Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Squaxin Island
  On-line since 2011 - Updated December 1, 2013
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December 2013

Squaxin: UW Professor Joins Task Force On Violence On American Indian Reservations - Ron Whitener, a University of Washington law school professor, will be giving advice all year long thanks to his appointment to a new Justice Department advisory panel.

October 2013

Squaxin: Salmon will again enter Mission Creek from bay - A healing process is underway where Mission Creek flows into Budd Inlet at the southern-most end of the city of Olympia’s 314-acre Priest Point Park. Watching over the project Wednesday was Rhonda Foster, cultural resource manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe. She was filling in for project archaeologist Maurice Major, who is assigned the task of chronicling any artifacts uncovered during the excavation.

Squaxin: Salish Cliffs Golf Club Announces Significant Revenue Increases - Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino Resort – the award-winning course located a scenic and easy drive from Olympia and Seattle – announces today that it posted significant year-to-date growth in several categories, including a 26% increase in rounds played. Through June, total revenue at Salish Cliffs has grown by 12% year-to-date while retail sales are up 50%.

August 2013

Squaxin: Disturbing video shows group killing a deer in waters near Squaxin Island - The Department of Fish & Wildlife is now investigating a video that has surfaced showing a group of people on a canoe killing a deer in the waters near Squaxin Island. Tribal council member Ray Peters says the group was not out there for a sanctioned canoe event and their actions will not be tolerated. "I was deeply disturbed by the video," Peters said. "From a tradition and cultural standpoint, that is not how we harvest deer and wildlife."

May 2013

Squaxin: Salish Cliffs Golf Club Hosting Squaxin Island Museum Tournament on June 3 - Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino Resort – the Squaxin Island Tribe’s award-winning entertainment property located a convenient, scenic drive from Seattle and Olympia – is hosting the 12th Annual Squaxin Island Museum Tournament on Monday, June 3.

Squaxin: How fish consumption determines water quality - Jim Peters lives near Puget Sound in Washington, and during fishing season his kids eat smoked salmon like candy. Peters is a council member of the Squaxin Island Tribe of South Puget Sound. Fish permeate nearly every aspect of their culture; in the 1850s tribal members gave up most of their land to settlers in treaties, but refused to sign away their fisheries.

March 2013

Squaxin: Powwow brings together families - Drum beats echoed in the Little Creek Casino convention center Saturday as hundreds of tribal dancers lined up for their grand entrance. The beating drums were accompanied by whoops, jingling bells and pounding feet of dancers dressed in multi-colored traditional clothes during the Sa’Heh’Wa’Mish Days powwow. Tracy Aalvik of Kelso and her 6-year-old daughter, Kayla, were wearing deep red and royal blue garb, representing the Tlingit tribe of Alaska.

February 2013

Squaxin: Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Shelton, Washington rated by Golf Digest - Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino Resort - located a scenic and easy drive from Olympia and Seattle - earned top-10 status in Golf Digest's biennial "2013-14 America's Greatest Courses" by state list.

January 2013

Squaxin Island: Little Creek Casino Resort Diversifies its Lodging Options With RV Parking Area - The Squaxin Island Tribe's Little Creek Casino Resort has seen a steady influx of visitors to its full-hookup RV parking area since it opened in October.

Squaxin Island: Idle No More supporters fill Olympia mall in flash mob - Drums, chanting and roars of applause echoed through Westfield Capital mall Saturday in Olympia during a flash mob to show support for the indigenous tribes of Canada. Saturday’s demonstration began with several songs accompanied by drums in the crowd. The first song was performed by a Squaxin Island Tribe family. The mall portion of the demonstration was short. Participants in a similar demonstration Wednesday in Tacoma were banned from the Tacoma Mall for one day after being escorted out by security.

