Letter: Challenge to tribe is shameful



Reading the Dec. 28 story “Cowlitz Tribe denies claims by plaintiffs in lawsuit,” those participating in the Clark County challenge of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk’s decision should be ashamed of themselves. Have any of these holier-than-thou warmongers even bothered to research the U.S. history of the Cowlitz Tribe?

History clearly evidences the vital roll the Cowlitz played in the development of the Upper and Lower Cowlitz river basins and the tribe’s overall sacrifice that heavily contributed to the development of the Pacific Northwest as a whole. By challenging the Carcieri/Echo Hawk decisions, Clark County is ultimately saying the Cowlitz were not formally under federal jurisdiction in 1934 and that in 1920 the state of Washington’s issuance of ID cards to the Cowlitz, which entitled bearers to fish and hunt for subsistence, did not happen. And that, when the war between the Indians and whites erupted in 1855, the Cowlitz Tribe was not assured by the U.S. government that the tribe would be provided with a reservation if their agitated young braves did not join the fighting. The Cowlitz Nation complied during the war, however, the government’s assurance of a Cowlitz reservation apparently fell by the bureaucratic wayside … and to date, continues to do so.

Jerry R. Mullikin