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CTUIR voters approve 1855 Treaty boundary

Constitutional amendment OK’d by 2-to-1 margin

Confederated Umatilla Journal

3 Sections, 68 pages Publish date March 5, 2020

The monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ~ Pendleton, Oregon March 2020



Volume 28, Issue 3

Casino, schools re-open after coronavirus scare Wildhorse employee is third positive test in Oregon By Casey Brown of the CUJ MISSION – Wildhorse Resort & Casino and Nixyaawii Education Center re-opened Wednesday, March 5, two days after Tribal officials learned that an employee of the gaming facility had tested presumptive positive for coronavirus. It was the third person in Oregon who was presumed positive for COVID-19, commonly referred to as novel coronvirus. The other two cases are in Lake Oswego. Tribal leaders closed Wildhorse, including the hotel, and the Educa-

tion Center at noon Monday, March 3, as a safety precaution and ordered a sanitizing regimen. A battery of workers toiled for two days cleaning the facilities. Wildhorse Casino General Manager Al Tovey reported that the building had been sanitized by Monday afternoon (March 3). He said that day that crews were going to “double clean” the facility and were considering bringing in an outside company for more cleaning. As of March 4, the COVID-19, which originated in China, had caused illness across more than 70 countries.

In the United States, the virus had spread to 14 states. Nine people had died in Washington state. An employee of Wildhorse Resort & Casino, fell ill at an AAU basketball tournament in Weston and was taken to a hospital in Walla Walla, Washington. In response, Wildhorse was closed for the first time in its 25-year history. The Board of Trustees (BOT) met in an emergency meeting early March 2 and established an Incident Command, which consists of staff from Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and Coronavirus closes casino on page 2A

CUJ photo/Casey Brown

Joseph Adams, custodian, and Andrew Lofting, security supervisor, were two of the staff members that sanitized Wildhorse Resort & Casino during a temporary closure.

February flood hammers Reservation By Casey Brown of the CUJ


UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION – A State of Emergency was declared Feb. 6 by the Board of Trustees for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) when the Umatilla River breached its banks Feb. 6-7. Heavy snow topped by four inches of rain and unusually warm temperatures caused a melt that resulted in record-level flooding on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and in three eastern Oregon counties and Walla Walla County in Washington. Residents

of the reservation, in Pendleton, Weston, Milton-Freewater, and Echo were hit hard. Several other locations issued states of emergency: in Umatilla, Wallowa, and Union counties; several municipalities, including Pendleton and Milton-Freewater; and at the state level by Governor Kate Brown. A federal disaster designation is being considered by the Confederated Tribes and State of Oregon. A measuring station near Gibbon records the height of the river in feet. In 2019 the average was between 3.5-4.5 feet. The floodwater Feb. 6 sent the river level to a

new high of 12.08 feet. According to Kate Ely, CTUIR Umatilla Basin hydrologist, that equated to water flows of 13,500 cubic feet per second (cfs). Water levels were much higher than what people typically refer to as a “100-year flood,” but is more appropriately called a 100-year recurrence interval, according to the United States Geological Survey in the US Department of the Interior. Ely said the numbers fall in the upper range of the 500-year frequency. The peak was just over 12 feet near Gibbon and caused

Flood hammers reservation on page 5A

Valentine’s Gathering Nicholi and Nila Mayfield, the children of Ken Mayfield and Cicily Moses, get their steps in around the Longhouse floor during the Valentine’s Gathering at the Mission Longhouse Feb. 12. Community members gathered to share a meal, dance, and spend time together. For more pictures, turn to Page 11A. CUJ photo/Phinney

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation 46411 Timine Way Pendleton, OR 97801

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Pendleton, OR Permit #100

Rabb thrust into Incident Command role for flood By Casey Brown of the CUJ

MISSION – One day after class, Paul Rabb’s business professor Mrs. Bygun pulled him aside. She wanted him to know that he was born to be a leader, and nearly three decades later Rabb stepped into the largest leadership role of his life. It was a coincidence that he was in charge of operations for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) when major flooding pushed the Umatilla River out of its banks Feb. 6. He is third on the CTUIR chain of command, so he only takes over when Ted Wright, CTUIR Executive Director, and Chuck Sams, Communications Director, are out of the office. Wright and Sams were both out of town. “I’ve always felt as though I am a natural leader and a lot of the decisions that I had to make were easy because I had good information and good people around me gathering that information,” said Rabb, who is the Tribes’ Finance Department Director. Thanks to emergency procedural training that he had taken a few months earlier, he knew what to do and sprang into immediate action. “What I learned most from the training was the chain of command and you want to make sure that the communication is straightforward,” Rabb said. While the flood was unprecedented, the response

“I think it was more the way I was brought up and watching my parents and my grandparents being hard workers and having compassion for the community – and growing up here and working my entire career for CTUIR.” Rabb said he hasn’t faced anything to this scale before, but everything goes back to a childhood incident. When he was a child, he had a stroke that has affected his mobility. “Everything goes back to what happened when I was 11. It’s why I am the way I am today,” he said. “I went from being a normal kid to not being able to move for weeks.” He was getting a haircut and noticed something was different when he “jumped up into the pickup.” “My hands weren’t working, so my mom took me to the doctor. It was cold, it was wintertime. The doctor wasn’t sure what was going on. He said it might be because it was cold and it was something that would pass,” he said. Except it didn’t pass: “As the night went on my arms and shoulders got heavy, and then when I woke up I couldn’t move.” His ability to bounce back, relationship with his family, and support from the CTUIR Command Team, staff and community set the stage for his role in the largest flood of the Umatilla River in recorded history. “I always kept a positive attitude and I think that is still with me today,” Rabb said. “I keep a positive attitude and work hard, and it’s just what’s I’ve always done.”

‘I think you have to have a good thought process and be calm and understand that you have a task at hand and it needs to be completed.’ Paul Rabb

was also successful. “We didn’t lose any lives on the reservation,” he said. “The emergency response went well. I thought the programs that needed to step up and manage volunteers did excellent,” he said. Sadly, one life was lost near the Bar M Ranch area east of the reservation. The community played a big role as well. “The outpouring of donations from the community was remarkable.” In an emergency, Rabb says it’s important to keep a cool head. “I think you have to have a good thought process and be calm and understand that you have a task at hand and it needs to be completed.” The class he took wasn’t the only thing that prepared him for this unprecedented role.

Coronavirus closes casino, schools Continued from page 1A

the Tribal government. Lisa Guzman, Yellowhawk CEO, was named Incident Commander. The BOT closed the Senior Center, Nixyaawii Community School, Head Start and Daycare. All community events scheduled on the Umatilla Indian Reservation from March 2-8 were cancelled. Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority notified the Board that the presumptive positive case was a Wildhorse staff member, according to a CTUIR press release. The case remains presumptive, meaning a test came back positive, but as of press time had not been verified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A majority of Wildhorse’s 900-person staff, along with all customers, went home at noon March 2. They were paid while the building was closed. A crew of about 30 people, consisting of custodians, security officers, and department managers and directors, remained in the building to sanitize and keep the building secure, according to General Manager Al Tovey. “It’s not normal [to close], but we want to take precautions that guests and staff

Wildhorse Casino was empty Monday, March 2, while employees did a deep clean.

CUJ photo/Casey Brown

are safe, first and foremost,” Tovey said. Nick Eastwood, custodial manager, said the custodial department started preparing as soon as the outbreak was reported. “We really ramped up sanitization efforts and stocked up on supplies, so when this hit here we were already as prepared as possible,” said Eastwood. “As soon as there was a concern, we responded immediately. We met right away and came up with a plan of action.” Eastwood said he isn’t worried about exposure, despite the fact that he remained in the facility.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

46411 Timine Way Pendleton, OR 97801 Phone 541-429-7005


Fax 541-429-7005 Email cuj@ctuir.org www.ctuir.org

“I’m not worried about my own personal exposure because I’m a psycho about washing my hands,” he said. “It’s probably rude, but even when people are still in my office, I’m already putting on hand sanitizer.” COVID-19 is a strain of coronovirus that is similar to the common cold. This new strain is similar to SARS because it causes respiratory problems. More than 90,000 cases have been reported globally with more than 3,100 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (The WHO reports that the disease has killed about 3.4 percent of those

diagnosed with the illness globally. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills fewer than 1 percent of those infected.) COVID-19 is a strain that has only spread in people since December 2019, according to the CDC. The virus is spread from one person to another through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. The Oregon Health Authority recommends four steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to their website, healthoregon.org/coronavirus. “Wash your hands often with soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you’re sick; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.” The Confederated Tribes are coordinating the response with the State of Oregon and Umatilla County. More information will be provided as it becomes available, according to Chuck Sams, communications director. A hotline has been established. Dial 211 to discuss any concerns or questions.

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Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

CUJ News Voters pass 1855 Treaty boundary Constitutional amendment provides clear interpretation of boundaries in relation to elections MISSION – Voters passed a constitutional amendment Feb. 26 that clarifies the Umatilla Indian Reservation boundaries to be used for elections of Board of Trustees members and General Council officers. Members of the Confederated Tribes overwhelmingly voted against the “diminished boundary” advocated by previous members of the Board of Trustees, five of whom were defeated in their bids for re-election last November. General Council members cast 286 yes votes to 136 no votes in the Special Election. The gap may have been a wider because,

BOT members said, some voters said they were confused by Election Commission voting information. Some people thought their no vote was a vote against the diminished boundary. Nevertheless, the amendment passed. The amendment adds the following verbiage to Article VI, Section 2: “as defined in Article 1 of the Treaty of 1855.” This issue has been debated for more than two years within the tribal community and this vote now provides a clear intepretration of the boundaries of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in relation to elections, according to a CTUIR news release.

Minthorn opens Washington session with prayer OLYMPIA – Longhouse leader Armand Minthorn delivered the invocation to start the floor session for the Washington State House of Representatives at the capitol in Olympia Feb. 26. Minthorn, who also is a member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), and Kat Brigham, BOT Chair, were guests of Washington state Reps. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, and Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla. Minthorn used the Washat bell and spoke in his Umatilla language and addressed the body for several minutes. Changing to English, he shared his thoughts on working together to a positive purpose. Then, asking all to “pray in your own way,” he sang a prayerful song that filled the chamber. The bell rang again to bring the prayer to an end. Over the course of meetings during the day with legislators, Minthorn was thanked for the start of the day. Several members said it was the best prayer of

From left to right, Armand Minthorn, CTUIR Board of Trustees member at large, Kat Brigham, BOT Chairwoman, WA Rep. Skyler Rude (Walla Walla), and WA Rep. Bill Jenkin (Prosser). Contributed photo

the session, and man said they could “feel the spirit of the Creator” fill the room as he spoke and sang. After the invocation, Brigham and

Minthorn were invited into the House Republican Caucus where they were greeted with a standing ovation. They were introduced by 16th District leg-

islators Jenkin and Rude. Brigham shared information about the CTUIR, including news of the new fish hatchery under construction on the Walla Walla River. As Minthorn and Brigham left the room, the House Republicans again stood and applauded. Feb. 26 also happened to be Rep. Debra Lekanoff’s birthday. The Democrat from Bow thanked Minthorn for grounding her day in prayer that sang to her heart. “Best birthday present ever,” she said. Lekanoff, elected in 2018, is the first female Native American to serve in the state House. She also introduced Umatilla leadership to the House Democratic Caucus. Other meetings during the day included visits with Gov. Jay Inslee; Speaker of the House Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma; House Republican Leader JT Wilcox, R-Yelm; and new Ecology Director Laura Watson.

ICWA bill dying in hands of Oregon Republicans By Casey Brown of the CUJ SALEM, Ore. – A bill aimed at increasing protections for Indian children and a flood relief funding package of over $11 million are two of many stalled in the State Capitol. Republicans in the Oregon State Senate walked out Feb. 24 and their counterparts in the Oregon House of Representatives joined them the following day. They left in protest over the so called “cap-andtrade” bill that aims to reduce carbon outputs to help mitigate global warming and climate change. Democrats have what is known as a supermajority, so Republicans walked out to deny the two-thirds majority of Senators needed to achieve a quorum and conduct business such as voting.

March 2020

That means the cap-and-trade bill won’t come to a vote. Meanwhile, all other legislation, including the CTUIR’s priority bill, the Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act (House Bill 4148), cannot be considered either. “The walkout has killed the ICWA bill because it needs an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate,” said Jane Hill, legislative affairs manager for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). “We did everything in our power to line up this bill, educate lawmakers and develop a product to insure the state is in compliance with federal law. Now we wait.” The constitutionally mandated last day of the legislative session is March 8. Senator Bill Hansell (R – Athena) is not only among those who walked out,

but he is also a chief sponsor of HB 4148. He represents District 29, which includes the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Umatilla County. The Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act bill is the result of a vast workgroup process to codify the national standards of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into Oregon statute. It is modeled after the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which passed at the federal level in 1978. ICWA came about because Indian children were being removed, via foster care and adoption, from their homes, families and communities at 25-35 percent, which is much higher than the rates for nonIndian children. Despite the federal legislation, the problem persists. The bill promotes the safety of Native children, preserving

Confederated Umatilla Journal

tribal families and communities, recognizing tribal sovereignty, and creating a roadmap for compliance with federal law in courtrooms and Department of Human Services offices throughout the state. “Despite requirements under the Indian Child Welfare Act, application of the Indian Child Welfare Act in Oregon courts is inconsistent,” the bill reads, “and clearly addressing…the coordination between and respective roles of the state and tribes…will provide uniform and consistent direction to state courts, tribes and practitioners,” the bill reads. It goes on to say the bill’s purpose is “to prevent unlawful removals of Indian children from their families and promote the stable placement of Indian children in ICWA on page 17A


Women employees for the tribal government of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation gathered during last year’s International Women’s Day in the rotunda of the Nixyaawii Governance Center. International Women’s Day takes place during Women’s History Month and is observed every year on March 8. CUJ File Photo, 2019/Casey Brown

Indian County observing Women’s History Month By Casey Brown of the CUJ International Women’s Day is March 8, which falls on a Sunday this year, and the month of March is Women’s History Month. Indian Country celebrates the day and the month along with the rest of the nation. Women’s History Month started as a day, then became a week, and since 1986 has been a month in the United States. The day has been on the books since 1911. The United Nations says that the day is about recognizing and unifying women the world over. “International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political,” according to the website. The day became a week in 1978 when a school district in California scheduled events throughout the week of March 8. The President of the United States started issuing proclamations for Women’s History Week in 1980, which lasted until 1986 when it switched to a full month. The United Nations was ahead of the US by a decade. In 1975, they officially commemorated Women’s History Month on an international level. The United States is not the only country in on the action. Several countries observe the month, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, although Canada waits until October.

INDIAN COUNTRY In Indian Country, organizations such as the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWR) highlight the work and history of indigenous women who stand out. During last year’s theme of “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence,” NIWR lifted up the names of women who work within their communities, those who came before, those who “take to the streets” to march in women’s marches, and women in politics. They specifically named public servants at the federal level, such as Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, and public servants at the state level such as Peggy Flanagan. Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation), the first openly LGBTQ Congresswoman, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas and Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna) was elected to the U.S. House from New Mexico. Flanagan (White Earth Band of Ojibwe), elected Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, is the second Native American woman to ever be elected to statewide executive office in U.S. history. The 2020 theme listed by National Women’s History website, www.womenshistorymonth.gov, and the National Women’s History Alliance, nationlawomenshistoryalliance.org, is centered around the 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment, which passed in August 1920. It gave white women the right to vote. However, American Indian and Alaska Native women were not allowed to vote until 1924 when

the Indian Citizenship Act passed. Chinese women weren’t allowed to vote until 1943 when the Magnuson Act passed. Japanese women weren’t allowed to vote until the 1790 Naturalization Law was repealed by the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952. Black women weren’t allowed to vote until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act passed. Latina women weren’t allowed to vote until the Voting Rights Act was extended to include them a decade later in 1975. EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT Another milestone nearly 100 years in the making could become a reality in 2020. A proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution known as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was ratified by Virginia, the 38th state to do so. The ERA could be the 29th amendment, but it has a way to go before that becomes a reality. Congress originally passed the ERA in 1972, but it had a deadline of seven years to be ratified by three-fourths of the states, as required in the Constitution . When the 1979 deadline arrived, the numbers fell short. Only 35 out of the required 38 states had passed legislation to ratify the ERA. As of Jan. 15, 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify. However, what happens next depends on whether both chambers of the Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, agree to extend the deadline that expired more than 30 years ago. The deadline has been extended before, from 1979 to 1982.

Flood hammers reservation Continued from page 1A

flooding from Bingham Springs (41 miles east of Mission) to Echo and Stanfield (30 miles west of Mission). High levels were also recorded on the equipment in Pendleton. The East Oregonian reported that Pendleton’s city manager said the waters reached 19.2 feet and was flowing at 20,300 cfs. One life was lost. Janet Tobkin Conley, 62, was found dead having appeared to be swept away by rushing water near Bar M Ranch, just east of the boundary of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The flood caused an untold-amount of damage to private property and public infrastructure, but officials on the Umatilla Indian Reservation say it surely will be in the millions of dollars. City of Pendleton and Umatilla County are reporting millions of dollars in


infrastructure damage to bridges and roadways, among other locations. While most of the devastation occurred within the first 48 hours, as of the end of February there were houses that still have water running through them. “We know that the river has created a lot of new channels with some of those being from breached levees,” said Paul Rabb, incident commander for CTUIR. An emergency operations center was established on the reservation in the Public Safety building and one in Umatilla County at the Sherriff’s office. Designated shelters appeared all over the affected region, including the Community Gym and Cmuytpáma Warming Station in Mission and the Pendleton Convention Center in Pendleton. On Thursday (Feb. 6) night, supplies and donations were already pouring in to both

Standing water stopped traffic on North Cayuse Road on the Umatilla Indian Reservation Feb. 7. Trucks carrying equipment and supplies braved floodwaters to begin repairs. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

locations. The National Guard brought waterproof fire starter bricks to Mission, and the Red Cross set up shop in the convention center.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

For more on Paul Rabb’s experience as incident commander, turn to Page 2A. For much more on the flooding, turn to the 20-page Special Report in Section C.

March 2020

Funny February Winds whipped through the region Feb. 23, bringing down limbs and trees like the ones at the BIA yard in Mission. The winds snapped power poles along Market Road and knocked out power for several hours. The National Weather Service recorded a high wind gust of 63 miles per hour. February’s weather was warmer than normal with the average at 41.8 degrees. Highs averaged 52.2 with a high of 63 degrees - the same as the wind velocity - on th Feb. 23. The low temperature in February was 23 degrees on Feb. 3. There were 17 days when the temperature dipped below freezing. Since October, the water precipitation at the Pendleton Airport has been 5.57 inches, which is about an inch below normal. Snowfall in February amounted to 3.8 inches that fell on Feb. 4. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Yellowhawk launching Problem Gambling Program in April MISSION – Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center will launch a Problem Gambling Program. It begins in April on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The first Problem Gambling Group is scheduled for Thursday, April 2, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Behavioral Health Department at Yellowhawk. Some 2.3 percent of Oregon’s adult population, the same as the national rate, self-identifies as having a gambling problem. That is tied with Asian Americans for the highest rate in the nation, and is more than double the rate among all adults. About 1 percent of white Americans self-identify as having a gambling problem. “The percentage is really highest, at 7 percent, if people are honest about their gambling,” said Shayne Arndt, Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) III, Chemical Dependency Clinical Manager at Yellowhawk. The Problem Gambling Program falls under Yellowhawk’s Behavioral Health Department’s Chemical Dependency Program, which is led by Arndt.

“Gambling has the highest risk of suicide of any addiction due to shame, guilt and emotions surround the loss of money, resources and family,” Arndt said. An American Society of Addiction Medicine or mental health assessment and treatment plan must be completed to participate in the group. Yellowhawk will provide transportation and childcare during afternoon groups Monday through Thursday to reduce barriers to treatment. Pam Fisher, CADC I, and Certified Gambling Addiction Counselor (CGAC) I Trainee, and LeeAndria Wilcraft, MSW, Certified Social Work Associate (CSWA), CGAE 1 Trainee, will provide community education at local events after April 1. Lisa Guzman, CEO at Yellowhawk, said she’s happy to offer another service to Tribal patrons. “Our goal is to deliver a broad scope of behavioral health services and we are pleased to add Problem Gaming to the services we provide to the Yellowhawk Community,” she said in a news release.

