Umatilla Tribes opposed to request for land from Hanford facility

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are objecting to a request to transfer land from the Hanford Site in Washington.

The tribe has treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather at the site, a nuclear production facility that was operated by the Department of Energy. But now that it's being de-commissioned, local governments are eying the land.

"Fisheries, village sites, cemeteries, traditional use areas and sacred sites are located throughout Hanford," interim chairman Leo Stewart said in a letter to DOE, The Tacoma News-Tribune reported.

Stewart said DOE has repeatedly promised the tribe that it won't transfer treaty land out of federal hands. "The CTUIR hopes that these were not merely words of convenience," he wrote.

But if any land is deemed excess, Stewart said it should go to the tribes.

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Umatillas question Hanford land transfer for economic development (The Tacoma News-Tribune 7/6)