo titled Cowlitz Tribe Restored Lands Opinion.  Please be assured that this decision does not decide whether gaming will ever be conducted on the Lewis River Property.  This land must be acquired into trust.  That decision is solely within the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior.

NIGC response e-mail to American Land Rights and others:  (If the NIGC legal opinion stands, the NIGC may have made the rest of the process moot.) 

The NIGC received your e-mail regarding this decision, and we considered your concerns and statements regarding gaming on the Lewis River Property.  It is important to note that the NIGC's decision to approve the ordinance is limited to several statutory considerations.  It is also important to note, as stated above, that the NIGC's gaming ordinance approval does not authorize the Tribe to game on the site.  In order to conduct gaming on the site, the Tribe must first obtain the Secretary of the Department of the Interior's agreement to put the site into trust for the benefit of the Tribe.  In considering this fee-to-trust decision, the Department of the Interior will first complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a draft of which will be released in December 2005.  Your comments pertaining to the proposed casino's effects on the local community would be most influential during the public comment period on the Draft EIS, and should be directed to Ms. June Boynton, Environmental Specialist, at the Bureau of Indian Affairs after the Draft EIS has been officially issued for public comment.

 The NIGC appreciates your participation in this matter.  

(Editors note: The secretly developed NIGC Restored Lands Legal Opinion and process may have completely undermined the entire BIA EIS process.  The NIGC is trying to imply that there is actually a real public process when they have already cut the heart out of it.)


Four newspaper articles below supporting Kamie Biehl’s letter.

Vancouver Columbian

(USA) Land Deal Spurs Talk of La Center Casino
By : Dean Baker        Date : Monday, January 21, 2002 


      LA CENTER -- Tribal leaders aren't talking, but major pieces are falling into place for a Cowlitz Indian casino west of Interstate 5 at the La Center exit. 

      The first piece: Developer and tribal member David Barnett purchased 69 acres of farmland at La Center junction in March. Barnett, son of the Cowlitz tribal chairman, paid $ 3 million for property assessed at $ 100,000 that has easy access to I-5. 

      Second: The Cowlitz tribe received federal tribal status Jan. 2, giving them the right to build a casino. 

       The third piece: It's possible the Cowlitz could convince the federal government to recognize the property as an Indian reservation, which would take away the power of the county or state to veto casino plans. Tribal officials will neither confirm nor deny casino plans. 

      Barnett, a land and timber developer, dodged the casino question last week at his home in Olympia. 

      He said he has no casino plans and is simply speculating, as he often does, by buying the junction land. 

      "I have no plans for the property," Barnett said. "As far as I know, the tribe hasn't made any decisions or plans. There's no story here." 

      But gambling and real estate experts said the La Center junction property -- 20 minutes from downtown Portland, 200 yards from Interstate 5 -- is uniquely suited for gambling. 

      Although his father, John Barnett, wouldn't discuss any casino plan, either, he also wouldn't rule out a casino on that site or any other. 

      "I really can't give you an answer right now," John Barnett said. "Right now, it'd all be speculation. There's nothing to talk about." 

      The only other land the 2,400-member tribe owns is an office in Longview and 17.5 acres near Vader, west of Interstate 5 in Lewis County. 

      Ripe for gambling 

       Land appraisers and gambling experts agree a commercial use seems more likely than farming at the site, which is close to La Center's lucrative cardrooms, where people spend about $ 30 million annually at the gaming tables. 

      The junction property is now a grassy field with a house and outbuildings. Under farm deferral, the property is assessed at $ 41,970 for land and $ 58,300 for buildings. 

       What's the highest and best use for the property? 

      "As far as visibility goes, a casino near La Center would make a fortune," said Robert Whalen, an economist who tracks casinos for Eco Northwest consultants in Portland. 

       The casino business in the Portland area is leveling off after a phenomenal period of growth, but one so near to a metropolitan area still promises to be hugely profitable. For most Portlanders, La Center would be closer than other Indian-owned casinos. 

      Putting a casino on the junction site or at Vader could be expected to raise an uproar, Whalen said. "In Clark County, I don't think it'd go very far." 

      He said if he were the Cowlitz, he might consider putting a casino farther north -- perhaps at Longview or closer to the Vader site. 

      The Barnetts both said they have no intention of imposing any unwanted development anywhere. They want to work with the community and fit in, they said. 