Wildhorse has self-ejection program for problem gamblers MISSION – Native Americans suffer from one of the highest problem gambling rates in the United States, according to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Some tribes fund problem gambling programs through their state gaming compacts while others make contributions directly to organizations that provide support for people with addictions. Wildhorse Casino offers a Gambler’s Anonymous hotline provided through the State of Oregon’s Problem Gaming Resource (OPGR.org) and posts the property with problem gamblers resource materials and flyers at the Cage and at the casino entry vestibules, Gary George, Wildhorse CEO, said in an email response. Wildhorse will soon re-post information at their new kiosks. Wildhorse also has a self-ejection/eviction

March 2020

program for problem gamblers, George said. Al Tovey, Wildhorse Casino Manager, said “once or twice a week” a gambler will go to Wildhorse Security and self-exclude or bar themselves from gaming or being on the casino floor. “We also take them off our mailing list so they don’t receive any offers,” Tovey said. George said he doesn’t know all the specifics of the newly announced Problem Gambling Program being offered in April at Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, but “we generally support a problem gamblers help program.” “WRC has been wanting to partner with someone for some time now and WRC has made it known to Umatilla County that funding is available from the Wildhorse Foundation for problem gambler programs. The same would be true for Yellowhawk,” George said in the email.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

What do you know about gambling? - Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. Exactly what causes someone to gamble compulsively isn’t well-understood. Like many problems, compulsive gambling may results from a combination of biological, generic and environmental factors. – Mayo Clinic The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 paved the way for tribal gaming. Today, 28 states have tribal casinos, which are hosted on reservations. Last year they earned more than $32 billion in refe3nue, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a leading trade organization for the gaming industry. There are about 500 tribal casinos around the country. Their proliferation since 1988 presents a complex issue for Native Americans, many of whom are prime candidates for gaming abuse or addictions. Meanwhile the positive impact that casino revenue has on lives is seen everywhere in better health care, schools, police and fire services and other community needs. Two million – about 1 percent of U.S. adults – are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another four to six million (2-3 percent) would be considered problem gamblers. That is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one or more of the criteria and are experience problems due to their gambling behavior, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. Gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits are characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, and “chasing” losses. – National Council on Problem Gambling The 2.3 percent rate of problem gambling among American Indians and Alaska Natives is tied with Asian Americans and is more than twice the rate for all-Americans. - “Treatment for Native American problem gamblers often requires culturally sensitive services. Native Americans who aim to live a traditional life – such as going to ceremonies and refraining from alcohol and drugs – have the least amount of problems with gambling.” - David Patterson Silver Wolf of Washington University, who serves as the director of the Community-Academic Partnership on Addiction. - “You have to have ethnic-specific programming and treatment, but we also have to understand that are the specific culture that drive elevated risk. We certainly know, for years, about increased alcoholism and substance - abuse problems among Native Americans. And the questions are: Are those same risk factors what drive gambling problems? Or is there something unique about gambling to the tribes that are causing some problems there?” – Timothy Fong, addition psychiatry professor and co-director of the Los Angeles Gambling Studies Program at the University of California. - “If they’re desperate to try to get their rent paid or get groceries or get their car payment so they can get the work, Natives sometimes go to the casino and they’ll take their last $50 and try to turn that into $500, and they end up losing that, and at that point they’re in a worse condition than they were before they went.” – Patrick Pruitt, social worker with the Kansas City, Missouri, Indian Center


CUJ Opinion T

Where are our local legislators?

he Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) work extremely hard to address issues of mutual concerns with the State of Oregon. This government-to-government relationship ensures open and clear communication to ensure the needs of all of our citizens are being addressed through executive, legislative and judicial bodies. To this end, the CTUIR regularly meets with elected members of the state Legislature: Senator Bill Hansell, Representative Greg Barreto, and Representative Greg Smith. Over the years we have forged a strong working relationship and have counted on these representatives to forward the interests of the Tribes within the Oregon legislature. In general, the CTUIR does not play party politics or political games. We work to protect, preserve and enhance our treaty rights and the welfare of our Tribal members and the community at large. During the current short session we have supported the Cap-and-Trade bill that was moving its way through the halls of Oregon’s capitol building. The Tribes have expressed several concerns with the bill and have offered amendments to protect our economic interests. The CTUIR championed the Oregon Indian Child Welfare Act bill that would align Oregon’s dependency code with the national Act to ensure protections for American Indian children and families. We put hundreds of hours into working on the legislation with judges, legislators and staff from a number of state agencies. We were honored to have Senator Hansell sponsor this bill on our behalf.

Representatives Smith and Barreto voted for it in the House. It has had unanimous bipartisan support. But it has yet to be considered on the floor of the Senate. The recent floods have caused devastation along twenty-four miles of the Umatilla River on the Reservation. Governor Kate Brown allocated National Guard air resources for rescue efforts on the Reservation and visited flood sites on February 14. The Governor made a pledge to propose funding to the Oregon legislature that would help with housing and

infrastructure issues that have affected both Tribal and non-Indian home owners alike. These funds were proposed to meet critical needs of both the Tribes and the surrounding community. We understand that Republican legislators have issues with the Cap-and-Trade bill - so does the CTUIR. Republican legislators, with two exceptions, walked out of Oregon’s short session in protest on February 24 and have yet to return to fulfill their oaths of office and duties to the citizens of Oregon. With the absence of the Republicans in the legislature, there are no bills moving forward. The protections we need for our children and families will not move forward despite bipartisan support. The funding for flood recovery will not move forward despite the tremendous need. The legislature is set to end on March 8 and the people’s business will not have been completed. This parliamentary game of not showing up when your party is not in the majority is childish at best. Though now we will be witness to gross neglect in the face of a real crisis. We are now facing a virus in our community. Will we be able to count on our state representatives to protect our interests and lives? If they don’t return to the legislature, regardless of political party affiliation, we will all suffer the consequences of poor leadership. The CTUIR leadership has requested Senator Hansell, Representative Barreto and Representative Smith return to the legislature. We need them to fulfill their duties. ~ CFSIII

Proudly identify yourself as ‘Umatilla Tribe’ on Census


remember the first time I voted in a presidential election. It was 2007, and I felt so grown up. Three years later, the 2010 Census came around. I was counted as part of my parents’ household and didn’t really see why the Census was such a big deal. The 2020 Census is my first time as head of household and I cannot wait to participate, especially since it presents me with an opportunity to represent my tribal nation and fill my Census out in the best way to help Indian Country. Earlier this month I attended a meeting for a group called the Tribal Complete Count Committee where they explained the importance of a complete count in Indian County, meaning that all Indians, enrolled or otherwise, get counted as American Indian/Alaska Native. Since people self-identify on the Census, there will be no enrollment verification, so descendants are counted just the same as enrolled tribal members, which is a good thing. Indian is Indian.

CUJ Confederated Umatilla Journal

I learned that there is a lot of help available so there is a complete and accurate count in Native America. For instance, you can contact CTUIR’s Enrollment Office at enrollment@ctuir.org or 541-429-1971. Honestly, the Census is much shorter than I remember it being. Maybe that’s because I watched someone fill it out online at the TCCC meeting– 2020 being the first time we have that option – versus watching my mom fill out the paper form that looked about as thick as the local phonebook. The questions were short and sweet and only took about ten minutes to answer. I was shocked: “That’s it. That’s what everyone has been making a big deal about all this time?” Just because there are only a few straightforward questions, I’ve learned, doesn’t mean they don’t have a huge impact. In fact, the “Race Question” is where people can identify as American Indian/Alaska Native and is a question that will have a positive impact on tribal nations and people.

46411 Timine Way Pendleton, OR 97801 541-429-7005 FAX 541-429-7005 e-mail: cuj@ctuir.org www.ctuir.org

This question could also begin to chip away at the disparity between Indians being undercounted and non-Indian whites being over counted by about one percent. The more accurate the count, the more likely resources are properly allocated. Some estimates show that there is a loss of funding of $3,000 per year, per person. That’s a lot of money. By the way, I will be the head of household for our home because I’m Indian while my fiancé is nonIndian. Shana Radford at the Census office advises that homes like mine should have an Indian adult fill it out as head of household. It’s important that I mark only one race (American Indian/Alaska Native) so we are counted as an Indian household, rather than a mixed household. It is also important to use your Tribes’ official code. For tribal members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, your code is “Umatilla Tribe.” For a list of other Tribes, you can contact Shana at shana.m.radford@2020census.gov. I’ll be thinking of my ancestors as I proudly write “Delaware Nation” under Tribal affiliation on the 2020 U.S. Census. Wanishi. ~ kcb (Casey Brown)


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Next CUJ: April 2 Ad deadline: March 17 News deadline: March 24

March 2020

CUJ Op-Eds & Columns Flood disaster brought community together


ow! This flood has really impacted our Tribal Community. The Board of Trustees is very grateful that only one life was lost because we heard a lot of stories about how people had to swim to safety and others had to be rescued. Plus we have not heard of any major injuries. The damage is huge emotionally and physically. But it has been great to see a lot of people drop their barriers and come to the aid of those who have been impacted. CTUIR has received a number of calls letting us know that they are thinking of us and wish the best for us and our tribal community. Paul Rabb, our Incident Commander, did a great job in pulling staff and other entities together to help rescue and provide services to our tribal community. One of the first things that was done was to establish the old gym as Kat Brigham the Coordinating Center to provide services, receive food, water and clothing donations. At one point it was very low on water and a pick-up caravan from the Tri-Cities pulled up with water, clothes and food. So many local and non-local people have stepped up to help us that I am not able to put all their names in this article. But we really appreciate their support. The Coordination Center provided three meals a day for those who were impacted by or helping with the flood. There were 71 homes affected by the 2020 flood. One home was destroyed, 12 homes had major damage, 43 homes had minor damage and 15 homes have land damage. We have one home that is inaccessible. We know that some of these homes with private wells and septic tanks have been impacted. We are developing a plan and hopefully will be able to get the funds to address the situation. The current priority is domestic wells to insure safe drinking water, compromised septic systems and prioritiz-

The second punch - Coronavirus


oy! A second disaster within six weeks. We still have a lot of work to do in order to recover from the 2020 flood physically. In fact we are still planning on what and who to ask for help. Then Monday, March 2 we are notified that a non-CTUIR member working at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino has been tested as “presumptive positive” for the coronavirus. This is a test of our resiliency as a community. The Board of Trustees all agreed that our Tribal community and employees health is very important. We found out more about the coronavirus. A “presumptive positive” test means that a person has a pretty good chance of having coronavirus, but could not get a confirmation for up to five days from the Center for Disease Control. In addition, we worked hard to get out information about how to avoid an outbreak. The BOT agreed to close down our Education Center, Senior Center and parts of the Wildhorse Resort & Casino as a proactive measure by having these buildings sanitized. We want to let everyone know, CTUIR members, employees and community members, that we

ing levees to be repaired that are critical to the safety of the tribal community. We have county and tribal roads that need to be repaired. We will be working with the county on their roads and going through CTUIR roads to develop a plan to get them repaired. It was also great to see CTUIR included in the briefings with Governor Brown, Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley. We were also very pleased to get our BIA Regional Director Bryan Mercier here to do a tour to see if BIA could assist us in clean up. FEMA was here at our request to help gather the documentation for a request for assistance. Senator

put health above economics. Resolution 20-019 - Public Health Emergency Declaration COVID-19 was passed following BOT Resolution 18-006 that designates Yellowhawk and the Public Health Officer as the lead for public health emergencies on CTUIR to proactively work and develop safety measures for the entire Reservation. In order for the coronavirus to be maintained it is very important that each of you know what to do to prevent being exposed, keeping yourself healthy, and what to do if you are exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Please keep yourself up to date by reviewing information on the tribal and Yellowhawk websites and social media. Additional information is being posted in common areas throughout the Reservation and you can call 211 for information. Only when the People are healthy and happy can the Tribes be healthy and happy. Take care of yourself, take care of each other. - N. Kathryn “Kat” Brigham, BOT Chair

Wyden let the Umatilla County and CTUIR know that as soon as we got a request in he would work to move it forward. It was great to see most of the CTUIR departments work together to assist flood impacts. And I want to thank everyone for what they did to help those who were impacted by the Umatilla River flood. Now that the water is down the BOT is now looking at options on how to clean up. - N. Kathryn ‘Kat’ Brigham, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Big events: Constitutional amendment, flood, hoops


write this article in reflection of the whirlwind of events that occurred during February 2020. Including the worst flooding in our Umatilla river basin in over half a century - caused when 10 inches of rain fell within 24 hours in our Blue Mountains, which swiftly melted the snow pack. Ten inches is the average amount we receive … for the entire year! That’s alot of ‘chus’ needing to flow somewhere quickly, and it did wherever it could. These powerful natural phenomena often benefit riparian zones, resident fish and wildlife and fauna in many ways. However, it did not benefit the hundreds of human residents who also reside along our “mighty Umie”… as it proved itself to be. Sadly, there was no way your tribal government and its resources nor our county partners could have possibly been fully prepared for what occurred. Hundreds of families – many with pets and livestock – had less than 24 hours to choose to either defend their homes by stacking hundreds of sand bags, or to remove valuable personal items as quickly as possible (like regalia and family memoirs). Some were successful, some were not. Over eighty (80) homes were partially or entirely damaged. We are now in recovery mode, assessing overall damage, and will request FEMA to assist individuals and the community with financial losses. We also send condolences to the up-

March 2020

General Council Chair’s Corner Lindsey X. Watchman

river family whom lost a loved one. Let it be known and applauded how many caring and courageous staff, family members and volunteers used their hearts and bodies, to ensure that no other loss of life occurred. At any needed moment, the sand-bagging station was crewed. Staff shared their so very valuable, intimate knowledge of where every Elder lived, then cross-coordinated to ensure that 100% were accounted for. The first four nights was a fast-moving blur. Himeekis q’ecieyew’yew to all who helped at the donation center, provided hotel rooms, or kept the warming station lights on. The titooqan

Confederated Umatilla Journal

word that comes to mind in witnessing all of this whole-hearted compassion is…‘pamá-naknuwi’ (each one, taking care of one another). Another significant moment occurred at the tribal polls on February 26th, when 412 General Council members cast their vote, ultimately amending our 1949 Constitution (286 in favor, 136 opposed). After years of discussion, the added language provides clear interpretation of which boundary to use during the election of Board of Trustees members and General Council officers. I commend the Election Commission (and Dan Hester) for their diligent record-keeping, which in turn was reported directly to the General Council a week prior to the special election. Thank you voters for participating in our tribal democracy. Lastly, we’re heading back to the state boys basketball tournament in Baker March 5-8 to defend our title (warhoop)! Hours ago we survived the Sweet 16 round and now head to the Elite 8. By this time next week… we may be hoisting another championship banner. Our community is swelling with hope (so is this proud dad) to witness their hard work, teammanship and commitment to a goal. Safe travels for our community and all teams traveling across the state. Yox kalo.


CUJ Almanac Obituaries Karen Cecile Jim June 20, 1957 – February 7, 2020 Karen Cecile Jim 62, of Pendleton, died Friday Feb. 7, 2020 in Richland, Washington. Karen was born June 20, 1957 in Pendleton, Oregon to Kenneth and Augustine Bill. She attended Ft. Sill Indian School and also St. Andrews School; she eventually earned her GED. Karen married Myron Jim and they had been married 30 years. When she was young she helped her mother clean elders’ homes; she enjoyed being a home maker. Karen also was a floor worker at the old Bingo hall and worked at Wildhorse gaming resort for nine years. She worked up to snack bar supervisor earning Employee of the Month several times. Karen enjoyed spending time gathering traditional foods and beading. She helped with concessions during Round-Up selling fry bread.

She also played bingo and spent time making crafts and cooking. Karen volunteered with transport for the youth activities and church at St. Andrews Mission. She is survived by her husband, Myron Jim, children Isaac Ciriano and Joel Minthorn of Pendleton, Oregon; grandchildren Nathan Ciriano, Alicia Ciriano and Nicky Ciriano, and two great grandchildren; her aunt Faydena Luke, her brothers and sister Gary Sampson, James Bill, Alan Bill, Theodore Bill, and Angene Bill, and numerous cousins from the Thompson, Bill and m families. She is preceded in death by her parents Kenneth and Augustine Bill, her brothers Leo Sampson, Mike Bill, Christopher Bill, and sisterin-law Annette Bill. Dressing Service was Feb. 10 at Burns Mortuary Pendleton. Holy Rosary was Feb. 10 at Agency Longhouse in Mission. Funeral Mass was Feb. 11 at St. Andrews Mission followed by Burial at Agency Cemetery. Burns Mortuary was in charge of arrangements. Sign the online guestbook at www. bursmortuary.com. Sharon Lee Vencil September 30, 1961 – February 6, 2020 Sharon Lee Vencil, daughter of Robert Vencil and Barbara Halfmoon, was born on Sept. 30, 1961 in Eugene, Oregon. Sharon passed away on Feb. 6, 2020 in Omaha, NE.

Sharon is preceded in death by her mother, Barbara; stepmother, Miriam Vencil; sisters, LeAnn Fritz and Terese Weber. She is survived and will be missed by her two loving sons, Jason Domonkos and Robert G.E. (Nicole) Vencil; father, Robert Vencil; and step-siblings, Matt, Mark, Bill, Bryan, Marlene, and Roberto. Services were Feb. 17 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Omaha.


Job Title: CASA Community Outreach Trainer Classification: Part-time (15 hrs/wk) Salary Range: $14.77 Hourly Location: Pendleton, OR Job Goal: The CASA Community Outreach Trainer will seek out and train new volunteers within Eastern Oregon rural communities. Specifically recruiting volunteers on the Eastside of Umatilla County to increase the number of CASA volunteers who will represent children in foster care and promote culturally diverse representation in the community. Essential Responsibilities: ◦RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE CASA VOLUNTEERS •Develop positive relationships with our local Tribal community, CTUIR. •Train and recruit new volunteers within Pendleton, MF, Athena, Pilot Rock and CTUIR. •Provide ongoing National CASA curriculum and related trainings for CASA’s. •Assist CASA Coordinators & CASA Manager from time to time as needed. •Support your CASA’s by attending trainings/events and recognizing their achievements. •Coordinate with the CASA Manager and CASA Coordinators to enhance the mentoring program. •Maintain good communication and working relationships with CASA staff to optimize overall CASA program goals and objectives. Qualifications: Minimum of HS Diploma but AA degree preferred. Experience and Skills Requirements: •Tribal connections with Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and multicultural experience preferred. •Ability to coordinate and/or conduct training sessions (preferred). •Experience with working alongside community agencies and members. •Engaging and professional with community members. •The ability to present information to small and large groups. •Teamwork - Balances team and individual responsibilities. •Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction. • Desire to work with low-income children and their families. •Adequate means of transportation. •Current CPR/FA cards.

For more information and to access the application, visit umchs.com/careers/ or call 1-800-559-5878.

