Current topics in archaeology, cultural heritage & historic preservation
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Chinook Indians celebrate their Winter Gathering
(photo courtesy of the Chinook Nation website).
I'm trying to stay away from politics in this blog...so let's not call this political, let's call it righting a wrong. The Chinook Indians are iconic to the Pacific Northwest, they saved Lewis and Clark, we name our fish and winds after them, the names of our towns and rivers are often Chinookan words...yet there is NO Chinook Indian tribe in the Pacific Northwest...at least if you believe our federal government.
Happily on May 21, 2009 Washington Representative Brian Baird introduced legislation (the "Chinook Nation Restoration Act - H.R.2576 ) to restore official federal recognition to the Chinook tribe (http://www.baird.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=935&Itemid=99).
Detractors will say that there are no "real" Chinook Indians left today and that this is a cynical ploy to get federal benefits for a few undeserving people. Sadly, the detractors are often other Indian tribes who think they will lose something if the Chinook are re-constituted (like their exclusive casinos in certain areas). The ancient battlefields seem to have moved indoor to the halls of congress.
In my humble opinion there's plenty of actual evidence to support re-instating the Chinooks (learn more at http://www.chinooknation.org)...but if that's not enough, ask yourself if its better to give billions of dollars to failing banks and auto companies or a few million to some worthy people who are working hard to protect their culture. For me the answer is easy.
If you agree, please contact your U.S. representatives and tell them so. You can easily email your elected reps from http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.