December 2012

Squaxin: Native American Educator, David Whitener Sr., Walks On - David W. Whitener Sr., of the Squaxin Island Tribe, spent 17 years on the faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, in the Native American Studies Program before retiring in 1996. He was 78 when he lost his battle to Parkinson’s disease on November 2 surrounded by family. “Mr. Whitener was dedicated to education and the Native American heritage,” reads his obituary. He was not only a member of the Squaxin Island Tribe, but part of his ancestry is also from the Tsimshian from Alaska. Whitener is of the Raven Clan. His tribal name in the Makah language is ahkwateed.

November 2012

Squaxin: David W Whitener Sr., 78 - Dave was dedicated to education and Native American heritage. He was faculty in the Native American Studies Program at Evergreen State College for 17 years and co-convener of that program for several years. He was instrumental in the planning and building of the Evergreen Long House. He served on the Board of Indian Affairs, Olympic National Forest Advisory Board, Mason General Hospital Board and was the Deputy executive director for the Squaxin Island Tribe. He served in many capacities on the Squaxin Island tribal council.

Squaxin: Oakland Bay Ceremony - A ceremony celebrating the improvements and opening of Oakland Bay’s 750 acres of tidelands housing 19 commercial shellfish companies and a public beach was held Monday, Oct. 29, with Congressman Norm Dicks and Governor Chris Gregoire in attendance. Jim Peters representing the Squaxin Tribal Council spoke of Oakland Bay being part of the Tribal Homelands and Tribal History.

Squaxin: Zeeland High Players open season with ‘The Rememberer’ - In the early 20th century, the Bureau of Indian Affairs sent agents out to Indian reservations to apprehend children with the intent of wiping out whole cultures of Indian heritage, language and customs. Joyce Simmons Cheeka, a young Squaxin Indian girl, was forcibly taken from her family and sent to one such government boarding school. Come and share in her story as the Zeeland High Players stage the show, “The Rememberer,” based on Cheeka's true story. Performances will take place 7 p.m. Nov. 1-3 in the DeWitt Auditorium located at Zeeland East High School.

October 2012

Squaxin: State historical group to honor locals - Two Olympia groups, a college archaeology professor and a Squaxin Island tribal leader will be honored this week by the Washington State Historical Society for their work creating a sense of South Sound history and cultural diversity. Also receiving the Peace and Friendship Award will be Squaxin Island tribal leader Charlene Krise, who is executive director of the Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library and Research Center.

Squaxin: Tribe Selects New CEO - Kelly Croman has been appointed CEO of Island Enterprises Inc., the economic development arm of the Squaxin Island Tribe. Island Enterprises’ subsidiaries include a seafood operation, convenience store, gasoline station, cafe/espresso, construction company, tobacco manufacturing, business services and consulting services. Croman is leaving her post as general counsel to Marine View Ventures, the Puyallup Tribe’s economic development agency, to take up the new position at Squaxin. She previously had served as a tribal attorney for Squaxin.

Squaxin: Salish Cliffs states its case - Course architect Gene Bates looked over the terrain of what would become Salish Cliffs Golf Club on the tree-covered hillsides southwest of Seattle and saw three possibilities. After conferring with leaders of the Squaxin Island Tribe, the most ‘difficult’ routing was chosen. “That’s OK, I like a challenge,” was Bates’ reply. Sure enough, the most difficult has been transformed into the most dramatic as Bates has mapped out a golf thrill ride through the woods and wetlands of what is known as the ‘South Sound’ of the Olympic Peninsula.

Squaxin: Tribe Appoints Croman To Lead Economic Enterprises - Kelly Croman has been appointed CEO of Island Enterprises, Inc., the economic development arm of the Squaxin Island Tribe, it was announced today. Island Enterprises' subsidiaries include a seafood operation, convenience store, gasoline station, cafe/espresso, construction company, tobacco manufacturing, business services and consulting services.

