Opinion: Quileute Tribe seeks to move to higher ground

"Every time it floods in New Orleans or a hurricane wipes out a mobile home park along the coast of Florida similar questions are asked: Why do people continue to put themselves in harm's way by living in – and often rebuilding in -- places clearly threatened by natural disaster?

A Native American community in the northwest corner of the country, popularized in the hit book and movie series Twilight, is attempting to get ahead of the curve by moving inland before tsunami waves trash their town.

Recent video of Japan's coast as it was shaken and flooded by earthquake and tsunami waves has propelled a three-decades-long struggle by the tribe to move to higher ground.

Four hundred families of the Quileute tribe in northwest Washington state – concerned because the schoolyard where their kids play is constantly thrashed by storm waves from an often-wild Pacific Ocean – are pressing to reclaim ancestral lands from the federal government so they can move to inland. At risk are the Quileute Tribal School, homes, the tribe's headquarters and its elder center.

"Our people live in danger daily knowing that we could hit by a tsunami," says Bonita Cleveland, the tribe's chairwoman. "It could be wiped out in a heartbeat.""

Get the Story:
Jon Bowermaster: The Quileute tribe's quandry (Gadling.com 5/28)

Related Stories:
NPR: Quileute Tribe seeks approval to move to safer land (4/26)
Editorial: Bill helps Quileute Tribe move to safe homeland (4/21)
Editorial: Help Quileute Tribe with move to safer homeland (4/20)
Quileute Tribe cites tsunami threat in bid for land transfer (4/15)
Chairwoman of Quileute Tribe will testify at Senate hearing (4/13)
Bill introduced to take Quileute Tribe away from tsunami zone (3/18)
Washington tribes evacuate coast in response to tsunami threats (3/11)
Quileute Tribe asks Sen. Cantwell to support federal land swap (2/24)
New chair of Quileute Tribe calls federal land swap a major priority (1/27)
Bill resolves long-running boundary dispute with Quileute Tribe (12/17)
Quileute Tribe reaches deal for park land transfer (7/28)
Quileute Tribe to meet over park boundary dispute (10/12)
Quileute Tribe, National Park Service in dispute (10/5)

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