Career Opportunities

1. Public Safety Director 2. Public Transit Bus Driver (part time) (Revised) 3. Archaeologist I/II (2 positions) (Revised) 4. Hydrologist 5. Electrical Inspector (1 position) (Revised) 6. Child/Youth Advocate (Re-Advertised) 7. Male Re-Education/ Intervention Facilitator (Revised) 8. Tribal Roads Construction & Maintenance Foreman (Re-Advertised) 8. Forester (Fuels) 9. Communications Officer - Dispatcher 10. Deputy Prosecutor 11. Technician I - Hatchery (Facility Watch Operator) (UMA) (Re-Advertised) 12. Environmental Toxicologist 13. Oral History/NAGPRA Technician I or II (1 position) (Re-Advertised) 14. Air Quality Technical Lead 15. Police Officers (2 positions) 16.Surveillance Operator (Re-advertised) 17. Entry-level Wildland Firefighter/Firefighter Type 2 (2 positions) 18. Education Coordinator 19. Forestry Technician - Fire 20. Forester (Fuels) (Revised) 21. Fisheries Habit Technician I - Umatilla Basin Fish Habitat Project

For more information visit: Cofederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Att: Office of Human Resources Online 46411 Timine Way Pendleton, OR 97801 http://ctuir.org

Career Opportunities


Current Job Openin February 20, 2

Use of Umatilla County application is MANDATORY. Anyone who qualif 1. On-Call Election Helpers (Seasonal) provided for in OAR 839-006-0435; please include proper certification (OAR 839 a disability who needs accommodation in any step of the applica 2. Deputy District Attorney (2reasonable positions) qualifications or to perform the essential functions of the job for which the appli 3. Inmate Program Technician Department. This job announcement is not intended to serve as a comprehensive 4. Law Clerk Blank applications and a complete job description ca www.umatillacounty.net or the Human Resou 5. Corrections Officer I 6. HR Specialist Applications will be accepted by hand delivery, mail, fax, 7. Office Assistant III - Civil Records # Position  Department 


On‐Call Election Helpers (Seasonal) 

Use of Umatilla County application is 19‐67 Deputy District Attorney (2)  MANDATORY 20‐02 

Inmate Program Technician 

20‐05 Law Clerk  job Blank applications and a complete description can 20.06  be obtainedCorrections Officer I  on our website www.umatillacounty.net or the 20.07  HR Specialist  Human Resources Offi ce, Room 108. 20.08  Office Asst III – Civil Records Clerk 

Applications will be accepted by hand delivery, mail, fax, or email to hr@umatillacounty.net

Pendleton Pioneer Chapel received three prestigious awards in 2009

 The Oregon Funeral Directors Association Award of Funeral Service Excellence  The Best Of Eastern Oregon Award as voted by the readers of the East Oregonian  Pendleton Chamber of Commerce 2009 Business of the Year

Our experienced family provides caring, compassionate care including:

Burial Services ~ Military Services Cremation ~ Monuments


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Elections District Attorney  Sheriff  District Attorney  Sheriff  HR  Civil Sheriff 

Jobs COLUMBIA RIVER INTER-TRIBAL FISH COMMISSION EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES Job Title: Director of Inter-Governmental Affairs Department: Office of Executive Director Classification: Full-time, regular, Exempt Salary Range: DOQ Location: Portland, OR Closing Date: March 13, 2020 Job Summary: Provide organizational guidance to develop and implement strategies involving federal policy and regional relations. Advise, analyze, monitor and engage key partners on matters regarding Congressional appropriations, legislation and initiatives within the Administration. Coordinate the review and preparation of appropriation requests, testimonies, and responses to Congressional and agency inquiries. Maintain collaborative relations and serve as point of contact for Congressional and agency staff. Cultivate and maintain a network among partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors to enhance communication and develop cooperative strategies that advance the Commission’s interests. Support and represent CRITFC on a variety of regional and national organizations and forums to pursue common objectives. Job Title: Executive Assistant to the Executive Director Department: Office of Executive Director Classification: Full-time, regular, Exempt Salary Range: $56,432-$73,356 Location: Portland, OR Closing Date: March 31, 2020 Job Summary: The Executive Assistant (EA) plays a vital role to support the leadership and management duties of the Executive Director (ED). The EA is often a primary point of contact for internal and external constituencies which requires diplomacy in maintaining positive relations. The EA fulfills a variety of administrative, communication and logistical tasks such as managing calendars; coordinating materials requiring the ED’s attention; composing or reviewing correspondences; completing authorization and expense reports; arranging travel, itineraries and agendas. The EA supervises other members of Office of the ED’s (OED) administrative team and assures coordination and collaboration with the administrative staff in other departments. The position requires confidentiality when encountering sensitive issues involving negotiations, employee or legal matters. Job Title: Computational Hydrologist/Climate Scientist Department: Watershed Classification: Full-time, regular, Exempt Salary Range: $71,312-$84,223 Location: Portland, OR Closing Date: March 31, 2020 Job Summary: The Columbia River InterTribal Fish Commission’s (CRITFC) Watershed Department is seeking a full-time Computational Hydrologist/Climate Scientist to support CRITFC and its member tribes in development, coordination and analyses of climate change data, hydrological data, biological analyses and decision frameworks. The candidate must have expertise in database development, computer programming, hydrological modeling and in-depth knowledge of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) operating procedures and protocols. This position will help guide CRITFC and its member tribes toward regional and specific water management planning under various climate change scenarios. This includes promotion of ecosystem function, utilizing a developed data base platform of regulated, modified flows adjusted by updated climate change scenarios. Specific duties of this positiion include, but

March 2020


are not limited to: • Provide hydrological and climate change modeling, technical analyses and assessments to support CRITFC ecological objectives for the protection and recovery of salmon, lamprey and sturgeon and other native fish populations in the Columbia River Basin. Operate and advance existing hydro• regulation models, such as the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Hydrologic Simulation (HYDSIM) model, within the CRITFC Information System (CIS) platform through appropriate programing. • Incorporate new modified flows and volume forecasts and other inputs from the Corps of Engineers, BPA, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and other entities. These elements will be used to create and evaluate alternative river operational scenarios affected by climate change projections. Conduct modeling using appropriate • scientific methods, in collaboration with other regional entities, to estimate changes and improve management of mainstem Columbia River operations to benefit tribal trust resources. Job Title: Fisheries Technician III (Lamprey Project) (2 positions) Classification: Temporary, full-time Salary Range: $41,893 DOQ (Comparable to GS 7) Location: Portland, OR Closing Date: March 31, 2020 Job Summary: The Columbia River InterTribal Fish Commission assists four tribes in the co-management of their treaty rights within the Columbia River Basin. The position offered is associated with the Commission’s Fish Management Department, within the ‘Implement Tribal Pacific Lamprey Restoration Plan’ project. The Lamprey project is engaged in several activities including but not limited to regional coordination on matters related to lamprey restoration and conservation, efforts to improve lamprey passage at Columbia River mainstem dams, parentage based tagging, genetics analysis, collections of adult lamprey for translocation, and conducting research, monitoring and evaluation projects with the CRITFC member tribes. This position will work primarily within the Lamprey project conducting trapping of Pacific Lamprey at mainstem dams in support of the member tribe’s translocation programs. The Fishery Technician will be responsible for accurately collecting and recording data in the field and transferring data to electronic format in the office. This position requires daily travel from the Portland duty station to the mainstem dam field sites, including early mornings and weekends. Additional travel may be required outside of the Portland area in support of research, monitoring, and evaluation projects.


Under the authority of Section 7 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, CRITFC shall give preference in employment matters to qualified enrolled members of the four CRITFC member tribes, then to qualified enrolled members of other federally recognized tribes. If CRITFC is unable to fill openings with such qualified tribal members, other qualified applicants will be considered. Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered. Send a complete application materials include a cover letter, CV/resume, completed job application with signature, electronic or typed in signature is accepted (available on our website at www.critfc.org “employment opportunities” on the bottom left corner or by calling 503.238.0667, a copy of relevant certifications and a list of at least three professional references. Submit to: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Attn: Human Resources 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 1200 Portland, Oregon 97232 Email: hr@critfc.org Fax: 503.235.4228 To view more career opportunities or to learn more about Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, please visit https://www.critfc.org/ critfc-employment-opportunities/.

Board of Trustees

General Council

Chair Kathryn Brigham

Chair Lindsey X. Watchman

Vice Chair Jeremy Wolf

Vice Chair Michael Ray Johnson

Treasurer Sandra Sampson

Secretary Shawna Gavin

Secretary Sally Kosey

Interpreter Thomas Morning Owl

At-large BOT Members: Jill-Marie Gavin General Council contact Info Office: 541-429-7378 Armand Minthorn Email: GeneralCouncil@ctuir.org Boots Pond Meeting updates and information on: www.ctuir.org/government/general-council Corinne Sams Executive Director :

Ted Wright, Ph.D.

General Council Meeting Nixyaawii Governance Center, 2 p.m. - March 19 Draft agenda: Financial Report (4th Quarter) 2020 Flood Report Legislative Coordinator Report

CTUIR Express Phone Directory

Tribal Court 541-276-2046

Human Resources 541-429-7180

Department of Children and Family Services 541-429-7300

Science & Engineering/Air Quality Burnline 541-429-7080

Enrollment Office 541-429-7035

Senior Center 541-240-8700

Finance Office 541-429-7150

TERF 541-276-4040

Finance – Credit Program 541-429-7155

Confederated Umatilla Journal 541-429-7399

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Briefly BMCC Pow Wow March 12 PENDLETON – The annual BMCC Pow Wow will take place March 12 at Blue Mountain Community College in the gym. The event kicks off the outdoor pow wow season. Grand entry begins at 6 p.m. It is free to attend and open to everyone. It will take place in the MAC Activity Center and will be emceed by CTUIR tribal member Fred Hill Sr. The first 20 singers will receive a $20 Arrowhead Gift Card, and the event will feature trial dance contests for tiny tots, junior boys, junior girls, 13 and over men, and 13 and over women. All categories will be combined. For more information, contact Annie Smith at 541-278-5935 or asmith@bluecc. edu.

ArtWORKz Junior Art Show set for Tamastslikt MISSION – Artwork from regional youth is now on display at Tamáskslikt Cultural Institute. Work from the annual youth art show and competition, ArtWORKz 2020, features the artistic endeavors from youth throughout the region who are 19 and younger. It will remain on display through April 4. A special Artists Reception will take place March 14 where awards for grand prizes, awards of excellence, awards of merit, honorable mentions, and best emerging artist will be handed out. The reception is free and open to the public, and it starts at 1 p.m. New this year, the Cayuse Grand Champion award will include a $500 gift certificate for art materials to be given to the winner’s school or art program of their choice.

The children attending the Valentine’s Gathering, which took place on Wednesday, the normal evening for Culture Night, gathered around the big drum to sing the flag song with drummers/singers, from left to right, Boots Pond (red vest), Wilbur Oatman, Kelsey Burns (purple shirt), Fred Hill, Chester Tias (orange shirt), and John Watchman.

Valentine’s Gathering

Denise Morningowl, right, is followed by brother and sister Hanah and Truman Brown.

Yellowhawk cooking class planned March 18 MISSION – The madness of March will makes it way into the Yellowhawk Laxsimwit Kitchen on March 18 from 4:30-6 p.m. for the “March Family Cooking: Pizza Madness.” It is part of Yellowhawk’s healthy cooking series. “Bring your whole family to learn new recipes and cooking techniques together. We will have fun preparing and tasting the meal. Reserve your spot by Friday, March 13.” For more information or to reserve a spot, call 541-966-9830.

Smooth jazz at Wildhorse Plateau set for March 27 MISSION – The sounds of smooth jazz will fill the Plateau restaurant at Wildhorse Resort & Casino March 27 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Gary Hemenway and Clairece Rosati will play while diners can choose from an “exquisite menu.” To reserve a table, call 541-966-1610. will extend their hours beginning in March.


Miles Minthorn leads boys around the Longhouse floor during a group dance during the Valentine’s Gathering Feb. 14.

Nizhoni Toldeo is followed by Addison Kosey during dancing at the Valentine’s Gathering Feb. 14 at the Mission Longhouse.

Don’t forget the BAAD Tournament during Spring Vacation March 24-25 for the little guys and March 27-28 for the big guys. Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

CUJ News New committee sheds light on importance of Census By Casey Brown of the CUJ The U.S. Constitution requires the U.S. Government to count every person once every ten years. The decennial count is known as the U.S. Census, and everyone is required to respond. The 2020 Census starts on April 1 and can be completed in person, over the phone, or online. This year is the first time it can be filled out online. Each household will receive a notice in the mail to complete the Census, and they are encouraged to respond as soon as possible. By May, Census takers will start visiting household that have not yet completed the Census. On the Umatilla Indian Reservation, a Tribal Complete Count Committee (TCCC) was formed by the enrollment office of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). The goal is to ensure that all CTUIR and area tribal members and descendants are correctly counted as American Indian/Alaska Native. “American Indians/Alaska Natives (AIAN) need to be counted completely as well as consistently,” said Elfrina Lubrin, enrollment administrative office manager. It is important for Indians to be counted as American Indian/Alaska native because tribal nations do not share enrollment numbers with the government, so the Census is the main way that the government knows how many Indians there are, according to Census material. The count includes descendants, as the race question is self-identifying. “Your membership is a matter of selfidentification, no proof is required; no one will ask you to show a Tribal ID of Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB),” according to then enrollment department. Lubrin went on to say, “In regards to the race question, it has been determined that if you mark the AIAN box for race, you will need to enter ‘Umatilla Tribe’ as your Tribe. This will insure that our Tribe gets counted as a whole. This is opposed to answering, Cayuse, Walla Walla, Umatilla, or CTUIR.” A major component of the Census is how billions of dollars in appropriations and funding is divided between

federal departments, states, counties, cities, and tribal nations. According to the TCCC, the stakes are high for a complete count in Indian Country. They estimate that for every missed tribal member it will cost tribes $3,000 per person, per year. In order for Indians to be properly counted, those filling out the Census should follow a few simple guidelines from CTUIR’s TCCC. First, an Indian adult should be listed as head of household, so the household

is counted as an Indian household. Second, “Person 1” (the head of household) will mark only American Indian/Alaska Native as their race. Third, Person 1 will list their “enrolled or principal tribe,” as exactly “Umatilla Tribe.” Responses are safe because they are “confidential and protected by law. Personal information is never shared with any other government agencies or law enforcement, including federal, local, and tribal authorities,” according to Census materials.

The Census is still recruiting for several jobs in Umatilla County. As of Feb. 28, Umatilla County had only achieved 66.7% of their hiring goal. The jobs are part-time with flexible hours. Recruiters have stated that the jobs are ideal for students, retired persons, and people look for a flexible second job, and more. To apply for one of several jobs available, visit www.2020census.gov/jobs. For more information, contact CTUIR enrollment at 541-429-1971 or enrollment@ctuir.org.

International Women’s Day March 8 March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal


46314 Timine Way Pendleton, Oregon 9 541- 966-9830 www.yellowhawk.org


Tribal Health Ce is now hiring. For more information visit yellowhawk.org/careers or contact Lorasa Joseph - HR Staff Recruiter 541-240-8713 or lorasajoseph@yellowhawk.org

Nixyaawii Senior Ce

New Phone Number - 541-240 12A

Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020






0-8700 March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Anniversary fireworks will light Wildhorse’s sky March 14 MISSION – Fireworks will light the April. Every spin is a win and each week sky March 14 to celebrate Wildhorse there is $2,500 up for grabs. Resort & Casinos silver anniversary. For bingo lovers, there will be a paper Wildhorse promises “the biggest and best only special on March 28. yet” for their 25th anniversary with speAt the gift shop, Club Wild card holdcial promotion going on inside the casino. ers can purchase specially designed logo The light show is one of several events items with their Club Wild points. Club that will take Wild is a free replace throughout wards program the month. that Wildhorse Fireworks guests can sign start at 8 p.m., up for in the and hot chocoPlayer’s Club late will be at the front of for sale from the building to Nixyáawii Comearn points and munity School. become eligible Music to for promotions, match the show discounts, and will air on more. KCUW 104.3 The buffet is FM, the reservaoffering a spetion radio stacial to double tion airing on the up on value. homelands of the For players Umatilla, Caywho redeem $5 use, and Walla from their Club Walla peoples. Wild points will Wildhorse advisreceive a $10 es arriving early voucher for the CUJ File Photo, 2019/Dallas Dick to secure a spot. buffet breakfast. Some other Players can anniversary events are slots, table games, earn a free pack of soda and a $50 Hamand bingo specials, deals at the gift shop, ley’s gift card when they redeem eligible food specials, and more. receipts at Club Wild. Must be 21 years On the slot floor, there will be the old to redeem. This special starts on $250,000 Silver SPINsation where win- March 9 and will continue while supners spin a huge slot machine on Fridays, plies last. Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the The Players Sports Bar will offer sigmonth. On the grand prize days, March nature anniversary cocktails. 29 and May 3, three winners can win up For more information about anniverto $2,500. sary events, visit www.wildhorsecasino. In the table games pit, players can spin com or call 800-654-9453. to win every Thursday in March and


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

New Women’s Wellbriety Group walking March 13 to promote healthy living By the CUJ MISSION – The Niixwi Women’s Wellbriety group on the Umatilla Indian Reservation will join more than a dozen similar organizations from other reservations in the Northwest walking in solidarity with a Wellpinit High School senior from Spokane who is taking a stand against drug abuse. Steven Ford Jr. is organizing a drugprevention walk in his community and has invited Tribes throughout the Northwest to join him March 13. “Destroy the Drug, Not our People” is the logo for a banner, T-shirts and promotional materials for the walk, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on that Friday. On the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the walk will start at the Longhouse near the July Grounds in Mission. Two speakers are scheduled in the first hour. Art McConville, a U.S. Marine veteran who is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), and community member Dawn Swan will make remarks to start the event. McConville has been sober for 44 years; Swan is closing in on six years. The walk, with a Tribal Police escort from Officer Dave Williams, will start and end at the Longhouse. Lunch at the Longhouse is planned from 12-1 p.m. A prayer and song will be offered by Joshua Spencer. Students from Nixyaawii Community School have been invited to participate in the walk. The Niixwi (Do good, Do well, Be at Peace) Pamaqa?anwilaaman Tilaakima (Women In Wellbriety) Group grew out of a Yellowhawk Wellbriety Group started a few years ago by Bill Burke and atway Doug Minthorn, according to the group’s chair, Maurice Bronson, a former client at Yellowhawk’s Behavioral Health Program. The Niixwi group formed last fall shortly after Vickey Star, a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor at Yellowhawk, coordinated a September trip for several women to attend “HEALING THE SPIRIT: A Retreat for Women and Children” in Warm Springs. Star was asked to advocate for the women’s wellbriety group because she had secured funding for the Warm Springs trip through a Tribal Opioid Response grant. Star, who is assisting the women’s group with the March 13 Prevention Walk, is planning to retire in May after a dozen years at Yellowhawk, but wants to continue working in the community as a volunteer. “I have 43 years of sobriety which I owe to the recovery community’s help and support,” Star said in an email. “For this I am grateful and am welcoming the chance to assist the new group to stabilize and bring a variety of recovery choices.” Bronson said planning for the revived wellbriety effort began in earnest last

March 2020

Tribal speaker to share her story of drug addiction and recovery One of the speakers for the March 13 Drug Prevention Walk is Dawn Swan, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. In April Swan will celebrate her sixth year of sobriety. And it hasn’t been easy. Swan will talk about being in “long-term recovery” from heroine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and alcohol. Swan grew up in the “old projects” in Mission but went to Portland in 2008 to “check myself into” the NARA residential treatment. She was sober for more than four years but relapsed. She overdosed and lost her daughter. She went to the hospital and then she went to jail. She received help from Peggy Bronson and Yellowhawk’s Alcohol & Drug Program and returned to NARA as an out-patient. “It took me two years to get my daughter back through tribal courts,” Swan said. She worked in Portland as a dish washer, flagger, recovery mentor and dental assistant. Now she’s a certified flagger, a peer-support specialist, a certified recovery mentor and a certified dental assistant. She moved back to the Reservation in December of last year with the intention of becoming involved with “positive change within this community to promote a healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs, meaning alcohol too.” Said Swan, “I am proof that people can recover from the hopelessness and the vicious cycle of addition. It not only hurts the individual, but hurts many other people as well. We are all connected.” Swan is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. at the Longhouse.

November at the Longhouse. The group now meets on Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. at the Senior Center, 51 Umatilla Loop, in Mission. A business meeting takes place at 4 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. Other members of the Niixwi Women’s Wellbriety Group include Secretary Dawn Swan, Treasurer Marie Crawford, plus Montia Raboin, Athena Antelope and Suevena Higheagle.

Confederated Umatilla Journal


KCUW Radio Open House March 21 MISSION – KCUW Radio will open their doors for their annual Open House and DJ Training on Saturday, March 21 from 1-6 p.m. Light refreshments and more will be served. The public radio station is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and broadcasts on the homelands of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla peoples.


Confederated Umatilla Journal

The station can be found on the radio at 104.3 FM, online on their website at www.kcuwradio.org, or on SoundCloud at kcuwradio. KCUW studios are located on the Umatilla Indian Reservation at the Public Safety Building, 46400 Timine Way. For more information, please call 541-429-7006 or email kcuwradio@ ctuir.org.