September 2012

Squaxin: Tribe helps fund fish production - A $72,000 contribution from Squaxin Island Tribe will prevent a 75 percent cut in chinook production at the state’s Tumwater Falls salmon hatchery. “If the tribe hadn’t been able to help the state, only one million chinook would’ve been released,” Jeff Dickison, assistant natural resources director for the tribe, said in a prepared statement.

Squaxin: Tribe makes sure state hatchery can release chinook - The Squaxin Island Tribe recently intervened and contributed $72,000 to prevent a 75 percent cut in chinook production at the state’s salmon hatchery in Tumwater. “If the tribe hadn’t been able to help the state, only one million chinook would’ve been released,” said Jeff Dickison, assistant natural resources director for the tribe. Production at the Deschutes River facility has been steady at 4 million chinook, but because of a shortfall in legislative funding, production would have crashed to 1 million. Production has been as high as 12 million fall chinook salmon at the facility since the program began in the 1950s.

Squaxin: State Changes Course On Water Regulation - The Department of Ecology recently decided to delay changing the fish consumption rate in Washington. The rate is important because it drives regulatory standards for water quality. In other words, how much seafood we eat determines how clean our water is. Indian tribes and environmentalists say the current rate is dangerously low.

August 2012

Squaxin: Capitol Lake's future remains clouded - It’s been three years since an advisory committee recommended on a split vote that the state revert the 250-acre manmade Capitol Lake back to the Deschutes River estuary. Very little has happened since to maintain the lake or create the estuary. Without money or a political and community consensus on how to proceed, Capitol Lake keeps filling up with sediment carried down the Deschutes River, an estimated 100,000 cubic yards since 2009, enough to fill 10,000 dump trucks. “Everybody’s so afraid to make a move,” said Dave Peeler, a former state Department of Ecology water quality manager and one of the founders of the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team. Peeler suggested that the lake-estuary debate will continue to fester, unless various stakeholders, including state and local elected officials, the Squaxin Island Tribe, lower Budd Inlet marine owners, community leaders, environmental groups and others, can agree on a plan to manage sediment stockpiled in the lake and future sediment that could end up in lower Budd Inlet if the Fifth Avenue Dam were removed.

Squaxin: Tribe's event's waste-reduction goals ambitious - Calm and collected beyond her years, Squaxin Island tribal member Sheena Kaas has her hands full this week, overseeing an ambitious waste-reduction and recycling program that should pay dividends for the tribe and the environment for years to come. She’s the go-to person and key organizer of the Green Team volunteers who are trying to make the Paddle to Squaxin 2012 canoe landing in Olympia and subsequent potlatch protocol celebration at the tribal complex in Kamilche as close to a zero-waste event as possible.

July 2012

Squaxin: Tribal complex will host diverse array of indigenous cultures - The Squaxin Island tribal complex is buzzing with activity as tribal members prepare for the largest diversity of indigenous cultures ever to assemble in South Sound. “Everybody’s got a job to do,” tribal member Debra Meisner said, waist-deep in preparations for the tribe’s hosting of the 20th annual Canoe Journey July 29-Aug. 5. It’s an intertribal celebration of Pacific Northwest tribes that historically plied the waters of the Salish Sea, which stretches from the northern end of the Strait of Georgia in Canada to the southern terminus of Budd Inlet. “It’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Squaxin: Support Squaxin tribe’s journey to keep heritage alive - The arrival on July 29 of about 13,000 American Indians, representing some 130 West Coast tribal communities, dressed in regalia and landing in beautifully carved cedar canoes, sounds a lot like another spectacular Olympia party. It is not. The Paddle to Squaxin Island 2012, the 20th annual gathering of Northwest Coast indigenous nations, is not a summertime pageant, or a festival like Lakefair. The canoe journey being hosted this year by the Squaxin Island Tribe is a deeply personal and culturally rich revival of Northwest Indian traditions, to which nontribal people are invited to respectfully witness and enjoy.

