Indianz.Com > News > Chinook Nation rallies in support of federal recognition
Posted by Chinook Indian Nation on Friday, June 24, 2022
Chinook Nation rallies in support of federal recognition
Monday, August 29, 2022

The Chinook Nation is supporting its push for federal recognition with a rally and social media campaign aimed at securing action through the U.S. Congress.

The tribe, whose ancestors greeted the explorers Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Northwest more than two centuries ago, went through the federal acknowledgment process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The celebrated in the nation’s capital after receiving a favorable decision in the final days of the Democratic administration of then-president Bill Clinton in January 2001.

“Today, we have the opportunity to address directly a historical injustice lasting many years,” then-Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Gover, with the tribe at his side in Washington, D.C., said on his last day in office. “The Chinook rejoin the family of tribal nations acknowledged by the United States.”

The victory was short-lived. After George W. Bush came on board as president a couple of weeks later, the decision was among dozens put on hold by new political leaders at the Department of the Interior.

A year later, the Republican administration delivered defeat. In July 2002, then-Assistant Secretary Neal McCaleb, while acknowledging a “deep appreciation” for the tribe’s legacy, denied recognition to the Chinooks.

The tribe has since been unable to reverse the negative decision, despite going through the federal courts to force the BIA to reconsider. The #ChinookJustice campaign seeks to bolster support for a legislative recognition bill in Congress.

“This is a critical moment in our fight for recognition,” the Chinook Nation said in a post on social media.

#ChinookJustice kicks off on Monday. It includes a rally that will be livestreamed on Facebook at 11:30am Pacific time.

Legislation has been introduced in the past to acknowledge a government-to-government relationship between the Chinook Nation and the United States. But no bills are currently pending.

According to documents from the BIA’s Office of Federal Acknowledgment, opposition to the Chinook Nation comes primarily from the Quinault Nation, also based in Washington state. A number of Chinook citizens joined the Quinault Nation in the late 1800s, and their descendants still belong to the Quinault Nation. Some Chinook joined other tribes in the Northwest as well, according to the BIA.

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