Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sept. 24, 2020

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Letter: Help tribes get water

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I challenge any and all community members in favor of keeping or discarding Columbia River High School’s Chieftain mascot to move beyond symbolism for a time to offer a hand to real live people.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are living with the effects of a 40-year-old broken water system during this pandemic. Three out of four pipes are broken; according to OPB, 60 percent of the tribe suffers from low water pressure. This is dangerous during the best of times. Right now, it means that the tribe’s COVID-19 infection rate is 16 times the state average for white Oregonians.

Some emergency state money is forthcoming, but immediate help is needed to help provide people with drinking water and sanitation. To help, you can donate at the “Natives Helping Natives” GoFundMe site. Also, please urge our senators and representatives to work as a Northwest coalition to move the proposed Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act into a reality. This is the least we can do for people who once had free access to the riches of the entire Columbia River.

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