June 2012

Squaxin: Inter Local Agreement Signing - The Squaxin Island Tribe and Mason County formalized their new partnership today with a signing ceremony at the Squaxin Tribal Museum. This partnership was formed to protect one of the most productive shellfish growing areas in the world by employing a working relationship between the two governments to manage an enhanced Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) program, as part of the state's recently announced Shellfish Initiative.

Squaxin: The search continues for Shelton double homicide suspect - The search continues this morning for 22 year old Charles Sydney Longshore, the suspected shooter in Monday’s double homicide of 19 year old Tyler Drake and 37 year old Anitrea Taber. Police searched a home near the Squaxin Island Tribal Headquarters on Wednesday. He was not in the home, but 2 other individuals were arrested on unrelated warrants.

May 2012

Squaxin: Protecting The Shellfish Industry - On May 29th, Mason County and The Squaxin Island Tribe are set to sign a historic Pollution Identification and Correction Partnership aimed at protecting the $10 million a year Oakland Bay Shellfish Industry.

Squaxin: Fish eating guides water rules - State government assumes, when deciding how clean Washington waters should be, that people eat up to a half-pound of local seafood per month. But it’s not unusual for Jim Peters, a member of the Squaxin Island Tribal Council, to dine with his family three times a week on locally caught salmon, halibut, clams or shrimp – not to mention leftovers. “It is a ridiculously low amount and does not represent in any way what the majority of Washingtonians are actually eating,” the tribal council wrote of the state rate in a policy document it adopted this year.

Squaxin: New Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Shelton, Washington to host Squaxin Island Museum Tournament - Salish Cliffs Golf Club -- the newest amenity of Little Creek Casino Resort, located a short drive from Seattle and Olympia -- will host the 11th Annual Squaxin Island Museum Golf Tournament on Monday, June 4.

Squaxin: Squaxin Island Tribe releases salmon to find out where they go - The Squaxin Island Tribe released thousands of juvenile coho into the Deschutes River to see where they go. “In order to find out where the good coho habitat is in the Deschutes, we need to put some coho in the river,” said Scott Stetlzner, salmon biologist for the tribe.

April 2012

Squaxin: Blood and Sovereignty—Native Americans Give Voice to Studies on Them - For Native Americans in need of good research on their persistent health issues, the troubling case of Arizona’s tiny Havasupai Indian tribe “put genetic research on the front burner,” stated Ron Whitener, executive director of the University of Washington’s Native American Law Center in Seattle. The center’s first step toward building a model for research other tribes could apply was for Whitener and his colleagues to conduct a survey at his own Squaxin Island tribe, located in Puget Sound. -

Squaxin: Salish Cliffs Golf Club is first 'Salmon Safe" golf course - Squaxin Island Tribe’s new Salish Cliffs Golf Club has become the first “Salmon-Safe”-certified golf course in the world, after successfully passing an exhaustive assessment verifying the Tribe’s commitment to protecting native habitat, managing water runoff, reducing pesticides, and advancing environmental practices throughout the region.

Squaxin: Little Creek Casino Intros New CEO - Squaxin Island Tribe has named Michael Starr the new CEO of Little Creek Casino Resort, the tribe’s award-winning entertainment property in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle and Olympia. Starr joins Little Creek Casino Resort during a dynamic time of significant growth. The tribally owned and operated resort – located 20 minutes from Olympia and 75 from Seattle – recently began construction on a full-service spa and unveiled the Skookum Spirit Cigar Lounge last month. It also opened the new Salish Cliffs Golf Club in September, 2011, to best-new-course acclaim from national golf magazines.

Squaxin: Little Creek Casino Intros New CEO - Squaxin Island Tribe has named Michael Starr the new CEO of Little Creek Casino Resort, the tribe’s award-winning entertainment property in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle and Olympia.