March 2020

ICWA Continued from page 3A

loving, permanent homes that are connected to family and culture.” The Republican plan seems to be to run down the clock on the legislative session so the cap-and-trade bill, along with all other pending bills, will not come to a vote. BOT member at large Corinne Sams travelled to Salem to testify on the bill when it was in House Judiciary Committee and she testified by phone from her office in the Nixyaawii Governance Center to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill moved through the necessary committees due to bipartisan and unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats. First, the bill started in the House Judiciary Committee where it passed unanimously and was referred to the floor for a vote by all House members. It passed unanimously there as well. Next, it moved to the Senate, where is passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Then trouble arose when Republicans

CASA hiring part-time Outreach Trainer PENDLETON – Umatilla-Morrow County Head Start (UMCHS) is hiring a part-time CASA Community Outreach Trainer. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and they are people who “represent children in foster care and promote culturally diverse representation in the community.” One of their essential responsibilities will be to “develop positive relationships with our local Tribal community, CTUIR,” and another is to “train and recruit new volunteers within Pendleton, Milton-Freewater, Athena, Pilot Rock, and CTUIR.” Some details about the position can be found in the Almanac on Page 8A. For more information, the job description can be found online at https://bit. ly/2TC8EXw or UMCHS can be reached at 541-564-6878 or 800-559-5878.

We’re pleased to present the ... deployed a stalling tactic. The drafting of the bill was not a simple process. Brent Leonhard, attorney in the CTUIR Office of Legal Counsel, reviewed countless drafts that were modified over the course of eight months. The final bill was 53 pages long. In order to insure that the language was accurate and there was buy-in from the state, the courts and the Tribes, a workgroup was formed to develop the language. That workgroup included Representative Tawna Sanchez, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services, the Oregon Judicial Department, invited legislators from both sides of the aisle, attorneys from Oregon’s federally recognized tribes, Legislative Counsel, national ICWA experts and Counsel from Judiciary Committees. It remains to be seen what will happen to the pending bills. With only three days remaining (as of press time) in the session, the fate of Oregon’s ICWA bill and many other pieces of legislation and state budgets are in Republican hands.

Achievers of the Month

Nixyaawii Golden Eagles - Old Oregon League Champions Good Luck at the Class 1A State Tournament in Baker City March 5-8

DID YOU KNOW? The Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla were confederated under the Treaty of 1855, yet each maintains a distinct heritage and unique dialect. Throughout history, several CTUIR dialects have been spoken. Today, speakers of all levels speak Umatilla and Walla Walla. The Umatilla language is the southern Sahaptin dialect and the Walla Walla is the northeast dialect of Sahaptin. Weyíiletpuu is a dialect of the Nez Perce language as used by the Cayuse people. A distinctive dialect of the Cayuse people has not been used since the 1940’s and is designated as extinct. Gathered from the CTUIR website ctuir.org

Who you got in March Madness?

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal


MMIW Task Force announces Tribal consultation and listening sessions WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Presidential Task force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives announced a series of field consultations and listening sessions to occur across the United States in the coming months. American Indians and Alaska Natives experience disproportionately high rates of violence. President Trump has called the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans “sobering and heartbreaking.” The task force has been empowered to review Indian Country cold cases, to strengthen law enforcement protocols, and work with tribes to improve investigations, information sharing and a more seamless response to missing persons investigations. Marcia Good of the Department of Justice serves as the Executive Director of the task force. The task force will present a progress report to the President by Nov. 26, 2020, and a final report detailing its activities and accomplishments by Nov. 26, 2021.

Brown on green

Part of a bigger herd of Rocky Mountain elk graze on upcoming wheat in a field south of the Umatilla River in February. Winter hasn’t been too tough on big game this year and with March already here the outlook for more cold gets less and less. CUJ photo/Phinney

DRUG PREVENTION WALK Friday, March 13 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Mission Longhouse Umatilla Indian Reservaton

Event Schedule 9-10 a.m. Wellbriety Speakers Art McConville - 44 years sober Dawn Swan - 5 years sober 10 a.m. Walk starts and ends at Mission Longhouse with Tribal Police escort Noon-1 p.m. Lunch at Longhouse

Interested in advertising in the CUJ?

Email us at cuj@ctuir.org or call 541-429-7394. We’re also at facebook.com/thecuj 18A

Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Tribal youth will ‘paint the town teal’ in April By Casey Brown of the CUJ MISSION – Enola Dick is on call 24/7/366. She answers calls, day and night, from sexual assault and domestic violence victims. But that’s not all she does. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Enola is going to paint to the town teal – with a little help from tribal youth. Students from the Nixyaawii Student Youth Leadership Against Violence group will paint windows throughout Mission teal, the color of Sexual Assault Awareness. She also has a full month of activities scheduled that include a Sexual Assault Awareness Walk on April 16 and Wear Denim Day on April 29. She says that the aim of the sexual assault awareness movement that is much more than awareness. “The ultimate goal is prevention.” The theme for 2020’s SAAM is “I Ask,” and the focus is on consent. “The theme is to empower and put consent into practice,” Enola said. More than permission, consent is about accepting any answer: “When you ask, don’t get mad at a “no” answer. That’s part of consent,” Enola said. She acknowledges that asking for consent can be awkward for people of all ages, so she advises to ask before the “heat of the moment,” discuss boundaries and comfort levels as part of a healthy relationship, and practice, practice, practice. “The more you practice consent, the better you get at it,” she said. Everyone has the right to say no, including boys and men. Enola pointed out that everyone has boundaries and different comfort levels, and it is okay and healthy for them to express their limitations by saying no. “Guys can also say no too,” she said. “What it all comes down to is respect your partner’s wishes.” Enola also explained when someone cannot give consent, such as when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, incapacitated, and people with certain cognitive disabilities. “Sexual assault isn’t just rape,” Enola said. “It’s

Enola Dick, Family Violence Services advocate for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, in last year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Walk. This year’s walk is scheduled for April 16 and is part of a month of awareness activities.

consent for kissing, hugging, touching, hand holding.” For people who have been sexually assaulted, they have resources available to them, including reaching out to Enola or going to the Family Violence Services office in the Nixyaawii Governance Center, 46411 Timine Way. Even though rape is the most underreported crime, according to Enola she has still seen seven clients effected by sexual assault and/or domestic violence in

the past year. The thing she notices most about the people she works with is their ability to survive traumatic events. “These women are resilient and we want to talk about that too,” she said. Many women and men who deal with sexual assault or domestic violence do not report for a few reasons, Enola said. She ‘A lot of sexual listed fear of not being assault victims believed by authorities, fear they will be blamed know their (victim blaming), fear of perpetrator. humiliation, shame, or seeing the perpetrator They could in court, among other be a family factors. Victims also may not member, want to speak up because of who the perpetrator is. intimate “A lot of sexual as- partner, sault victims know their perpetrator. They could community be a family member, intimember.’ mate partner, community - Enola Dick member,” Enola said. Throughout the month of April, Enola and the Youth Leadership Against Violence students will get the word out on consent, resources, and more. They will be painting jeans and t-shirts that will be displayed throughout the community. On April 1, they will have a display table at the Nixyaawii Governance Center from 1-3:30 p.m. On April 6, they will be at Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, 46314 Timine Way, from 1-3:30 p.m. On April 9, they will be at Nixyaawii Community School. Everyone is encouraged to wear teal on April 7 and participated in the Sexual Assault Awareness Walk on April 16. People will being meeting at the Senior Center, 51 Umatilla Loop, at 11:30 a.m. and the walk beings at noon. For more information, contact Family Violence Services at 888-809-8027 or Enola Dick at 541-240-4771.

Strangulation: unseen, under-reported, under-acknowledged It is hard to see strangulation, and it is a topic that is underreported and under-acknowledged. In fact, only half of victims have visible injuries, according to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention (TISP). “Oftentimes, even in fatal cases, there are no external signs of injury.” Many factors influence why this topic isn’t talked about or understood as widely as it should be, according to Enola Dick, advocate in the Family Violence Services for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). “Strangulation is a brain injury because of the lack of oxygen to the brain,” she said. “It is attempted homicide.” “Loss of consciousness can occur within

March 2020

5-10 seconds. Death within minutes,” according to TISP. Many people don’t think of it that way, however. “Strangulation includes a hand over someone’s mouth to keep them quiet, chocking, putting pressure on their chest or torso, and more,” Enola said. Enola expressed that the victims that she works with don’t even understand the severity of what they’ve been through. “I will hear them say, ‘he chocked me out,” she said. “I’ll ask them, ‘you passed out? He choked you until you passed out. They will say yes like it is not big deal.” To Enola and those who know the severity of strangulation, it is a big deal, so she’s spreading awareness on strangula-

tion and other factors of sexual assault and domestic violence during the month of April. “1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence in the lifetime. Of women at high risk, up to 68% will experience near-fatal strangulation by their partner,” according to TISP. In fact, they say that 70% of strangled women believed they were going to die. Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was first observed nationally in 2001 and takes place every April. A Sexual Assault Awareness Walk will take place on the Umatilla Indian Reservation on April 16. For more information on local events taking place throughout the month, see Page 7B.

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Young son inspires Wus Gone to hold steady With only one kidney, transplant is vital for Tribal man on dialysis By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


us Gone was born with one kidney. Now he needs a transplant so he can see his sixth-grade son, Harley, graduate from high school. Two years ago, his poor eating habits – “whatever was greasy, sweet or salty” – caught up to him. His kidney has virtually shut down. He sits for 12 hours a week in a chair as his blood is filtered and cleaned through a dialysis machine. “All I ate was fast foods. I never ate vegetables. It was always burgers, Mexican and Chinese. And I didn’t have any portion control. I’d eat until I couldn’t eat anymore,” Gone said. He was up to 285 pounds when, at the age of 36, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He slimmed down to 168 and celebrated with a bacon ‘I’m tired and cheeseburger that triggered the return to his old unhave to push habits and, six years myself. I need healthy later, Type 1 diabetes. At the age of 42, obese, to do it for out of breath, and nearly me. I’m trying uncontrollably anxious, Gone was rushed to the to take care hospital. He needed morof myself, phine to calm down. “It felt like the bed was get stronger. standing up and I was going to slide right down. I hope to They told me to relax but watch my son if I did I thought I’d slide right off the bed. My sugars graduate. I had blown off the charts. have seven They thought I was going to go into a diabetic coma,” more years Gone said. until he He knew what that looked like. He’d seen his graduates.’ brother in a diabetic coma for two weeks at Oregon Health Science University. But his brother’s diabetes was controlled. “He got two kidneys. He lucked out,” Gone said.


one learned he had only one kidney when he was 9 years old. His fishing family was living on the Columbia River near Lyle, Washington. He’s not sure how, but he developed a kidney infection that nearly killed him. His fever was so high that doctors at the hospital in White Salmon put him in a tub of ice to cool his body temperature. The ice brought the fever down, but he still needed a procedure at a Portland hospital. He said physicians had to “burn out” the infected tissue in his kidney. That’s when doctors told his mother he had been


Wus Gone sits in a chair at the DaVita Dialysis Center on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Gone spends four hours, three days a week, on a machine that does the work his kidney is supposed to do. He was born with one kidney and it no longer functions. Now he’s waiting for a kidney transplant. CUJ photo/Phinney

born with a single kidney. After the procedure even his one kidney wasn’t fully intact. “I think I put it out of my mind and tried to live a normal life,” Gone said. “I never had a problem until this Type 1, uncontrollable diabetes.”


n enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Gone tries to live a normal life. He is a custodian at Nixyaawii Community School (NCS). He starts work about 5 a.m. and gets off at 1:30 p.m., which frees his afternoons for dialysis. On days when he cleans the gym floors and bleachers, he’ll put in more than 17,000 steps.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

“I average at least 9,000 steps every morning. I like it and I appreciate my job,” said Gone, who has trimmed to down to 208. “It keeps me motivated; it’s exercise basically and I feel good afterward.” But he also spends four hours, three times a week, in a chair at Davita Dialysis Center on a machine that does the work his kidney is supposed to do. The kidney, a bean-shaped organ that lies just below your rib cage, removes waste and fluid from your body. They filter your blood, sending toxins to your bladder, which your body later eliminates during urination. The kidneys level your blood pressure and ensure that you have the right amount of minerals, like potassium and sodium (salt) in your blood. Fi-

March 2020

Wus Gone


nally, they make the hormone that causes your body to create red blood cells. When the kidneys can’t do their job, the body becomes overloaded with toxins. This can lead to kidney failure, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

ow it’s a waiting game. “I imagine there’s a lot of people ahead of me,” Gone said. “I’ve been on the waiting list two years now. The doctor told me I could get a kidney within four years. He said this year maybe. I don’t know if he’s trying to build my hopes up. All I can do is take care of myself and be ready if they call.” Gone said he’s heard a lot of stories about people who have received kidney transplants that are living full lives so he’s optimistic. “It can happen and hopefully it happens for me,” he said. “I’m hoping and praying I’ll be able to run down the road. I see people running and I wish I could run, but I don’t think I could make it out of the parking lot.” A new kidney might give him a second chance at some of the things he’s missing right now. He wasn’t able to go to watch the Nixyaawii boys win the Old Oregon League title in Baker City in February. “I was sitting at dialysis when Fred (Hill) called. He was gassing up at Arrowhead and said they were heading over. I told him I wouldn’t get off for another hour. He said, ‘Well, see you later.’ That sucks. I’m always at districts. I scream around for the girls and boys. I sing my butt off for them but I couldn’t make it. I missed out on that.”


hen a person with kidney disease becomes so very severe and crosses a point where there’s not enough function to maintain the body, they need either dialysis or a transplant becomes necessary. Doctors call it “end-stage kidney disease” when the organs are functioning below ‘I dump the 10 percent of their normal garbage cans function. Gone’s kidney functions at 3-4 percent. at work and “I didn’t want to hear see all these ‘dialysis’,” he said. But two years ago on the McDonald’s Monday after the Pendleton and Wendy’s Round-Up, at the age of 48, had his first dialysis and DQ cups Gone treatment at Davita. “I thought it was the and I look at beginning of the end. But at these kids the end of my first treatment who are going there was a patient who was a tribal member and he said, to regret it ‘Hi Wus.’ He said he’d been when they get on dialysis for seven years and he looked fine. I didn’t older.’ know he was a dialysis patient and I thought maybe this isn’t the end.” Gone receives Hemodialysis, which requires a machine and a filter called a hemodialyzer. The machine works as an artificial kidney. Hemodialysis requires a “fistula,” which is a surgically created passage between an artery and a vein. Gone’s fistula is on his left arm. It looks like two strands of bruised rope twisted together on the inside of his forearm. Once Gone is connected to the dialysis machine the blood leaves the patient’s body via one needle, which he said was “like a finishing nail”, and enters the machine. It is then cleaned and it reenters the patient’s body via a second needle. The process lasts approximately 3-6 hours. “You can tell if the tech knows what they’re doing,” Gone said. “If they stretch the skin and stick the needle in, it slides in and you don’t feel it. You become numb when you do it three times a week after a year and a half.”


one, started taking better care of himself and doctors put him on a transplant waiting list. He went to Spokane and Tri-Cities for a battery of tests. Even though he was on dialysis, doctors were worried that he might not be able to control his diabetes after the transplant. A couple of months into the dialysis Gone was still in rough shape. He was retaining fluid. “My shoes were tight, my baggy clothes were tight, but after a while on dialysis I was managing my intake of food and fluids and feeling stronger.” He dropped his hemoglobin A1C from 12 to 7.6 and is trying to drop it further to 6.5. “And I’ve been making healthy choices food wise,” Gone said. “I don’t drink pop or coffee. Just unsweetened tea and water. Once in a while fruit juice, but a ton of water.” His dialysis is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He gets to drink 32 ounces of fluid on the days in between but that’s not much, he said, when you have to count the liquid from a Popsicle or an apple. “Dang. I could drink that in one drink. It’s really hard to not drink. You’re thirsty all the time. I thought what about sugarless hard candy and I was popping those all the time. That helped but when they say sugarless there’s still sweetener.”

March 2020


Wus Gone takes pride in the Eagles Nest gym floor at Nixyaawii Community School where he puts in as many as 17,000 steps in a day. But with one kidney and Type 1 diabetes, he’s not that healthy. CUJ photo/Phinney

Now he eats fist-sized portions of mostly fish, chicken and pork, vegetables and white rice. If he eats potatoes he boils them twice. “No salt. Mexican and Chinese are out of the question. Fruit and vegetables are good, but minimal on fruits. For the longest time I couldn’t eat bananas because they’re high in potassium.” On a typical day, his diet may consist of a little bowl of mush or an egg sandwich on low-carbohydrate bread from the kitchen at Nixyaawii Community School. Lunch might be a roast beef sandwich on low-carb bread. During dialysis, because the machine is cleaning his blood, he’s likely to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At home, his partner, DD, might make pork chops, vegetables and rice. He mostly drinks water. Speaking of DD, she’s been a big help with his eating habits, Gone said. “She’s really helped me with my nutrition. She knows what I can and what I can’t eat, what I should and what I shouldn’t eat. I come home so exhausted and she has dinner. I could lay down and close my eyes and be out for the night so I’m so glad she’s there. I’m so fortunate that she’s there.”


one, the father of three sons (Harley, 11, Theodore, 28, and J.D., 32) is around NCS students all day long. He’s a quiet guy who doesn’t make a lot of ruckus unless he’s singing around the big drum. But he’s thinking more and more about ways to let young people know what they’re in for if they don’t change their poor lifestyle choices. “I dump the garbage cans at work and see all these McDonald’s and Wendy’s and DQ cups and I look at these kids who are going to regret it when they get older,” Gone said. “I tell my boys they better start eating healthy or they’ll be sitting where I’m at.” Gone said he’s tried to tell students what diabetes can do to their kidneys and liver but they are “oblivious.” “I was the same way. I was active. But then I started sitting around and eating wrong and when you reach a certain age, boom it hits. It really hits you,” he said. “I try to talk to them. I wish kids would look down the road and start now rather than wait until it happens.”

Confederated Umatilla Journal

one said he’s grateful for his employment and he’s appreciated the Tribes’ willingness to allow him to deal with his health issues. “I’ve had to take time off for testing in Tri-Cities and Spokane and Portland when I first found out I was eligible for a transplant and the Tribe has been understanding,” he said. He also is thankful for the people at DaVita. “They rock. Those guys have kept me alive,” he said. “They’ve helped me make it this far. I’m so fortunate to have them right up the hill. They were going to send me to Hermiston, but they heard I was working and wanted to keep working and they found me a spot.” Sometimes Gone has enough energy to get to town, but most of the time he’s dragging himself in the door.


one gets up early every morning and takes pride in a shiny gym floor at Nixyaawii. After the little kids leave their bare footprints during the day and the basketball teams leave their Nike scuff marks after school he polishes the hardwood again. The work satisfies him. The steps he takes each day and the diet he’s on keep him as healthy as he can be. He’s motivated to stay strong and his inspiration is Harley. “Days like this morning,” he said, “I’m tired and have to push myself. I need to do it for me. I’m trying to take care of myself, get stronger. I hope to watch my son graduate. I have seven more years until he graduates. “Harley is my main motivation,” Gone said. “When I get up at 4, I’m at work at 5, work until 1:30, up there (Davita) for four hours of treatment and I’m so tired and want to go home … I walk in and see him, I see him, and it makes it all worthwhile.”

If you want to donate a kidney... Wus Gone’s blood type is A positive. Persons interested in becoming a living kidney donor should first take a health history questionaire at sacredheartlivingdonor.org.

For more information contact kidneydonor@providence.org.


Riders take advantage of extended bus route hours in Hermiston

Congratulations to the Nixyaawii Community School Golden Eagles! Wishing you good luck in the defense of your state title at the Class 1A State Basketball Championships in Baker City March 5-8.


