Editorial: Keep safeguards for Native burial sites

"Strict protections for Native American graves have served this state well. Although it is a fair bet that the state Department of Transportation has had some thoughts to the contrary, the state's Indian graves law has enhanced respect for history, traditions and families, serving as a force to unite Washingtonians.

That's why there must be a heavy burden of proof on those advocating changes in the law. They must show the need for any changes and ensure rules that are, in every respect, at least as firm or firmer protections than the current law.

On Thursday, the state Senate's Government Operations and Elections Committee will look at a bill, SB5938, that would combine protections for historic gravesites of all kinds, including those from the European American settlement. The prime sponsor is Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, chairwoman of the Transportation Committee, a fact that powerfully suggests highway-construction experiences with graves is a key factor."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Native Graves: Burden of proof (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/21)

Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee Report:
Review of Port Angeles Graving Dock Project (June 2, 2006)

State Department of Transportation Report:
Hood Canal Bridge Graving Dock (May 2006)

Relevant Links:
Tse-Whit-Zen Village News - http://tse-whit-zen.elwha.nsn.us
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe - http://www.elwha.org
Washington State Department of Transportation - http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

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