      Whalen said another potential use for the junction land might be a horse racing track. The owners of the 100 acres at Delta Park that now accommodate both Portland Meadows and the Portland Speedway are looking for an alternate site. They're looking to build commercial or light-industrial buildings on the Delta Park land, Whalen said. 

      They've shopped for land at Aloha, west of Portland, but it hasn't proved suitable, he said. 

       No farm price 

       The $ 3 million price tag on the La Center junction land, zoned for agriculture and 20-acre minimum lots with an industrial overlay that opens the door to development, seemed to flag it for more intense use than growing raspberries or raising horses. 

      The area looks like Wilsonville, Ore., south of Portland, did before its commercial development boom of the past 25 years. 

      "When you break that price down, that's a buck a foot for the ground," said Ron Kawamoto, who works for the Vancouver real estate brokerage Norris, Beggs 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Walkabout  --  Ike Kinswa State Park
By Cathy McDonald
Special to The Seattle Times


Location: Silver Creek. 
Length: About 2.5 miles of trails. 

Level of difficulty: Flat to gentle dirt/gravel trails skirt the campground to follow the forested shoreline just above a narrow gravel/cobble beach. Another trail is located in the day-use area. 

Setting: This 454-acre park boasts 46,000 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Tilton and Cowlitz rivers and on the north side of 2,200-acre Mayfield Lake, created by the construction of Mayfield Dam. 

The lake is popular with water-skiers and personal-watercraft users during the summer; paddlers and swimmers can use the flooded arm of the Tilton River for quieter waters in the day-use portion of the park. 

Look for eagles in the fir snags along the shoreline during the winter; osprey use the snags when the eagles migrate during the summer. Fishermen can catch trout, silver salmon and tiger muskie. 

Highlights: The Cowlitz tribe once had villages here from fall to spring along the banks of the two rivers. Although the creation of the reservoir flooded the village sites, a pair of marked graves remain within the park. Once called Mayfield Lake State Park, the park was renamed in 1971 after Ike Kinswa, a representative of the Cowlitz tribe 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Local News: Monday, May 22, 2000 

Quinault want to reverse Cowlitz sovereignty
The Associated Press

PORTLAND - The Quinault Indian Nation has asked the federal Interior Board of Indian Appeals to reconsider the government's decision to recognize the Cowlitz Indian Tribe of Longview as a sovereign tribal nation. 

The appeal delays implementation of a Feb. 14 decision by U.S. Assistant Interior Secretary Kevin Gover to extend to the Cowlitz Tribe the rights and privileges shared by the 556 federally recognized tribes in the United States. 

 The recognition interests some Oregon tribes, including the Grand Ronde. The Cowlitz, if recognized, could build a casino within an hour's drive of Portland and compete with Oregon tribal casinos. The Grand Ronde operate Oregon's largest tribal casino, Spirit Mountain. 

 The Cowlitz Tribe has been seeking recognition for the past 25 years through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Three years ago, the bureau found in the Cowlitz Tribe's favor. Then in February, the bureau made its final determination, again in favor of the Cowlitz. 

But the Quinault, located in Western Washington and whose members include individuals from seven historic tribes, including the Cowlitz, last week asked a three-member panel to review the evidence in the case. 

An attorney for the Quinault argues that a re-analysis of the evidence, among other things, likely would show the Upper and Lower Cowlitz bands ceased to exist as functioning tribal entities in the late 19th century. 

The Quinault argue that the current Cowlitz derive from an organization formed early this century and that they descend from families of French Canadian fur trappers as well as Cowlitz and non-Cowlitz women who were only loosely associated with the historical Upper and Lower Cowlitz tribes. 

Cowlitz representatives say the appeal is an attempt to block Cowlitz claims to lands on the Quinault's richly timbered 200,000-plus-acre coastal reservation in Western Washington. 

Cowlitz attorney Dennis Whittlesey says the Quinault recently offered to drop its opposition if the Cowlitz would give up its interests and rights in the Quinault reservation. 


"It's right down the line a political matter," said Stephen Dow Beckham, a Lewis & Clark College historian who has helped the Cowlitz in their petition. "They are attempting to use historical and anthropological information to win their political argument." 

The history of the Quinault reservation, and the Cowlitz claims, go back to 19th-century federal policy toward Western Washington tribes and subsequent treaties and federal court decisions. 

Beckham says the Cowlitz are one of eight tribes whose members have allotments - parcels of land held in trust - on the Quinault reservation. 

