Opinion

Wendell George: Fire was a mixed blessing for Colville Tribes





Wendell George reflects on leadership of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in the wake of a recent fire that destroyed the tribal headquarters:
The mythical Coyote is said to be a trickster. But he is also a transformer and brought FIRE to the people. Fire is good except when it’s not.

It was not on July 29, 2013 when the Colville tribal office burned down and displaced 40 tribal employees including the 14 council members. Although Council Chairman Michael Finely said the building was like the U.S. White House, the fire will not stop the tribe from functioning. The tribe is more than just a building.

The tribes on the Colville Indian Reservation became organized as twelve confederated tribes in 1938. They first held their meetings in the original council hall built in the 1920’s that was eventually abandoned for safety reasons.

Until 1975 when the tribal office shown in the picture was built the council did not have a place to meet. They borrowed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) conference room for their meetings. They didn’t have desks or staff and were lucky to even have a chair. But that didn’t stop them.

Get the Story:
Wendell George: The mixed blessing of fire for the Colville tribes (The Wenatchee World 8/16)

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Blaze at Colville Tribes headquarters appears to be accidental (07/31)