HERMISTON, Oregon — Ridership on the Hermiston Area Regional Transit (HART) increased by about 1,120 passengers in 2019, with 1,442 riding during the recently extended morning and evening hours. In total, 5,897 riders used the bus service in 2019. HART is a managed by Kayak Public Transit and offers no-fare rides to 21 stops in Hermiston on weekdays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. In a response to public requests, two hours were added in both the mornings and evenings at the beginning of 2019. Daytime hours saw a decrease of about 300 total riders but remained the most popular travel times, with each hour averaging about 1,485 passengers over the course of the year. The expanded hours each averaged about 721 riders. “We’re happy to see people taking advantage of the early morning and evening hours, and expect to see that increase as people get used to the expanded op-

Confederated Umatilla Journal

tions,” said Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan. “We want to be attuned to the public’s needs and make sure everyone can get where they need to be, whether that’s the grocery story, a job, or a medical appointment.” Walmart and the Hermiston Plaza remain the two most popular stops, with about 1,400 riders loading or unloading at Walmart and 1,350 at the Plaza in 2019. Kayak Public Transit is operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which provides bus service in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. HART is funded through an intergovernmental partnership between the City and CTUIR where the City provides local matching funds for Kayak to leverage against state and federal grants. For more information about Hermiston’s public transportation options, visit https://hermiston.or.us/public-transit.

March 2020

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March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal



Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Sports & News The monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ~ Pendleton, Oregon



March 2020

NCS slashes Siletz Valley for Baker berth By the CUJ

MISSION - It was over before it started and when it ended it was emphatic. The Nixyaawii Community School boys raced to a 22-0 lead and built a 50-point cushion in the third quarter before freshman Shane Rivera finished it off with a dunk and an 85-41 win over Siletz Valley in a game that sent the Golden Eagles back to Baker City. Mick Schimmel, who led all scorers with 25 points, said after the game he’s ready to defend Nixyaawii’s state title against the seven other teams that made the playoffs. “We’ve been there before. We know what to do,” he said. “Every possession counts. We have to MISSION – Depending on work for everything.” when you are reading this, the The game Feb. 28 Nixyaawii Community School boys are either getting ready was a play-in bout – to play or already have played the second for Siletz their first game in Baker City at Valley, who had to the Class 1A State Basketball travel from the OrTournament. egon Coast to play The Golden Eagles were scheduled to play Trinity Lutheran Nixyaawii, which at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, March 5. was playing its first It would be a repeat of the state game of the postchampionship game from last season. year in which Nixyaawii won by The Golden Eagles 17 points, 59-42. If they win – or won – the jumped out so fast boys would likely play Damascus the Warriors were Christian, the top ranked team dumbfounded. The in the tournament, who was game was into its playing the lowest ranked team, 10th minute before Ione-Arlington, in their opener on Siletz Valley finally Thursday. The winner’s bracket matchup is slated for 4:15 p.m. made a bucket to Friday, March 6. make the score 31-3. If Nixyaawii were to lose, then Coach Shane Rithe boys would be playing Ionevera said he’s seen Arlington in the loser’s bracket set his team improving for 8 a.m. Friday, March 6. over the last couple of weeks and is glad to have his full roster going into the final week of play. “We were in sync,” Rivera said. “We were a step faster each possession. I think they’re a little more serious now; there was a sense of urgency.” Tyasin Burns, the Old Oregon League player of the year, went out early and scored 12 points in the first quarter, hitting three three-pointers. It was an early barrage. With the score 8-0, the Nixyaawii offense went

Nixyaawii defending Class 1A state title

Mick Schimmel steals the ball away from a Siletz Valley dribbler in Nixyaawii’s 85-41 win Feb. 28 in the Eagles Nest in Mission. The win advanced the Golden Eagles to the Class 1A State Basketball Tournament in Baker City. Nixyaawii, the defending state championship, were to open play Thursday, March 5, against Trinity Lutheran, the team they beat in the title game last year. Trailing CUJ photo/Phinney the play is freshman Shane Rivera.

like this: Moses Moses hit a three, then Burns hit back-toback threes, then Magi Moses made a bucket underneath and Burns hit another three to finish the quarter. Schimmel took over in the second quarter. He went hard to the basket over and over, scoring 15 points with just one three-pointer. Schimmel made 11 of 12 shots plus the three-pointer. Burns and Magi Moses each added four points and freshmen Aaron Barkley and Dylan Abrahamson each

Wildhorse hopes to open its new Whispering Aspens bowling alley before Round-Up. Read about it on Page 18B.

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal

had a bucket as the Golden Eagles stretched their halftime lead to 41 points at 49-8. Much of the time in the second period there were three freshmen on the floor – Rivera, Barkley and Abrahamson – and every player had seen playing time before the end of the third period. With 4:08 left in the second period, Abrahamson took the ball from the back court all the way to the key then Siletz Valley on page 7B

Kylie Mountainchief hollers as her Nixyaawii team comes charging back against Elgin. Read about the Golden Eagles girls on Page 6B.

Jim Newland cuts a new cup on a green at Birch Creek Golf Course. Read about the Tribes’ new course on Page 4B.


APRIL SPORTS SCHEDULE Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii/Echo Softball March 16 at Umatilla at 4 p.m. March 18 at Irrigon at 4 p.m. March 24 vs. Waldport at 11 a.m. March 24 at Oakride at 5 p.m. March 25 vs. Enterprise/Wallowa/Joseph March 27 at Burns/Crane at Noon March 28 vs. Colton at Noon March 28 vs. Bonanza at 2 p.m. April 4 vs. Baker/Powder Valley at 1 p.m. Baseball March 6 vs. Umatilla at 4 p.m. March 18 vs. Irrigon at 4 p.m. March 24 vs. Colton at 10 a.m. March 24 vs. Waldport at Noon March 25 vs. Waldport at 10 a.m. March 27 at Vernonia at 12:30 p.m. March 28 at Jefferson at 1p.m. March 31 at Heppner/Ione at 4 p.m. April 4 vs. Weston-McEwen at 11 a.m. April 4 vs. Weston-McEwen at 1 p.m. April 7 at Grant Union/Prairie City at 4 p.m.

Weston-McEwen High School Softball March 17 vs. Umatilla at 4 p.m. March 19 vs. Enterprise/Wallowa/Joseph March 21 at Vale at 1 p.m. (MT) March 21 at Vale at 3 p.m. (MT) March 24 at Riverside at 11 a.m. March 24 vs. Knappa at 1 p.m. April 4 vs. Echo/Stanfield at 11 a.m. April 4 vs. Echo/Stanfield at 1 p.m. Baseball March 3 vs. Touchet at 4 p.m. March 20 at Irrigon at 1 p.m. March 20 at Irrigon at 3 p.m. March 24 at Riverside 10:30 a.m. March 24 at Sherman/Arlington/Condon at 1:30 p.m. March 31 vs. Union/Cove at 4 p.m. April 4 at Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii/Ukiah at 11 a.m. April 4 at Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii/Ukiah at 1 p.m. April 7 at Union/Cove at 4 p.m. Girls Tennis March 19 at Weston-McEwen at TBD

Pendleton High School Softball March 17 at St. Helens at 5 p.m. March 20 vs. La Salle Prep at 3 p.m. March 20 vs La Salle Prep at 4:30 p.m. March 23 at Putnam Spring Break Tournament at TBD March 23 at McMinnville at 1 p.m. March 23 vs. Cleveland at 3 p.m. March 24 at Putnam Spring Break Tournament at TBD March 24 at Franklin at 9 a.m. April 7 vs. McLoughlin/Griswold at 4:30 p.m. Baseball March 16 at Walla Walla at 2 p.m. March 16 at Walla Walla at 3:30 p.m. March 23 vs. McNary at 2 p.m. March 23 vs. Roseburg at 4 p.m. March 24 vs. St. Helens at 2 p.m. March 25 Red Lion Buckaroo Baseball Classic at TBD April 3 vs. Hillsboro at 4:30 p.m. April 4 vs. Hillsboro at 11 a.m. April 7 vs. Bend at 2 p.m. Boys Tennis April 3 at Hood River Valley at 3 p.m. Girls Tennis April 3 at Pendleton at 3 p.m. Boys Golf March 19 at Pendleton at 11 a.m. March 20 at The Dalles at 10 a.m. April 6 at Redmond at 11 a.m. Girls Golf March 31 at Pendleton at 11 a.m.


A tribal member trio of Pendleton Bucks showed off their hoop skills in a home game against Redmond in February. Above, Dakota Sams drives to the hoop for a bucket. Sams broke his father’s three-point shooting record later in the month in a game on the road against Ridgeview. Top right, Chauncey Sams bounces down the lane looking to either pass or go to the basket in the same game against Redmond. And at right, Stockton Hoffman works against a defender on the edge of the paint. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Pendleton boys, girls finish IMC; prepare for round-one playoffs PENDLETON – Dakota Sams broke his father’s school record for the most three-pointers in a game Feb. 25 when he hit nine against Ridgeway High School in Redmond. The 95-58 win for Pendleton High School was the final Intermountain Conference game for the Bucks, which won the league title and will play Willamette on the road Saturday, March 7. Pendleton finished the regular season with a record of 7-2 in league and 18-5 overall. Ryan Sams, who is an assistant coach, held the record with eight three-pointers set in a game during the 1991-92 season. Ryan Sams happened to have done it twice - on backto-back nights in Central Oregon against Crook County and Mountain View. Ryan Sams said it was nice to witness Dakota break his 28 year old record. “Having your son beat your record is something special,” Ryan Sams said. The young Sams went 9 for 14 on his long shots, made one two-pointer and was 5 for 6 from the line to lead the Bucks with 34 points. Ryan said his shooting percantage wasn’t nearly as good

as his son’s. In the game Feb. 21, Sams scored 18 points in the second half and led Pendleton’s fourth quarter rally over The Dalles Riverhawks. The Bucks outscored The Dalles 29-14 in the fourth period to take a 79-65 win. Sams scored 11 points in the final eight minutes. On the girls’ side, Pendleton finished the season 8-2 in the IMC and 16-6 overall, upsetting Ridgeview in their final game at home, 60-52. The win avenged an earlier 9-point loss on Ridgeview’s court earlier this year. Pendleton took a brief lead in the third quarter after three-pointers by Muriel Hoisington and Sami Spriet, but then went scoreless for almost six minutes and trailed by a dozen with just over a minute left in the third quarter. A 12-0 rally started with a three-pointer by Hoisington and the Bucks grabbed a six point lead, 55-49, with about a minute to go. Chloe Taber led the Bucks with 16 points while Hoisington, a tribal member, added 14 and added eight assists. Pendleton girls will be on the road for their first round playoff game Friday, March 6. Much of this information was garnered from East Oregonian.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Photo by Robert McLean

Tyasin Burns, who was named Player of the Year in the Old Oregon League, posterizes Elgin’s Tristan Simpson in the first half of Nixyaawii’s 69-38 would-be victory Feb. 14. However, the Golden Eagles had to forfeit the game. Read about it below. At left, Magi Moses posts up Joseph’s H. Miller at the Old Oregon League finals in Baker City.

CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Nixyaawii wins OId Oregon League title

By the CUJ

MISSION – The Nixyaawii Community School boys strung together what looked like seven conference wins in February, including the Old Oregon League championship in Baker City March 21 and 22. That would have given the Golden Eagles their second straight undefeated season in the Old Oregon League. But alas, their conference mark was marred on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, when a 69-38 score was recorded as a forfeit loss when it was realized that Nixyaawii had sent a player on to the floor for more than his night’s allotted six quarters. Elgin called it to Nixyaawii’s attention and Golden Eagles coaches self-reported the infraction to the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). Not to worry though. The Golden Eagles (13-1 OOL and 23-5 overall) whipped Siletz Valley 85-41 in a play-in game and are one of the top eight teams heading back to Baker City for the Class 1A State Tournament where they will defend their state title. At the OOL Conference championships, Nixyaawii took revenge on Elgin, 61-41, on Feb. 21, and then won the title over Joseph, 77-54. Junior Tyasin Burns was named OOL Player of the Year and Mick Schimmel was also named to the OOL first team all-stars. In the title game, Mick Schimmel led all scorers with 26 points while Tyasin Burns and Magi Moses each scored 13. Moses Moses and Shane Rivera both scored 9 points. Nixyaawii doubled Joseph in the first quarter, 18-9, as Schimmel scored a dozen. Moses Moses canned three three-pointers in the second quarter and the Golden Eagles stretched the halftime lead to 15. In the third period, Schimmel had 10 and Rivera scored all 9 of his points as NCS added a dozen to their

March 2020

Old Oregon League champions again, the Nixyaawii Community School Golden Eagles stand next to their bracket at Baker City High School gym. The team includes, from left, Head Coach Shane Rivera, Coach Alan Crawford, Kirk Houle, Moses Moses, Dylan Abrahamson, Jace Ashley, Tyasin Burns, Shane Rivera, Mick Schimmel, Saint Schimmel, Magi Moses, Reuben Bronson, William Sigo, Aaron Barkley, Coach Ken Mayfield and Coach Aaron Ashley.

cushion. Nixyaawii took revenge on Elgin in the first game of the District tournament, whipping the Huskies by 20 points behind Schimmel’s 26. Magi Moses had 12 and Burns added 11. Moses Moses scored 7, Barkley had 4 and Saint Schimmel made one free throw. Elgin actually led at the end of the first quarter, 1614, but the Golden Eagles shut the Huskies down in the second period and led at halftime, 31-23. Schimmel split his scoring up with 13 in the first half and 13 in the second half. The Golden Eagles pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Elgin, 17-5, with Schimmel scoring 7 and

Confederated Umatilla Journal Siletz Valley on page 7B

Magi Moses adding 6 points. Here’s what happened in other February games: NCS 82, Pine Eagle 37 on Feb. 6 The Golden Eagles led 20-1 at the end of the first quarter and 35-10 at halftime. Not much more needs to be said. Four players were in double figures – Schimmel had 23, Bronson 17, Burns 15 and Magi Moses 13. Also scoring was Rivera, Abrahamson and Barkley. NCS 87, Helix 26 on Feb. 7 Worse than Pine Eagle. NCS led 28-0 at the end of the Nixyaawii Boys on page 9B


Guy Shearer, right, mows the fifth green at Birch Creek Golf Course Feb. 28. Shearer came to Pendleton three years ago from Beaverton where he had worked at The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club in Aloha. “It’s changed by leaps and bounds,” Shearer said. “Wildhorse has brought money and equipment; whatever we need. You have two fantastic places to play golf out here.” Ryan Dahl, Head PGA Professional at Birch Creek Golf Course, below, sits in one of the new carts near the lake between the 13th and 16th fairways. Dahl will be organizing a PGA Junior League team. Registration is open now. See story on Page 6B.

Birch Creek ‘best I’ve ever seen it’ Emphasis will be on family, junior-oriented activities By Wil Phinney of the CUJ

PENDLETON – Crews began mowing greens Feb. 28 at “The Golf Course at Birch Creek” where new memberships have already eclipsed the number of members who were left when Pendleton Country Club was purchased last June by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). One of those players, Ron Schultz of Pendleton, was putting his clubs on a cart before heading to the first tee. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen it in 17 years,” Schultz said. Wildhorse Resort & Casino is managing the Birch Creek operation, a mature 248-acre 18-hole course that

sits on the west side of Highway 395 between Pendleton and Pilot Rock. The boundary of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is less than two miles east of the Birch Creek clubhouse across McKay Reservoir. It was Wildhorse CEO Gary George who last spring coordinated the purchase of the property, which includes four certified subsurface and surface water rights. Birch Creek runs along the west side of the property and comes into play on several holes on the front and back sides. The CTUIR Board of Trustees (BOT) purchased the property for $810,000 and, according to the resolution endorsing the deal, “authorized” a loan for improvements “upon completion” of an approved business

plan. George said a business plan will be presented to the Board in April for “final concurrence.” Much work has been done and much more is planned at Birch Creek Golf Course, but key to it all is more memberships. In its hay day, Pendleton Country Club enjoyed membership of more than 400, but the number of members had dwindled to about 85 when Wildhorse stepped in last summer. However, Mike Hegarty, PGA Head Professional at Wildhorse Resort Golf Course, said people who left the country club are coming back. In fact, memberships are already up over 100. “People are hearing about the golf course, about the restaurant, the operation as a whole and coming back in a bull rush,” Hegarty said. “We expect memberships to grow quickly as the spring season begins.” A big selling point for people like Ron Schultz and his playing partners, Ken Haggee and Ron Paitt, is the season pass prices. Schultz’s bill is less than half of what it was when he was a country club member. “I was paying about $3,000 a year with rent on my cart shed, cart maintenance and fuel,” he said. Now he pays a single annual membership of $1,050 plus $350 to use one of the new carts in Birch Creek’s fleet. Hegarty at Wildhorse, who is listed as Director of Golf at Birch Creek, and Ryan Dahl, Head PGA Pro at Birch Creek, want the new course to be the go-to family golf course in the region. They’ll be pushing family nights with summer leagues and camps and clinics paired with dinners and other social activities. “The emphasis will be on family and junior-oriented activities,” Hegarty said. An annual family membership, for up to six people (dependents still living at home), will cost $1,250. A person under the age of 18 can get a year’s season pass for $250. WILDHORSE CEO GARY GEORGE said Pendleton Country Club was presented to the BOT last June as the purchase of fertile farm ground with valuable

Riley Lankford, a 2018 Pilot Rock High School graduate who played golf for Nixyaawii Community School, walks across the bridge over Birch Creek toward the 12th green Feb. 28. Lankford blasts from a sand-packed bunker in the photo on Page 5B.


Confederated Umatilla Journal

Continued on page 5B

March 2020

Part of a herd of 15 mule deer pause near a sand trap between the 14th green and a lake at Birch Creek Golf Course Feb. 28. The course was purchased last June by the Confederated Tribes of the CUJ photos/Phinney Umatilla Indian Reservation. The golf course and clubhouse, including a restaurant, are being managed by Wildhorse Resort. Continued from page 4B

water rights and stream habitat. The property, zoned farmland with a conditional use for golf, includes the clubhouse, maintenance buildings and cart sheds, plus a swimming pool, and also has three lots approved for housing on a rocky east hill. As part of the deal, Wildhorse was “obligated to run it as a golf course in 2019,” George said. “We think the golf course could alleviate problems at Wildhorse, moving some play out to Birch Creek,” George said. “Everyone in this room thinks we have the opportunity to make Birch Creek a profitable business.” (Sitting at the table with George was Hegarty and Dahl, plus Philip Lagao, Golf Course Superintendent at Birch Creek; Diane Long, Director of Marketing at Wildhorse; Bruce Mecham, Wildhorse Food and Beverage Director; and Al Tovey, Wildhorse Casino General Manager.) George said Wildhorse is bumping up against, if not over, its 200-member limit, which has created some problems for resort play. A second course at Birch Creek would take care of local play, and provide more opportunities for Wildhorse guests to enjoy resort amenities, including the Wildhorse golf course. Wildhorse Pro Hegarty noted the difference in play between some resort players and other golfers who play more often. “We’re busy at both places on weekends, but we want to give our Wildhorse guests the best times we can. It becomes an availability issues with inherently slow resort play. We can send educated golfers to Birch Creek to avoid the wait at Wildhorse, and we can help our once-a-year golfers who play here,” Hegarty said. MECHAM, THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE Director, will be pursuing outdoor events, including receptions and weddings at Birch Creek. He thinks catered events and other special functions such as monthly brunches could be a hit. Marketing Director Long is excited about Birch Creek’s appeal as well. “It opens up a whole world for weddings,” she said.

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal

CTUIR golf memberships At either Wildhorse Resort Golf Course or at Birch Creek Golf Course, a family membership fsor a CTUIR member will cost $480. A single membership for a CTUIR member at either course will cost $400. Free clinics for CTUIR members are scheduled on Saturdays at Wildhorse. For more information call Wildhorse Resort Golf Course at 541-276-5588. “There’s a lot of interest. It’s like a social family gathering. That venue, beautiful trees, it’s retro. It feels like you’re out of town but you’re really not. It’s a great atmosphere.” Plans call for creating a social event venue near an old irrigation pond just west of the first fairway after some old wooden cart sheds are removed. The pond is surrounded by trees, including several large weeping willows. Once the BOT approves the Birch Creek business plan, George said, several renovations and improvements around the clubhouse and course will be scheduled. Some of the biggest improvements include replacing the electric heating and air conditioning systems in the clubhouse, and swapping out old single-pane glass for energy-efficient windows. Remodeling would occur in the large men’s and women’s locker rooms, too. Banks of lockers would be removed, creating usable space for workout equipment that currently is upstairs in a room that leads out to a balcony overlooking the ninth green. Also planned are facelifts for the patio, sauna and showers. On the course, George said, he’d like to see cart paths replaced or repaired. Also, many mature – dead – trees need to be removed, which would open up the area to better highlight Birch Creek.


