Christine Dupres: Cowlitz Tribe finally has a place to call home

Cowlitz Tribe Chairman Bill Iyall, seated on right, signs land-into-trust documents with Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Stan Speaks on March 9, 2015. Photo from Cowlitz Tribe

Christine Dupres, a member of the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington, and her people finally have a place they can call home:
On March 9, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Stanley Speaks signed the final documents to establish the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s Reservation, to an audience of Cowlitz elders and tribal leaders.

A court decision issued by United States District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein on December 12, 2014 dismissed the appeal by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s opponent’s and reaffirmed the Federal Government’s decision to take 152 acres in Clark County into trust for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. This decision has positive implications for other tribes recognized by the federal government after 1934.

Though Monday's signing was 16 years in the making, we Cowlitz have been without reservation land for over 160 years. Many generations have passed waiting for this day.

“After 160 years of longing for a Reservation within our aboriginal lands, I welcome all Cowlitz people to come home!” Cowlitz Chair Bill Iyall exclaimed to a rapt audience, “We are no longer a landless tribe.”

Get the Story:
Christine Dupres: Cowlitz Indian Tribe Gets Our Reservation (Indian Country Today 4/3)

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