Tribal recognition, sewer rate study on tap for council meetings next week


The agenda for next Monday's meeting of the Cathlamet Town Council will likely include time for consideration of a resolution to support efforts of the Chinook Indian Nation achieve status as a federally recognized tribe.

Federal recognition would make tribal members eligible to exercise inherited rights and admit them to the same protections as other federally recognized tribes.

Tribal bands--the Cathlamet and Clatsop in Oregon and Lower Chinook, Wahkiakum and Willapa in Washington--first signed a treaty with the US government in 1849, but the treaty was never recognized. In 1855, the Chinook, Chehalis and Cowlitz tribes refused to sign a treaty in which they would abandon their lands. Since then, the Chehalis and Cowlitz have achieved federal recognition.

The Chinooks received federal recognition in 2001 from the Clinton Administration, but the subsequent Bush Administration rescinded that recognition.

The tribe is again working to achieve recognition, and county commissions and town/city councils in the region are considering resolutions to support the effort.

Cathlamet Council Member David Olson has asked that the council consider such a resolution.

" It is now past time for the Town of Cathlamet to join with other lower Columbia communities in supporting federal recognition for our own indigenous tribe: the Chinook," Olson said in support of the agenda item. "This is both a tribal justice and a pocketbook issue for the town and other jurisdictions. The lack of federal resources for human services, health, natural resources, and development shifts the burden of these services unfairly to lower Columbia governments.

"With a new federal administration, the Chinook are now seeking sponsors for a new congressional bill to clarify their status. Failing that, the Chinook will resume the administrative recognition process at the Department of Interior, now under new leadership with first-ever native American secretary, Deb Haaland."

In other council news, the council will hold a special meeting with consultants who will assist the town with a sewer rate study on Tuesday, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams: Call-in: 1-916-857-8724; Conference ID: 880 842 862#.

The agenda includes: Introductions; Brief history of the sewer system; Discussion of sewer rates and Council goals for the rate study; the consulting group's rate study process and what to expect; questions and answers, and setting up time for beginning assessment and work plan meeting.


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