Lark Moses, one of seven seniors who will graduate from the Nixyáawii girls’ team this year, flies toward the basket against Tymra Anderson of Elgin. Nixyáawii made a valiant comeback, outscoring Elgin 18-10 in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies won it at the free throw line. Photo by Robert McLean

Mackenzie Kiona takes the ball to the hoop along the baseline against an Elgin opponent in their game Feb. 14. Kiona scored 9 points in the girls’ two-point loss, which ended their chances at a district playoff spot. Photo by Robert McLean

‘It’s been the story of our whole season. We couldn’t quite make the plays to win. We were right there but couldn’t do quite enough to get on top.’ - Coach Jeremy Maddern

Adilia Hart wrestles for the basketball against an Elgin opponent in their Feb. 14 Old Oregon League contest. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

NCS girls finish in wild one against Elgin By the CUJ

MISSION – A two-point loss to Elgin that had the Eagles Nest rocking Feb. 14 knocked the Nixyaawii Community School girls’ basketball team out of contention for the Old Oregon League district tournament. The girls were coming off a threegame winning streak and needed a win in their last two games against one of the two teams in their side of the division that made the state playoffs. Elgin was eliminated in the first round, but Joseph made the big dance as one of the top eight at Baker City March 5-8. But it wasn’t meant to be in spite of a late charge led by freshman Sophie Bronson in the fourth quarter. Bronson scored eight of her game-high 15 points, including two three-pointers, in the final frame. It was another frustrating night for Coach Jeremy Maddern. “It’s been the story of our whole season. We couldn’t quite make the plays to win. We were right there but couldn’t do quite enough to get on top,” he said. The Golden Eagles had a final threepoint shot that would have given them the win but the ball found only rim. NCS trailed 24-18 at halftime and 43-33 at the end of three quarters. Bronson was helped by another freshman, Kyella Picard, who scored five of her 9 points in the last stanza, and two others with three more, and outscored Elgin by eight, 18-10.


The bench was going crazy as the Nixyaawii girls mounted a comeback against Elgin in their next-to-last conference game. From left, the coaches and players included Coach Kaitlynn Melton, Coach Taryn Doiminguez, Ally Maddern (hidden), Ivory Herrera, Christina Kaltsukis, Adilia Hart, Mackenzie Kiona, Susie Patrick, Chelsea Farrow (back to camera), and Celia Farrow. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

In the fourth, Elgin scored all 10 of its points at the free throw line. For the game, Elgin made 13 of 34 from the line. Nixyaawii went to the line 16 times and made half of their tries. Mackenzie Kiona scored 9 points, Ky-

lie Mountainchief had 6, Trista Melton 5, Lark Moses 4, and Adilia Hart 2 to round out the scoring for Nixyaawii. Jayden Palmer and Mariah Williams each had a dozen to pace Elgin. The Golden Eagles lost their final game

Confederated Umatilla Journal

to Joseph at Enterprise the following day, 54-40. Picard led the team with 9 points and Kiona had 8. Others who scored included Moses, Melton, Susie Patrick, Christina Kaltsukis, Ivory Hererra, TyNixyaawii Girls on page 9B

March 2020

NCS slashes Siletz Valley Continued from page 1B

Freshman Shane Rivera dropped the hammer with a dunk at the buzzer to make it 85-41 in Nixyaawii’s play-in game. The win over Siletz Valley advanced the Golden Eagles to Baker City where they will defend their state title. Photo by Robert McLean

did a spin move around the defender and put it up off the glass. The ball bounced around and finally fell through the ropes, drawing one of several loud cheers from the crowd during the night. That gave Nixyaawii its first 30-point lead. With 2:30 to go in the third period, Coach Rivera emptied his bench with William Sigo, Saint Schimmel, Kirk Houle and Jace Ashley on the floor with Schimmel. In the fourth, that foursome played with Burns. Everybody but Sigo scored and he was credited with two rebounds and an assist. Siletz Valley closed to within 39 behind a handful of three-pointers from Anthony Simmons, who finished with 18. But as soon as Abrahamson was assigned to defend him Simmons didn’t score again. Other game stats showed Schimmel with seven rebounds and five steals. Rivera was credited with six rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block. And, oh, that dunk at the buzzer. (He’d tried a dunk earlier but didn’t get quite high enough.) Moses Moses had eight boards and three steals; Magi Moses had seven boards; Burns had eight rebounds and two assists; and Barkley had four steals. After Schimmel, Burns had 19 points followed by Moses Moses with 8; Magi Moses, Rivera and Barkley with 6 each; Ashley and Abrahamson with 4 apiece; Saint Schimmel with a high-arching three-pointer; Houle and Reuben Bronson with 2 points each. There were only six fouls called in the game. Nixyaawii was 2 for 4 from the line. Siletz Valley didn’t shoot a single free throw. After the game, Schimmel was smiling, but he was being humble, too. “I felt like we played with intensity,” he said, “but I don’t know if we played our best basketball.” Coach Rivera offered a more sanguine assessment. “It’s hard to point to anything negative,” he said.

Sports gambling bill moves to Washington Senate OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A bill to allow sports gambling in Washington state, but only at Indian casinos, has been approved by a state Senate committee despite concerns about a controversial emergency clause attached to it. A Senate Ways & Means Committee rejected calls Monday to scrap the emergency clause, which blocks the bill from being subjected to a statewide referendum requiring 60% support to pass. The Seattle Times reports the committee sent the bill to the full Senate despite objections that it grants a tax-free monopoly to the state’s Indian tribes while hurting smaller commercial card-room casinos. The vote by the Senate is the last major barrier before sending the legislation to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. ``This is the wise and cautious approach to take,’’ committee Chair Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, said shortly before the bill was voted through. Keiser added that authorizing such gaming beyond tribal casinos ``would open us up to trouble’’ through potential widespread proliferation. But those opposed to the bill, including Nevada-based Maverick Gaming _ which in the past year acquired 19 of the state’s 44 commercial card-room casinos _ contend their venues should also gain access to the lucrative sports gambling market. Committee members Monday did amend the bill to exclude minor league sports. That means the bill technically must be reapproved by the House once the Senate passes it _ but that’s considered a formality. Sports gambling has long been illegal in Washington and almost everywhere nationwide. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 quashed a federal law banning such gambling in all but a few jurisdictions, leaving it to individual states to now decide their own course. The bill would allow betting on professional and college sports, but not on college teams based in Washington state. Bets must be placed at Indian casinos. Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson argued in public hearings held by the committee last Friday that the state will lose up to $50 million annually in tax revenues by not authorizing sports gambling beyond tribal venues. He added the only reason the emergency clause was invoked was because lawmakers know Washington residents would never approve the bill as proposed. Persson has vowed to spend up to $30 million this election cycle on litigation, campaigning, television advertisements and anything else to block the bill from becoming law.

Junior golf league starting at Birch Creek PENDLETON – Birch Creek Golf Course will host a PGA Junior League golf team featuring a traveling squad of eight golfers age 13 and younger. Registration is open now. Ryan Dahl, PGA Pro at Birch Creek, is organizing the team, which will play matches against other junior teams in Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. Cost is $300 and includes five oneday golf sessions for travel matches, camps, team jerseys, a golf kit, and greens fees at six tournaments. Financial assistance and scholarships may be available, Dahl said. Call Dahl for more information at 541-276-5588. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation recently purchased Pendleton Country Club and renamed it Birch Creek Golf Course. Read more about it on Page 4B.

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Confederated Umatilla Journal


t c e l E


Candidate for

Umatilla County Commissioner I believe in:

- God and our Christian Nation before all others - Our Constitution and our First and Second Amendments. - Less government and taxes, balanced budgets and financial transparency. - Openness, honesty and integrity in our government; no back room deals. - No foreign land ownership in USA. - Government entities receiving tax dollars should not compete against private businesses. - Legal immigration only. - Small business ownership and entrepreneurs. - Drug and alcohol testing for those on public assistance. - Helping the homeless rejoin society. - Support 40 hour living wage.

I believe in:

- Tax deferred projects should pay prevailing construction wages to all companies. Owners of deferred projects should pay all costs including roads and utilities. - No business should refuse to take cash which is legal tender. Paid for by the Committee to Elect Pat Maier Umatilla County Commissioner

Family Violence Services Worried about your safety and the safety of your children at home? • Tired of walking on eggshells? • Feel like you’re trapped or being followed?

Free and confidential Family Violence Services staff can help you weigh options and ideas for safety. Give us a call, tell us where to meet you, or come to our office.

Jimmy All-Star

24/7 cell: 541-240-4171 • Office: 541-

429-7045 • Visit Us: Nixyáawii Governance Center, 46411 Timine Way, Pendleton

Jimmy Jones, a descendent of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, plays basketball for Pilot Rock High School. Jones, who averages 18 points and seven steals a game, was selected to the first-team Columbia Basin Conference all-stars. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Nixyaawii girls Continued from page 6B

anna Van Pelt, and Chelsea Farrow. The girls scored wins over Pine Eagle, 48-37, Feb. 7; over Helix, 44-24, Feb. 7; and over Imbler, 44-22, Feb. 13. Against Pine Eagle, the squad was led by Picard with 17, Patrick with 9 and Bronson with 8. Against Helix, Moses and Melton had 9 each and Picard had 8 to lead the team. Against Imbler, Moses led the team with 14 and Kiona added 11. The Golden Eagles will lose seven seniors – Melton, Mountainchief, Van Pelt and Patrick have been with the team for four years, and Moses has been there for three years. The other seniors are transfers Chelsea Farrow and Christina Kaltsukis. But Coach Maddern has high hopes for the young players coming up, especially

with a nucleus of Picard and Bronson, who will be sophomores next year. The Nixyaawii junior varsity team lost only two games this year so Maddern is excited to see those girls, many of them who will be juniors, hit the hardwood next winter. Through the year, Maddern said Picard and Bronson add consistency to their games, something they were missing as freshmen when the year began. At the end of the season Picard was averaging a near double-double and Bronson, as a young point guard in a tough division, had dramatically reduced her turnover to assist ratio. In her last game against the best team in the conference she had six assists and just one turnover. Said Maddern, “The next couple of years are going to be fun to watch for sure.”

Nixyaawii boys Continued from page 3B

first period and 50-3 at halftime. Burns scored 28 with six three-pointers. Schimmel scored 17 and Moses Moses had 12. After that Rivera had 7, Barkley and Magi Moses 6 each, Abrahamson 5, Bronson and Saint Schimmel 3 each. Moses Moses had 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals; Rivera had five rebounds; Schimmel had five assists and four steals; Burns had five assists; and Bronson had three rebounds, five assists and two steals. NCS 76, Imbler 38 on Feb. 13 The Golden Eagles led by 11 after one and by 26 at halftime. Burns scored 26, with all but one coming in the first three quarters. Schimmel had 13 with Kirk Houle adding 9, Saint Schimmel 8, Rivera and Abrahamson 7 each, and Lyle Soaring Eagle with 5. NCS 69, Elgin 38 on Feb. 14 This one had the sorry forfeit ending. Nixyaawii led 41-16 at halftime so there was no doubt about the outcome. The player that was sent onto the floor in the varsity game had also played in

February Birthdays: 6th: Roger Harrison 7th: Jim Marsh, Deana Crane and Aaron Quaempts 8th: Norma McKenzie 9th: Pixie Oatman and Grey Orna - 1st! 10th: Eli Azure 11th: Kiya Frost 12th: Desirae Askins 15th: Phyllis Simmons 16th: Mitch Hayes 20th: Curtis Lindsay 21st: JoAnn Stewart 23rd: Dolores “Lola” Rodriguez 28th: Karen Frank

Anniversaries: 11th: Tom & Michelle Brigham 14th: Marcy & Tony Hoptowit

March 2020

the junior varsity game – that’s how his quarters added up to more than the six allowed per night. Burns led scoring with 37 and relied on the long ball only once. He had 25 points in the first half. Other scorers were Rivera with 12, Schimmel with 11, Abrahamson 5, Soaring Eagle and Ashley with 2 each. NCS 67, Joseph 61 on Feb. 15 This was the season’s most competitive conference game, but Nixyaawii hit the road to Enterprise without four varsity players, including two junior starters, who were ineligible. It worked out fine. Burns scored 24, Schimmel had 20, Rivera had 11, and senior William Sigo, getting his first start, scored 10. Soaring Eagle added a bucket. NCS led 40-27 at half, but Joseph came back and took a brief lead and trailed by just a point, 51-50, heading into the final frame. In the fourth, Nixyaawii relied on Schimmel with 6 and Burns with 5 to outscore Joseph 16-11 and win by six points.


March Birthdays: 1st: Michael Hussey and Talia Tewawina 5th: Michael Van Pelt, Jr. and Hanna Cummings 6th: Andrea Rodriguez 10th: Rhonda Scott 11th: Dorothy Jones and TT Rodriguez 13th: Percy “Waine” Brigham, Amber Gillpatrick, and Alan Simmons, Jr. 15th: Nadia Kash Kash 16th: Megan Van Pelt, Allen Kash Kash and Sheldon Price 22nd: Calliope Simpson Happy 1st! 27th: Chance Wigger 28th: Kathryn Harrison

Support Staff Amelia “Missy” Pinham WRC Compliance Auditor

Missy always has such a great attitude and strives to go over and above what is asked of her. Her dedication and commitment to Wildhorse Resort & Casino is exemplary.

Front Line Loretta Newberry F&B Plateau Server

Loretta’s customer service and serving techniques are outstanding, a true professional who delivers complete attention in every detail. She ensures an enjoyable and elegant experience for each and every guest who dines in Plateau.

Supervisor Arlyn Garcia Security Shift Manager

Arlyn has stepped up and helped covered the role of Security Secretary, all while performing her normal managerial duties. We thank her for adding Payroll, Time & Attendance, and all the other things. Everyone on my shift is super thankful and appreciative of what she is doing.

Front Line

C a s i n o • H o t e l • G o l f • C i n e p l e x • R V • M u s e u m • D i n i n g • Tra v e l P l a za 800.654.9453 \\ Pendleton, OR \\ I-84, Exit 216 \\ wildhorseresort.com

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The Sound of Worden Aaron Worden performed in the Sound of Music, the College Community Theater Play put on at Blue Mountain Community College in February.

Contributed photo

Illinois bill requires rules for Native American mascot use ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - A new bill would require Illinois schools that want to keep using Native American mascots and logos receive approval from local tribes if they want to participate in playoffs, among other requirements. State Rep. Maurice West, a Rockford Democrat, pitched the plan to the Interscholastic Athletic Organization Act after students at Hononegah High School in Rockton led a protest over the use of the Princess Hononegah Indian mascot and other Native American imagery and iconography. West’s bill would prohibit Hononegah and other schools from using their Indian mascots and logos unless they complied with certain rules, ac-


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cording to the Rockford Register Star. Failure to meet them would make the school ineligible to participate in playoff competitions. ``This legislation is an opportunity to ensure we are teaching our children how to properly respect the heritage and culture of Native Americans we draw inspiration from,’’ said West. He said there are 52 high schools in Illinois that would be would be affected. A hearing on the legislation is set for Springfield. Some of the requirements include getting written approval from a tribe based within 500 miles and offering Native American culture programs and courses on at the school.

March 2020

CUJ Community News Young tribal member appears on national TV By Casey Brown of the CUJ

After the State of the Union address on Feb. 4, one of the first faces television audiences saw was Daijha Louise Roper, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The annual address from the President of the United States had 37.2 million viewers on 12 television networks, and anyone who stayed tuned in to the first commercial saw a commercial for the brand Seventh Generation. They make cleaning and household products with a focus on sustainability and equality. It all started when Daijha and her mother, Dawn Swan, went to Portland in December to attend the Youth Climate Strike. A photographer from Opinonated, a creative agency in Portland, was collecting material for the commercial. “I wanted to take my daughter there to give her a look at what’s happening in the world and what the younger generation is doing all over the world, doing these strikes and trying to get politicians to make changes,”she said. They also weren’t expecting such a

March 2020

Screenshot from YouTube

Daijha Roper, enrolled CTUIR tribal member, appears in a national TV commercial for the brand Seventh Generation. The photo was taken in December when she and her mother attended a Youth Climate Strike in Portland. It first aired Feb. 4, immediately after the State of the Union address.

large crowd at the climate strike. “Mommy said there was only going to be 76 people,” Daijha said. “According to the Facebook event page,” Swan said. “But when we showed up to Shemanski Park, there were a couple thousand people, all with signs.”

Daijha was paid for her appearance, which will make a local impact and shape Daijha’s future. With her mother’s guidance, Daijha is considering using the money to start a business. Profits earned by selling t-shirts, or whatever form the business make take, will be put toward local

Confederated Umatilla Journal

youth’s fight against climate change, according to Dawn. During the 60-second commercial titled “Believe in a Seventh Generation,” a voiceover of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from nearly 80 years ago plays while images of youth from the climate change movement appear. The audio is a clip from FDR’s 1943 State of the Union address when the United States was in the grips of the Second World War. The children and teens are holding signs, and some of them read, “THERE IS NO PLANET B,” “QUEREMOS UN FUTURO,” which is Spanish for “We want a future,” and “THE YOUTH HAVE SPOKEN. ARE YOU LISTENING?” “The people have now gathered their strength. They are moving forward in their might and power—and no force, no combination of forces, no trickery, deceit, or violence, can stop them now. They see before them the hope of the world—a decent, secure, peaceful life for men everywhere.” The black and white images continue to scroll across the screen until a new Commercial on page 21B


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March 2020

at Right, Bite by Bite’ theme r National Nutrition Month

e spring rains wash the earth and plants sprout, it is a good time to reflect and make changes. The theme for March, National Month, this year is “Eat Right, Bite by As the theme suggests, we can focus on anges to help achieve good and good health. Every nge is a step in the right and those changes all lead health. times getting started is the part, so I would suggest by making a plan. Maybe to make lists, and maybe t. Either way, writing out a great way to get things gon’t make huge, unrealistic ut make some small goals ges that are achievable. ber, every little change adds up. Maybe your olves making weekly menus, or maybe you d to stick to a shopping list when you get to ery store – write it down. er step could be to try to eat at home. If out at restaurants or make fast food/deli quently, maybe you could focus on packing or prepping some meals to eat at home. It ew extra minutes of your time, but it can money and it can help you stick to healthier If you have a busy family, try to sit down to catch-up at least a few times each week. you making healthy choices (like eating

March 2020

your veggies) and they will follow your example. You could even get the kids involved in helping with shopping or meal prep to make it a family event. Make vegetables a priority. Veggies are low-fat, low-calorie and loaded with nutrients and fiber. If you focus on eating even 1 more serving of vegetables each day, you just might cut out some higher fat and higher calorie foods without even trying. Look for more color and more texture to make your meals more interesting. Maybe you will find a new vegetable that you love! Don’t forget about water. It might not be packed with nutrients, but it is also not packed with calories or fat. Hopefully by adding more water, you will cut back on the higher calorie drinks without a lot of effort. At the very least, drink a glass of water before you open your favorite beverage. Hydrating is so important, and water is simply the best choices for hydration. If you need a little help making those little changes and Eating Right, Bite by Bite give me a call, 541.240.8524, or ask your provider for a referral. I’m happy to help you make a healthy eating plan or work on some strategies to implement a healthy plan for you or your family. Also, check Yellowhawk Facebook and Yellowhawk.org for cooking classes, healthy related classes, fitness schedules and so much more.



Learn how to make your own beeswax food wrap.

March, 23rd, 2020 Class 1 @ 10:00 a.m.-12:00pm Class 2 @ 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Laxsímwit room Please pre-register Limited space available.

Contact info: Talia Tewawina-Community Garden Assistant (541)240-8503 TaliaTewawina@yellowhawk.org

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Census counts everyone everywhere, including ‘unconventional places’ By America Counts Staff of the U.S. Census Bureau

CALL TO ARTISTS, CRAFTSMEN & VENDORS Artists may enter pieces into the art exhibition for viewing/ judging/sale. Judging will occur at 9:30 prior to general admission the people’s choice award announcement at 5:45 prior to the event close. Best in Show (Adult 18+) - Prize Award $500 Best in Show (Young Adult 12-18) - Prize Award $250 Best in Show (Child under 12) - Prize Award $100’

Artists/Artisans with retail sale items may request vendor spaces of 10x10 or 10x20. Deadline for exhibit entry is May 31. Fee schedule for show space is as follows: Entries for art contest - Due date May 22 Adult 18+ - $10/entry Young adult/child - No entry fee Limit 3 entries per artist Vendor/Sales 10x10 space only (tables not provided) - $25 10x20 space only (tables not provided) - $50 Set up hours Friday June 5, 5-8 p.m. and Sat June 6, 7-10 a.m.