Squaxin: Concord students present 'The Rememberer' - etoskey Concord Academy's seventh/eighth grade theater department will present "The Rememberer" by Steven Dietz and directed by Gary Schils. The story centers around Joyce Simmons Cheeka who was born at Mud Bay near Washington on Jan. 31, 1901. For the Squaxin tribe, lacking a written language, knowledge was passed on from generation to generation through stories told and retold by a chosen member of the tribe: "The Rememberer."

March 2012

Squaxin: Washington casino golf course honored by Golfweek - Salish Cliffs Golf Club – a new amenity of Little Creek Casino Resort – has garnered distinction from Golfweek’s 2012 “America’s Best Courses You Can Play” in Washington, published in the March 9 edition and online at “The Squaxin Island Tribe has aimed to make Salish Cliffs an outstanding resort amenity, so it’s extremely gratifying to see Salish Cliffs to continue accumulating these wonderful honors from such respected media,” said Head Professional David Kass, PGA.

Squaxin: Sunny skies greet 15 South Sound cleanup boats - About 60 volunteers manned 15 boats, launching at Arcadia Point east of Shelton and spanning 80 miles of South Sound beaches. The volunteers primarily were shellfish growers and representatives from the Squaxin Island Tribe and Department of Natural Resources.

Squaxin: Lawmakers welcome July canoe journey to Olympia - Olympia will receive about 100 tribal canoes and more than 15,000 visitors this July, as part of the Paddle to Squaxin 2012, which was recognized at the Capitol with a resolution this morning.

Squaxin: Launches - The Squaxin Island Tribe recently launched, an information and news website for the final stop in the 2012 Intertribal Canoe Journey. The website will be the main conduit for public information for one of the largest tribal cultural events in the region.

February 2012

Squaxin: Carver teaches people to make tribal boxes as summer potlatch approaches - Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, the internationally renowned Squaxin Island carver, led a bentwood box workshop over the weekend as part of a series of classes and activities in preparation for this summer’s Tribal Canoe Journey 2012.

January 2012

Squaxin: Tribe Prepares to Host 2012 Canoe Journey - The Squaxin Island Tribe has chosen "Teachings of Our Ancestors" as the theme of the 24th annual Canoe Journey in summer 2012. Ancestral teachings "are the center of our lives and cultures," Squaxin Island Museum executive director Charlene Krise said. "It is our ancestors that teach us that we must care for our elders, each other, our children and the earth because each is a part of our past, present and future." The Squaxin Island Tribe will welcome more than 100 canoes to its shores on July 29, followed by a week of potlatch ceremonies and festivities, with daily performances by dancers, singers and storytellers from visiting indigenous nations. The ceremonies and festivities are open to the public.

Squaxin: Favorite Golf Course Designers: Gene Bates - Six long years passed between the moment leaders of the Squaxin Island Tribe on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula decided to build the Salish Cliffs golf course and the day Gene Bates and director of golf David Kass welcomed a gaggle of eager golf writers for the unofficial opening ceremony. Because it's tribal-owned, the assumption was that Bates had gotten the job by virtue of Circling Raven's success. Circling Raven, opened in 2003, is owned by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and has been ranked as Idaho's best course and the best tribal course in the U.S., as well as one of the top-100 public courses in the country by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. But according to the tribe's president, Bob Whitener, some of the Squaxin Island tribe's council members were attending a conference in Myrtle Beach some years back and happened to play Carolina National. "They were so impressed apparently," says Bates, "they agreed that if they ever did add a golf course to their Little Creek Casino Resort, about 10 miles from the state capital in Olympia, they would hire the guy that designed that course."

December 2011

Squaxin: Washington casino golf course honored again - Brand-new Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino Resort – located a short drive from Olympia and Seattle – has added to its already impressive resume with inclusion in GOLF Magazine's "Best New Courses You Can Play 2011" and as the highest-ranking casino course (No. 11 overall) to open this year in "Golfweek's Best: Casino Courses 2011."

November 2011

Squaxin: Tribe, 3 local cities to run water-restoration fund


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