Beckham said the Quinault reservation originally was established after the 1855 Treaty of Olympia, signed by the Quinault and Quileute tribes. 

The Cowlitz were never forced to live on the reservation, but some were given allotments on the reservation, particularly in the 1930s, after reservation timber lands were opened up for allotment. 

Beckham says 16 percent of the Quinault reservation is held in trust by the federal government for members of the Cowlitz. 

Federally recognized tribes are considered sovereign nations, dependent on the federal government, with the right to govern their own citizens and to exercise jurisdiction on reservation lands and they are eligible for federal health, economic, education, housing and other assistance.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Here is where the Cowlitz moved their headquarters from Puyallup to Longview.

Rejuvenation Goal As Cowlitz Shift Headquarters Back
John Mcclelland
The Daily News

 LONGVIEW - The once all-but-invisible Cowlitz Indian Tribe is emerging into the light on its native soil. 

 Last June, the tribal office moved from Puyallup to Longview. It is now managed by Longview native Carolee Morris, a Cowlitz Indian and a 12-year member of the tribal council. 

 Though tribal members are scattered, many more live in southwest Washington than in the Puget Sound area. "Everyone is pleased that we are here," says Morris. 

 Evelyn Barnes, 83, of Longview agrees. "It means a lot to have it on the home territory for a change," the tribal elder says. "Our roots are here." 

In the early 19th century, the Cowlitz were a numerous and powerful people who never made war on white settlers, even when neighboring tribes were doing so. But white people's diseases decimated the Cowlitz. 

According to historian Judith Irwin of Longview, they later married and lived among non-Indians for so long that they became virtually invisible. 

Today, the tribe has more than 1,400 enrolled, but there is only one surviving full-blooded Cowlitz, David Ike of Ethel, who is 63. The blood may be getting thin, but the tribe is determined to go on. 

Bringing tribal headquarters to Lower Cowlitz territory is a part of revitalizing the tribe for its continuing battle to gain federal recognition. When that comes, the tribe can receive money for territories it once held in six Washington counties. 

In 1973, the Cowlitz received 90 cents an acre for lands taken and the total came to $1.5 million. Since then, interest has increased the amount to more than $7.7 million. The Catch-22 is that until the Cowlitz Tribe is recognized by the federal government, the money must remain in trust. 

As tribal researcher and office manager, Morris has more to do than answer the phone and help publish the biannual newsletter, Yooyoolah ("Person who shouts"). Her main work is as a roving representative of the Cowlitz. 

"Carolee is doing a service that could never be replaced," says Tribal Council Chairman Jerry Bouchard of Kelso. "Until now, no one was doing the networking for us with other tribes, groups, individuals and government." 

There are several reasons why the Cowlitz were not recognized from the beginning. A principal one, according to Irwin, was that tribal leaders refused to sign the Treaty of Olympia in 1855-56. That would have meant giving up their territory and moving to the coastal Quinault or inland Yakima reservations. 

Both alternatives meant adapting to an alien existence. Some gave in and moved away, but the rest remained. 

A major problem in gaining federal recognition is the inconsistency of the criteria that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research require in the ever-changing application process. 

One requirement is that members practice tribal customs. That's hard to prove because the Cowlitz and other tribes, as recently as the 1940s, were forbidden by federal law from speaking their language or practicing their customs, even in the privacy of their homes. 

Morris' involvement in the Cowlitz struggle is part of her own quest to acquire her Native American identity and spirituality. She is more than one-fourth Cowlitz. 

"I live it," she says. "I just feel Indian. For many years I didn't. It's really hard to explain or describe."

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 The Columbian Newspaper, Vancouver, Washington 9/29/2004_______

 In the Columbian, former editor Tom Koenninger writes, "I met Mary Kiona when I was a reporter for The Daily Chronicle in Centralia in the 1960s.  Her bearing was regal, and her views on Indian life and legend were much in demand because Tacoma City Light was building two dams on the Cowlitz River----Mayfield and Mossyrock--- that intruded into historic Cowlitz Indian territory".   The Columbian 9/29/04 -Mary Kiona article by Tom Koenninger 

For more information contact:

 Kamie Biehl, Standup For Clark County Citizens  (360) 263-2582

Chuck Cushman, American Land Rights Association, National Alliance Against Reservation Shopping  (360) 687-3087 



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