People from every generation live in unconventional ways and locations. Some reside at horseracing stables or travel with circuses and carnivals. Others seek more affordable housing in RV parks. Or, others live on boats, docking at marinas most of the time or between sailing trips, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If they have a more permanent home elsewhere, the Census Bureau considers the place they spend most of their time their address. Historically, counting these people in a census has been a challenge, but the Census Bureau is determined to include them in the 2020 Census. It has identified places where the transitory population may be on Census Day. This population includes people who live in transitory or temporary locations and typically pay a fee to do so. If they have a more permanent home elsewhere, the Census Bureau considers the place they spend most of their time their address.


WITH OR WITHOUT A MAILBOX YOU WILL BE COUNTED It is important for everyone including those living in transitory locations to respond to the 2020 Census. Statistics on the U.S. population help state, local and federal officials decide how to spend billions of dollars annually in federal funds for critical public services, such as hospitals and clinics, emergency response, schools, roads and bridges. No matter where you live, those public services are important to you, too.

Yakima School District adds Treaty Day to school calendar YAKIMA, Wash. - The Yakima School District is adding a holiday to its school

Participants must be pre-approved by the Art of Healing subcommittee. Participant organization activities and purpose must align with SAH Mission, Values and Guiding Principles of St. Anthony Hospital.

Contact Janeen Reding 541-215-5868

The Census Bureau has a plan and strategies to count individuals at a variety of transitory locations. From April 9 to May 4, the Census Bureau is deploying about 14,000 census takers to campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, hotels, motels, racetracks, carnivals, circuses and other locations across the country to enumerate people who don’t have permanent addresses. Using a paper questionnaire, they will ask respondents their name, age, date of birth, sex, race, who else lives them and whether there’s another place they stay or live most of the time.


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calendar to commemorate Treaty Day and the district’s relationship with the Yakama Nation. The school board approved the school calendar for the 2020-21 school year Tuesday evening, with the addition of a June holiday honoring the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of 1855. The 14-page handwritten document outlined the boundaries and rights of traditional hunting, fishing and food gathering for tribes. It was signed June 9, 1855, and ratified by Congress in 1859. The terms of the treaty provide protections to tribal members and communities in hunting, fishing, water and land use disputes to this day. Treaty Day, often observed on a Friday rather than the anniversary date, will be honored with a day off on years in which school is still in session, said district communications director Kirsten Fitterer.

March 2020

New programs hit KCUW airwaves By Casey Brown of the CUJ

MISSION – The reservation radio station, 104.3-LP Pendleton, has increased their programming. Three new programs hit the airwaves in February, which is on top of Live streaming Nixyaawii Golden Eagle basketball games on Facebook. Every Thursday, “Radio Hawaii with Uncle Phil” airs at 11 a.m. Uncle Phil plays “the native and modern sounds of Hawaiian music.” He invites listeners to “find a shady spot on the beach and dig your toes in the sand.” On the fourth Thursday of the month, Lindsey X. Watchman, General Council chair, hosts the General Council Radio Show at 5 p.m. This new show is to share GC-related information with its members. Each month, Chairman Watchman will provide a summary on how that month’s GC meeting went. Every other month, Brent Spencer and Katherine Palmer from the education department will put on a show about promoting the importance of education, tribal schooling, and more. These shows join a full lineup of locally-hosted programming, national programming such as National Native News and Native American Calling, CTUIR Language Lessons, and a variety of music. Tune in to Tha Mish Mix on Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. The

March 2020

Mish Mix is an eclectic mixture of music ranging from hip hop, rock, electric funk, oldies, alternative, country, and more that has been on the airwaves since 2004 when the station first opening. Thursdays from 6-8 p.m., Marlene Stevenson plays Native Jams during her program. Each Friday from 11 a.m.1 p.m., Cindy Halfmoon hosts C-Bear Revivals where she plays music and shares health and wellness information. Halfmoon also hosts Wellbriety Wednesday every week from 6-8 p.m. and has been a volunteer with the radio station since the beginning. Fridays and Saturdays, Tim Elliot hots Rez Rocks where he plays rock n’ roll music from several decades. Classic Rock n’ Soul continues those vibes on Sunday evenings from 4-6 p.m. Long-time KCUW volunteer Michael Jackson hosts this weekly program. Much of KCUW’s local programming is available on their SoundCloud page, which can be found online at soundcloud.com/kcuwradio. KCUW is always seeking volunteers, and there is an upcoming opportunity for people to learn more about the radio station or train as a volunteer. On March 21, KCUW is hosting their annual open house. For more information, contact KCUW 541-429-70006 or kcuwradio@ ctuir.org.

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” -English Proverb

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Musicians, activists applaud Taika Waititi’s 2020 Oscars dedication to Indigenous People LOS ANGELES, Calif. - This year’s Oscars (Feb. 9) was notable for a number of firsts: Parasite became the first nonEnglish-language feature to win best picture, Brad Pitt snagged his first Oscar for acting and a woman (Eimear Noone) conducted the Oscars orchestra for the first time. But one of the most prominent groundbreakers was New Zealand-born director Taika Waititi, who became the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar. Waititi took home the prize for adapted screenplay for his WWII comedy Jojo Rabbit, in which he also starred as 10-year-old Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler’s imaginary friend Adolf Hitler. Waititi was the first indigenous person to ever be nominated for an Oscar, and during his acceptance speech, opened with a Maori greeting and thanks (“kai ora”), bringing some of the flavor of his nation’s indigenous Polynesian tradition to the world stage. “I dedicate this to all the Indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and

dance and write stories,” he said after thanking his mother for introducing him to Caging Skies, the book that inspired the film. “We are the original storytellers and we can make it here, as well.” A number of musicians praised Waititi for his acknowledgement, including Portugal. The Man, who wrote, “Indigenous land acknowledgements are a small but important way to recognize & honor the Native peoples of the stolen lands we’re on -- a teaching tool for decolonization & for helping us reconnect with our common humanity.” Waititi’s moving speech also earned a thumbs-up from IllumiNative founder and promoter of indigenous storytelling Crystal Echo Hawk, as well as reposts via Instagram Story from NZ-native musician Benee and Alixa Xayalith of the NZ-bred band The Naked and Famous. Singer/songwriter Rachel Cantu also praised Waititi for opening his speech with the first ever Oscars Land Acknowledgement, and NZ’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, congratulated Waititi on his win.


INDEPENDENT LIVING A Global Disability Resource and Advocacy Center EOCIL is a proud supporter of the CTUIR community and other communities and programs that promote and value inclusion, equality and opportunities for people with disabilities. EOCIL is a global disability resource and advocacy center that provides an array of services for people with disabilities. EOCIL is operated by people with disabilities.

Services Available:

- Informational and Referral - Independent Living Skills Training (budgeting and financial management, cooking, application assistance, etc.) - Peer Counseling - Individual Advocacy - Life Transitions (school to employment, home to home, corrections to community, etc.) - LGBTQ and two spirit resources

- Support Groups - Youth Mentoring Project - Representative Payee Project - Emergency Financial Assistance - Accessibility Assistance - HIV/AIDS Independent Living Project - And many other services

Locations: EOCIL has three locations: 322 SW 3rd St., Pendleton, Ore. webpage: www.eocil.org Email: eocil@eocil.org 541-276-1037 711 Relay Toll free: 1-877-711-1037 1021 SW 5th Avenue, Ontario, Ore. 541-889-3119 Voice 711 Relay Toll free 1-844-489-3119

The Dalles Office 400 East Scenic Drive Building 2, Third Floor, Suite 2 The Dalles, Oregon 541-370-2810 Toll free: 1-844-370-2810 Providing services in Harney, Malheur, Baker, Union, Grant, Wallowa, Umatilla, Morrow, Wheeler and Gilliam, Wasco, Sherman and Hood River counties.

EOCIL is a supporter of: aocil.org • endhivoregon.org • adrcoforegon.org

April ad deadline March 17 News deadline March 24 16B

Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Radioactive waste dumped illegally at Arlington landfill By Monica Samayoa for Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Department of Energy has issued a notice of violation to a hazardous waste facility for accepting more than 2 million pounds of radioactive materials east of the Columbia River Gorge. Chemical Waste Management, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., was illegally dumping radioactive materials it received from a North Dakota company, Goodnight Midstream, at its waste landfill near Arlington, Oregon. Chemical Waste Management is the only hazardous waste landfill in Oregon and according to the ODOE, Oregon law prohibits the disposal of radioactive materials in the state. “We received an inquiry from a citizen from North Dakota in September who was under the impression fracking waste from North Dakota was being disposed of in an Oregon landfill,” ODOE’s assistant director for nuclear safety Ken Niles said. The agency found that Chemical Waste Management dumped nearly 1,284 tons of radioactive waste it received from Goodnight Midstream over a period of three years, totaling over 2.5 million pounds. Garbage, hauled in by train from long distances, is unloaded onto trucks for transfer to the landfill in the barren, rolling hills near Arlington, Ore., Aug. 3, 2004. Garbage, hauled in by train from long distances, is unloaded onto trucks for transfer to the landfill in the barren, rolling hills near Arlington, Ore., Aug. 3, 2004. Goodnight Midstream provides brine water supply and recycling services to the oil and gas industry for fracking operations. The liquid that Chemical Waste Management had received had been in contact with rocks underground that contained radium, said ODOE’s nuclear waste remediation specialist Jeff Burright. “Then they filtered that water so that they can reuse it, that radium was captured in what are known as filter socks, which are very long teabags if you will, and it accumulated there and what we’ve gathered is about 80% of the total waste consisted of these filter socks,” Burright said. Oregon has a threshold of five picocuries per gram of radium 226. Picocuries are a measurement of the radioactivity in a liter of air. “The waste that was received at Chemical Waste Management Arlington had a range of concentrations over the time running from just a few picocuries per gram up to the maximum in about one and half tons total was around 1,700 picocuries per gram,” Burright said. Initially, Chemical Waste Management had no records of a relationship with Goodnight Midstream. But it was later confirmed that the North Dakota company contracted a third party, Oilfield Waste Logistics, to dispose of its solid waste. Shipping manifests showed that OWL was sending Goodnight Midstream’s waste to Arlington. “OWL basically misrepresented the fact that this waste could come into Oregon. … In the manifest that they provided to Chemical Waste Management

March 2020

Arlington, it basically said that this waste does fit within Oregon’s regulations,” Niles said. “The other part of the problem is that Chemical Waste Management did not do their due diligence to ensure what they were being told by OWL was in fact accurate.” ODOE’s notice of violation has directed Chemical Waste Management to prepare a risk assessment to develop a corrective action plan to prevent recurrence. This will also help determine the best and safest course of action for the waste that is already buried in the landfill near the Columbia River. ODOE hasn’t issued any fines associated with the illegal dumping of radioac-

tive waste. Officials said it doesn’t meet the criteria that would qualify for a fine. ODOE expects the risk assessment action plan to be submitted by the end of April. “This is the first time that we’ve had an incident like this that we have become aware that radioactive material has been brought into the state and illegally disposed in violation of our rules,” Niles said. Dan Serres from the Columbia Riverkeeper said the news of the illegal dumping of fracking waste is a serious violation of the public trust and it’s a huge risk for Oregonians. “It’s seems unacceptable that Oregon can be used as a radioactive fracking waste dump for three years,” Serres said.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

“Oregon is trying to move in the direction of clean energy and what this tells us is, it is urgently important to stop using fracked gas and fracked oil as quickly as possible, because of these health risks that come with fracking to workers and communities where this toxic material is being dumped,” Serres said. Waste Management Inc. officials said in a written statement that they are cooperating with state regulators and are committed to improving the procedures they use to ensure they’re complying with Oregon law. They said they now send waste samples to an independent technical experts for analysis prior to accepting it.


Whispering Aspen Lanes

Jesse Hatfield from McMinnville talks with another employee from Berg Electric, a Portland firm working on the construction project at Wildhorse Resort & Casino in February.

There is room for 16 lanes of bowling in the main part of the structure. Nearby is space for another eight “boutique” lanes that can be rented for special events – birthday parties and other such occasions. The state-of-the-art arcade will feature a total of 35 games that offer positions for 53 players. Gamers can win immediate prizes on five of the games and 21 games will pay out in points that can be used to purchase prizes at a nearby redemption store. 18B

Al Tovey, General Manager of Wildhorse Casino, checks out the construction inside Whispering Aspen Lanes, the newest addition at Wildhorse Resort. The facility will feature 16 lanes for general bowling plus another eight “boutique” lanes that can be rented for parties and other occasions. A full bar, a 120-seat open-air food court, and a 35-game state-of-the-art arcade will also be under the roof of the new building. Not-so-distant plans include the addition of a second hotel tower. Wildhorse is celebrating its 25th anniversary in March with its big fireworks show scheduled for Saturday, March 14. CUJ photos/Phinney

Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Nelson John and Anthony Bonifer work high on a scissor lift on inside the 48,302 square-foot addition at Wildhorse Resort & Casino.

Bowling alley to open before Round-Up By the CUJ

MISSION – Inside it’s still a huge expanse of hanging cable, steel beams and concrete, but it’s not hard to imagine the shiny hardwood lanes, the clatter of pins scattering at the impact of a bowling ball, or the rat-a-tat-tat of the firing-range arcade games. Or maybe you can smell Brigham’s Fish and Chips or Moe Pho’s noodles. Perhaps your taste buds prefer the ice cream or a mocha at the sweet shop in the food court. Still a full six months away, the 48,302 squarefoot addition at Wildhorse Resort has created a new footprint on the southwest edge of the casino on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Resort guests will enter through a new set of doors into a massive hallway that takes them into an open-air 120-seat food court where they can decide whether to go right to Whispering Aspen Bowling Lanes, head straight to the arcade, or turn left to the cinema. “We’re hoping to be done before Round-Up,” said Al Tovey, Wildhorse Casino General Manager. “It’s going to be an exciting place to come.” Inside the main part of the structure is room for 16 lanes of bowling. Nearby is another eight “boutique” lanes that can be rented for special events – birthday parties and other such occasions. “There will be enough lanes to handle our resort guests and people who come off the street to bowl,” Tovey said. “We think it will meet all expectations.” Tovey said Wildhorse expects to have league bowling and he’s hoping tribal and local teams will form for regular competition. He said, too, that Whispering Aspen could host state and regional amateur events

March 2020

Marcus Looney shovels dirt off the concrete floor into a dump wagon inside the bowling alley construction site at Wildhorse Resort.

in the future. But the bowling alley isn’t the only thing under this new roof at the resort owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. “This isn’t going to be your mom and pop bowling alley,” Tovey said, stealing the line from Bruce Mecham, the Food and Beverage Director at Wildhorse, as they walked around inside the building while workers on scissor-lifts sized up metal girders. “You add in the other casino amenities and Wildhorse offers a pretty big package,” Tovey said.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

The resort already has its casino that includes 5 restaurants, 8 conference rooms, entertainment venues, and a gift shop, plus a 300-room hotel tower with a swimming pool, as well as an RV Park and an 18-hole championship golf course. A mile to the east is Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, the Tribes’ museum. Further expansion, including another hotel tower, is on the drawing board. Tovey expects young and old to have fun in the arcade. It will be a state-of-the-art games gallery with products from Betson Enterprises, a four-generation industry leader headquarted in Carlstadt, New Jersey. There will be a total of 35 games that offer positions for 53 players, according to Mecham. Players can win immediate prizes on five of the games and 21 games will pay out in points that can be used to purchase prizes at a nearby redemption store. There will be no quarters, no tokens, no tickets to play these games. Instead, players will “load” money onto a card, much like the player’s card gamblers use on the casino floor. In addition to the new stuff, Tovey said, the concessions and ticket counter will be expanded at the cinema. Also to be enlarged is the Child Event Center (CEC), which has been serving resort customers and Wildhorse employees for about 20 years. Children from potty-trained age to 12 years can spend time in the CEC for an hourly rate. There they get a meal and soda, plus entertainment including game time on Wi, X-box, and PlayStation or movies. “Wildhorse is becoming a real entertainment center, definitely for Eastern Oregon,” Tovey said. “For our area, this is where to come.”


SD Senate passes plan for Native American schools Handmade by us, Home baked by you It’s Pizza Perfection - Love at 425 degrees

March Special Large Hawaiian Pizza $12 541-276-7272 613 Sw Emigrant

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal to start four schools based around Native American language and culture. The House will next consider the proposal, which aims to address high drop-out rates in some Native American communities in the state. The schools would teach an Oceti Sakowin curriculum centered on Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota language and culture. It is pushed by a group of educators who are planning to open the schools in Native American communities. When Sen. Troy Heinert, a Democrat from Mission, introduced the bill, he had hefty opposition from Gov. Kristi Noem

and education groups. But he was able to win the Republican governor’s support through a re-write of the bill. He also won the support of the Republican-dominated Senate. Education groups oppose the proposal, saying that the current school system can accommodate innovative programs. The schools were originally called charter schools in the bill, but the term was switched to ``community-based schools.’’ The schools would need to apply to school districts to start within the district, and they would receive funding based on the number of students enrolled in the schools. They would purchase or lease school facilities independently from the school districts.

Bison begin migration out of Yellowstone National Park BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - One of the last and largest wild bison populations in North America has begun its migration out of Yellowstone National Park into southwestern Montana, where they are being hunted and face governmentsponsored slaughter as part of a population reduction program. Hundreds of the animals have moved in recent days into the Gardiner basin along the park’s northern border, Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said. The animals leave the park in winter to graze at lower elevations. Capturing the bison for possible shipment to slaughter ``could happen at any point given the large number of bison in the basin,’’ Warthin said. Because this year’s migration occurred somewhat late, the park has only a narrow window to capture animals before the weather warms and they return to higher elevations inside the park, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks regional supervisor Mark Deleray said Wednesday. State and federal officials want to reduce Yellowstone’s bison herds this

winter by up to 900 animals under an agreement intended to shield Montana’s cattle industry from the disease brucellosis. Yellowstone had just over 4,800 bison as of last summer. The population reduction would come through a combination of hunting, slaughter and placing up to 110 animals into quarantine for potential relocation at a later date. Native American tribes from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington state with treaty rights in the Yellowstone region are holding hunts that have killed more than 50 bison this year, Deleray said. Montana’s state-sponsored bison hunting season ended on Feb. 15 with four animals killed. The slaughter of park bison has long drawn objections from wildlife advocates, members of Congress and some Native Americans. It occurs under a 2000 agreement between the state and federal officials that’s meant to reduce the chances of brucellosis infecting cattle.

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March 2020

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message appears against a white background: “What if we were meant to be the next greatest generation.” Video of a black and white scene in Times Square, New Year appears in which Navy men and civilians celebrate the end of World War II. That scene is replaced with color footage of modernday climate change youth gathered in large numbers. New text appears against a white background before the commercial ends that reads, “Climate Change is our problem to solve. The solution will be our legacy.” Dawn thinks the ad will have a positive effect for the movement she introduced her daughter to. “It was a powerful ad, and they were trying to send a strong message. They knew what Trump was going to be talking about [during the State of the Union address], so they really wanted to push awareness on climate change, so that was their way of doing that.”

Tribal youth volunteers at flood shelter By Megan Van Pelt of the CUJ

PENDLETON - Caring hearts are out to help, and high school students wanted to help just as much as anyone else. One such student, Kaydon Higheagle, volunteered with fellow Pendleton High School students at the Pendleton Convention Center Feb. 9. Higheagle, a Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) tribal member, wanted to contribute somehow during the record-breaking flooding of the Umatilla River in early February. Higheagle saw Erik Gilliand’s post on Facebook, an Oregon

Army National Guard Recruiter, asking for any volunteers to lend a hand at the convention center, which was one of the designated shelters in Umatilla County. It was facilitated by the American Red Cross. People affected by the flooding - and some pets - stayed in the shelter, which was also donation central. An outpouring of items were dropped off at the Convention Center, which then needed to be accounted for and sorted. Higheagle moved and organized donated food, clothes, bedding, and other items for flood victims. “A true defining of character,” is how Gilliand described the efforts of Higheagle and the other students.

Thank you letter THANK YOU!!! A heartfelt thank you to all who provided aid and assistance to save Delores “Gramma” Moses” home during the recent flood. The water rose quickly and dangerously and we are thankful for the quick action of the “flood crew”. All the nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters, friends, and friends of friends who slogged through four feet of muddy water to place sandbags around the house for protection. Thank you Tribal Public Works Department crew and staff and Pendleton Ready Mix for much needed sandbags. Thank you Tribal police, especially Officer Robert Fossek for ensuring the safety of Delores and all others. Kristen, Shoni, Ganine, Titto, Kanim, Michelle, Pat, Isaiah, Sam, Magi, Rick, Monece and Brian, our greatest appreciation belongs to you for working hard to protect Gramma’s home. While the waters rose your efforts to keep the river at bay helped minimize the damage done. Also, to Raeann and Joe Bear for their assistance and for their aid in providing the flood crew with the much needed and appreciated “pizza”! Also thank you to Julie Taylor, her organization at Social Services, including staff and crew, and the Tribal Public Works crew and family for the post-flood assistance in cleaning and clearing the driveway of river rock and sludge so Delores could park safely near her front door. We are grateful for the team effort and hard work for those involved. We appreciate you all. If we didn’t mention you by name, we apologize and thank you!!! Delores Moses Teresa & Randy Willis

Happy 10th Birthday Himiin Maxum! We love you and are so proud of you!

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Melee breaks out in Cayuga Indian Nation leadership dispute SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - People threw punches and were dragged to the ground Saturday as a long-simmering leadership dispute in the Cayuga Indian Nation flared up for a second time in a week. The altercation followed a news conference by a group of chiefs who oppose the authority of Clint Halftown, the federally recognized leader of the roughly 500-member western New York tribe. Halftown on Feb. 22 sent bulldozers to demolish a convenience store and other buildings controlled by tribe members who oppose him. The seven chiefs called a news conference Saturday adjacent to a disputed property to address the incident and brought supporters from other American Indian nations that make up the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. A group that crossed the caution tape and walked onto the property after the

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news conference was immediately confronted by a large group wearing Cayuga Nation Police jackets and fighting broke out, according to The Citizen of Auburn. The fighting lasted about 10 minutes before the nation police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, the newspaper said. The Halftown-led government released a statement saying a Cayuga police officer went to the hospital with unspecified injuries. ``This morning, our Nation was the victim of a vicious attack,’’ according to the statement. They said they will charge three members of other nations in the Cayuga court system. Two will be prosecuted for trespass and assaulting a Cayuga police officer and one will be charged with damaging a police vehicle, according to the release. They referred the case of a non-native accused of assaulting a Cayuga officer to the Seneca Falls Police Department. There was no immediate comment from police. Joe Heath, an attorney representing the opposition group, said Halftown’s government was the aggressor. ``This morning, Halftown’s all nonindigenous police force attacked Cayuga and Haudenosaunee citizens as they peacefully came onto the properties which Halftown has leveled,’’ Heath told the newspaper. ``These indigenous people have a much superior right to be on Nation property than the mercenaries who attacked them.’’ In 2014, the anti-Halftown Unity Council claimed control of some of the buildings that were destroyed last week. After the demolition, Halftown said the nation was retaking possession of stolen property. He said the buildings were demolished to prevent them from becoming ``a target for any further friction in the community.’’



Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Native American Club is back at BMCC It’s official and on campus. Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) Native American Club is back in action as of March 3. Eight members join the ranks, although they have yet to elect officers. This marks the return of a club that was previously on campus but since lost the minimum number of students - five - to have an official club. Approved by the BMCC Associated Student Government, the club is being advised by Annie Smith, Native American Higher Education Coach and Liaison. Meeting on a bi-weekly basis, the Native American Club is planning for the upcoming BMCC Pow Wow, which starts at 6 p.m. on March 12. Consequently, the next meeting is right before the event from 4-5 p.m. For more information about joining the club, contact Annie Smith at asmith@bluecc.edu or visit the Native American Club Facebook page, @bmccnativeclub.

March 2020

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Molle Minthorn, left, and No’alani Malumaleumu, right, are two of the eight members of the Native American Club. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

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Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

SPECIAL REPORT The Confederated Umatilla Journal is a publication of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. March 5, 2020




A CTUIR firetruck chugs through axle-deep waters during the February floods on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

March 2020

Section C

Contributed Photo/Andrew Wildbill

Donations for Reservation residents poured into the Community Center. Day 1 starts on Page 2C.

A swift water rescue team from the Tribes’ Fisheries Program was put to work. The story is on Page 7C.

Flood waters ran high and muddy. The National Weather Service tells you why in a story on Page 9C.

Damon McKay assesses damages near the house where his sister lives. Read about her night on Page 5C.

Roads and bridges were washed out all over. Mudslides trapped a family on Iskullpa Creek. Read about it on Page 13C.

Heavy equipment starts work in the river upstream of Gibbon on Feb. 9. More aerial photos on Page 10-11C.

Confederated Umatilla Journal



Umatilla River level rises to more than 12 feet By Casey Brown of the CUJ UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION – The Umatilla River breached its banks Feb. 6-7, which caused record-level flooding on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and in three Oregon counties and Walla Walla, Washington. Residents of the reservation, Pendleton, Weston, MiltonFreewater, and Echo were hit hard. A measuring station near Gibbon records the height of the river in feet. In 2019 the average was between 3.5-4.5 feet. The floodwater sent the river level to a new high of 12.08 feet on Feb. 6. According to Kate Ely, Umatilla Basin hydrologist, that equated to water flows of 13,500 cubic feet per second (cfs). Water levels were much higher than what people typically refer to as a “100year flood” but is more appropriately called a 100-year recurrence interval, according to the United States Geological Survey in the US Department of the Interior. Ely said the numbers fall in the upper range of the 500-year frequency. The peak was just over 12 feet near Gibbon and caused flooding from Bingham Springs (41 miles east of Mission) to Echo and Stanfield (30 miles west of Mission). High levels were also recorded on the equipment in Pendleton. The East Oregonian reported that Pendleton’s city manager said the waters reached 19.2 feet and was flowing at 20,300 cfs. WHAT HAPPENED The snow started on Wednesday night. It hit the Blue Mountains and dumped

up to 20 inches. Freezing levels, or the altitude at which the temperature is a the the freezing point, stayed above average, which melted most of that snow. Near La Grande, 17 inches rapidly melted down to 3 inches in a 24-hour period, according to Marc Austin, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Pendleton. Finally, the rain came. Four inches in 24 hours. All of that water had to go somewhere. Residents, with the help of neighbors, family members and other volunteers, responded quickly by filling and placing sand bags around their homes. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) responded quickly. Incident command roles were assigned, the Community Gym was established as the place to go for people who were displaced, and schools and businesses were closed. Paul Rabb, acting executive director, was named the incident commander along with Public Safety Director Ray Denny. Rabb is the director of CTUIR’s finance department and he had stepped up into the executive role while Ted Wright, CTUIR Executive Director, was away on travel. It was by chance that he had taken emergency response training only a few months before, so he had a feel for what to do and when to do it. Donations began pouring into the gym and cooks were busy making spaghetti for those in need of a hot meal. The Cmuytpáma Warming Station geared up for extra overnight guests. Yellowhawk Umatilla River rises on page 14C

Personnel from the Tribal Fire Department, Tribal Police and a Tribal Fisheries swift-water rescue team were involved in rescue operations all over the Umatilla Indian Reservation during the flooding in early February. Other rescue operations were led by Umatilla County in coordination with Pendleton’s 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation unit of the Oregon Army National Guard. The people in this photo were plucked from a house at Thornhollow on Feb. 6. In total, 54 people and some pets were rescued between Feb. 6 and 9, the East Oregonian reported. Contributed Photo/Debra Croswell

Carrie Sampson from Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, and Kim Minthorn, one of many volunteers, sort through food items contributed to the Community Center for distribution to residents affected by the Umatilla River flooding. Donations from throughout the area poured into the center. CUJ photo/Casey Brown


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020


The Umatilla River escaped its channel and surrounded homes and other buildings on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in early February.

CUJ photo/Dallas Dick

Tribes establish Command Team, begin work with city, county, state and federal agencies “It was a good night last night,” said Paul Rabb, acting executive director for CTUIR, at the 11:30 a.m. debriefing. The flood developed quickly. Early reports to Rabb were that there may be some flooding. However, as crews prepared sandbags, the water started rising fast and didn’t stop. “By 3 o’clock [Thursday], it was all out war,” Rabb told the Board. “The water rose higher and faster than anyone thought.” The City of Pendleton reported that the levee that runs along the south side of the Umatilla River did not breach, but there was seepage from the swell in groundwater at several points along the levee.

By Casey Brown of the CUJ UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION – Flooding that began Thursday, Feb. 6 continued Friday. Recordbreaking water levels gushed down the Umatilla River causing damage on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and in three counties in Eastern Oregon. Early Friday morning, agencies started to put together the initial data of what took place Thursday. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) had established a Command Team that scheduled a briefing for 11:30 a.m. Pendleton City Council, Echo City Council, and Umatilla County declared respective states of emergency. Oregon Governor Kate Brown also declared a state-level State of Emergency for Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Department established a Command Center and scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. Water levels remained high and were still in the flood stage, but slowly receded throughout the day. However, they began and ended the day at flood level. At the beginning of the day, the measuring station at Gibbon was at 10.68 feet, and closed out the day at 8.62 feet with a maximum the day before of 12.14 feet. Rescues continued, roads remained closed, and new areas took on damage. BRIEFINGS During the CTUIR briefing, Paul Rabb, incident commander for CTUIR, reported to the Board of Trustees (BOT) and assembled CTUIR staff from multiple departments and tribal entities, including Public Safety, Department of Children and Family Services, Public

March 2020

Paul Rabb, Incident Commander for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, leads one of many meetings at the Public Safety Building. Also pictured is former Public Safety Director Ray Denny, who recently retired, and Erin Biencourt, child support enforcement attorney. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Works, and Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center. BOT members appropriated $100,000 for immediate costs such as hotel room rentals for displaced families, food, equipment rental and more. Overall, no injuries or mortalities were reported, but several rescue operations continued.

Confederated Umatilla Journal

RESCUES AND ROAD CLOSURES Several roads and bridges remained closed around the reservation and rescue operations were led by Umatilla County in coordination with Pendleton’s 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation unit of the Oregon Army National Guard. In total, 54 people and some pets were rescued between Feb. 6 and 9, the East Oregonian reported. According to the Sherriff’s office, “On Friday, February 7th, 26 people were evacuated by Umatilla County Search and Rescue. Most of the evacuated were from the Umatilla River Road/Bingham Road area and Mill Creek Road Area.” The Bedford Bridge remained closed with a warning from the City of Pendleton to stay off of until assessments could be completed and the bridge officially reopened. Other bridges in Pendleton – Eighth Street, Main Street and Tenth Street – remained open. Residents who lived in the Gibbon and Bingham Day 2 - Tribes establish command team on page 17C



A pickup blocks traffic on the Thornhollow Bridge that was damaged during the floods in early February.

CUJ photo/Dallas Dick

Rescue mission becomes recovery effort By Casey Brown of the CUJ UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION – Floodwaters from the Umatilla River remained high after a major flood event Feb. 6-7 on the Umatilla Indian Reservation and across three Eastern Oregon counties. Heavy snow, followed by rain and warm temperatures, melted in the Blue Mountains and muddy water surged down the foothills through the Umatilla River basin and caused millions of dollars of damage. On Saturday, Feb. 8, water levels were still in the flood stage, but they had receded about 2.5 feet from the previous day, according to data from the United States Geological Survey. One measuring station on the Umatilla River is located near Gibbon. While rescue operations continued and families remained displaced, area agencies, including the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), looked ahead to recovery. The CTUIR Command Team met with other agencies to discuss the logistics of clean-up including the strategic placement of more than a dozen dumpsters and how best to educate the public on where to put natural debris versus garbage. They held a meeting with guests from other agencies attending in person and on the phone. Umatilla County


Items like boots and buckets from D&B Supply were donated to residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Emergency Management, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Oregon Emergency Management, Oregon Health Authority, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joined in. The conversation centered on getting out accurate and timely information to the public. A big focus was on the need to document damage for insurance purposes. The American Red Cross, which came to Umatilla County Feb. 6, ramped up recruitment efforts for volun-

Confederated Umatilla Journal

teers. Residents, who had been contributing generously to donation centers in Mission and Pendleton, had been asking what else they could do. Red Cross answered with a call for volunteers to start cleaning up, especially in the Riverside area, which was hit especially hard by the floods. The shelters in Mission at the Community Gym and in Pendleton at the Pendleton Convention Center, as well as others around the area, remained open. The number of people staying each night began to decline as people found family or friends to stay with or were able to return home. Some residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation were housed in Wildhorse Resort & Casino. City of Pendleton reopened the Riverside area and families began to return to their homes to assess damage and start the clean-up process. More of the same was expected for the rest of the weekend as area agencies waited for state and federal agencies to come to the area on Monday, Feb. 10. FEMA joined CTUIR on Monday to meet with the Command Team in the morning and begin technical assistance for assessments of personal property and public infrastructure on the reservation. That day many schools and businesses reopened, clean-up continued, and assessments across the region ramped up.

March 2020


She slammed the front door to keep the water from rushing into the house By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


ISSION – Darcy McKay told her mother and grandchildren it was time go. She opened the front door and then slammed it shut to keep the rushing water from pouring into her house. Darcy and her 26-year-old son, Sean, his two boys, Calvin, 8, and Carter, 4, plus her mother Rebecca, 70, live in the small orange house that sits midway between the Pendleton city limits and Mission. Darcy is the sister of Damon McKay, who also lives at the house. The Umatilla River is probably a quarter mile to the north. Piles of concrete and rock and sand from Pendleton Ready Mix are directly east and would presumably form a huge dike that would force any flood waters to circumvent the McKay house. Damon didn’t think they’d be in any danger. In fact, he thought if there was any concern it would be water backing up from behind the house on the west side. But that’s not what happened. “I can’t believe it blew through those rock quarries,” Damon said five days

later on Feb. 11, standing next to a black flatbed truck in the muddy yard next to the house. “My focus was here in the back. I thought it would back up over here to the back of the house and it was, but then it came through Ready Mix.” Before things got crazy in the house that night, Thursday, Feb. 6, Calvin, a second grader at Washington School, came home on the bus. He was riding on the left side of the bus and first saw all the cars and people watching at the pull-out across from the Saddle Restaurant watching the chocolate milk roaring down the raceway below. “He was crying when he saw the water,” Darcy said. “I tried to assure him that everything was going to be okay, but I was pretty edgy myself. I’d seen the posts and I was uneasy. I’d been crying in the bathroom and I threw up I was so scared.” Damon took over when he saw Calvin screaming. “I saw it was building up and I had to have a talk with him. He was screaming ‘I don’t want to die.’ At that point I told him it would be fine because it didn’t look like the water was rising,” Damon said.

Darcy McKay stands at her backdoor with grandchildren Calvin, 8, and Carter, 4, five days after flood CUJ photo/Phinney water inundated her house just west of Pendleton Ready Mix.

Calvin, soft spoken five days after the flood, said the water scared him. “I didn’t want anyone to die,” he said after making his way out of the house on crutches. He broke his tibia in a dirt bike accident and had a boot on his foot the night of the flood. “I didn’t want anything to happen to the house.” As the sun went down, Sean was

Sean McKay takes a break inside the home where his grandmother, mother and sons live near Pendleton Ready Mix on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The family stayed at Wildhorse Resort Hotel after they were forced to leave. Volunteers helped clean and repair the home. Contributed photo/Damon McKay

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal

riding a four-wheeler back and forth checking the river. When he returned from his third trip he told his mom it was time to go. Darcy said they could hear branches breaking and water crashing around them. Calvin was in his uncle’s bedroom winning on a video game when his grandmother, Darcy, went to the front door. That’s when she opened the front door. It was dark, but it wasn’t quiet. She could hear the water rushing toward her. She could see reflections off the brown tide coming at her. She ran back through the house yelling at the kids and her mother. She grabbed some clothes. She was glad she had shoes on because a second pair was floating in the living room. “My grandma told us to go out the back,” Calvin said, so he limped out into the dark rising water. “It was already knee-deep in the back,” Darcy said. The porch light was on so Calvin and the others were able to find their way to his great-grandma’s car. Rebecca drove with Calvin in the passenger seat, Darcy and Carter in the back. They worried out loud as the car dipped through a deep puddle getting out of the driveway. McKay house on page 15C


Rising river too fast for Riverside residents By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


IVERSIDE – Water was coming up over the sandbags that Adrienne Wolf and two dozen volunteers were tossing as fast they could around her house at the end of Anvidon Lane on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 6. “We didn’t know where to put them it was coming at us so fast,” Wolf said. That’s when two Pendleton firemen came up and told the crew they needed to stop. In a group frenzy, the work continued. Wolf said one of the firemen told them, “‘No. Stop and listen. It’s not going to peak until midnight. There is going to be two feet of water “I’ll never going through your home. You have to evacuate.’” forget the That was hardest thing to fireman hear, she said. “That your home is going running to be under water.”

down the street and yelling ‘You have to leave. Get out now. The road is going to be washed away.’”

IT STARTED THAT AFTERNOON when Wolf was at work. In her role at Keystone, Wolf is quality assurance manager. She deals with a lot of pressure. She heads an organized, structured department. “It’s a great team. We go in and handle situations.” About noon a co-worker called and asked if her house was underwater. She’d seen a flash flood warning for Riverside. Wolf went home and saw

no water. “It didn’t even look like a problem. The river was high but honestly I had no concern. I thought it was hitting flood season early, but I went back to work.” At 1:45 p.m. she heard the river level had risen so she went back home. “It had come up a couple of feet. I went inside and within five minutes it had come over the top. It was

Adrienne Wolf, left, talks with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, with her brother, Jeremy Wolf, who is the vice-chair of the Board of Trustees for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Wyden walked through the flood damaged area of Riverside on the east end of Pendleton on Feb. 9. with Riverside residents, plus city and county leaders.

CUJ photos/Phinney

coming toward the travel trailers out there. I called my partner Kristi (DelGrosso) and told her ‘You’d better come home because we’re going to have some damage. We need sandbags.’” Wolf said her head was spinning. She thought about that little magnetic sticker with the emergency phone numbers everyone is supposed to have stuck to their refrigerator. “It was a helpless feeling. What do I do now?” At noon, she and her neighbor had walked down to the river where they noticed the flow was within its bounds. She ran back now and knocked on that neighbor’s door. In that amount of time, only a few minutes, the

Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts led a contingent that included U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (yellow Oregon Ducks hat) around Riverview Trailer Park Feb. 9 to observe flood damage. Also on the tour was City Parks Recreation Director Liam Hughes (yellow jacket) and CTUIR Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jeremy Wolf (gray jacket on right) plus city and county leaders.


Confederated Umatilla Journal

water was lapping at her house. “Every five minutes it came up another 20 feet,” Wolf said. “Okay. She said she’d get sandbags because they were doing that at the trailer court,” Wolf said, referring to Riverfront Mobile Home Park just to the west. “She said she would see if they’d dump a load of sand in the driveway.” Kristi came home with her kids, Stormy, 15, and Addison, 13. “The look on their faces was horrible.” Addison was balling her eyes out. THE SAND WAS DUMPED and then volunteers arrived. “The neighbors showed up and it was all hands on deck. They knew if we didn’t stop it here … There were probably 25 people here filling sandbags. Neighbors, strangers. Archie Broncheau was driving by up above (Highway W) and saw us and drove down to help.” When the firemen told them to stop it was sudden. But there wasn’t time to watch the catastrophe unfold. One friend took three dogs and another took the cat. Wolf told the girls to pack bags. Addie asked for how long? “Just get your clothes, we have to go,” Wolf told the youngest teen. Adrienne and Kristi walked around the house pointing to things they knew they would lose – mattresses, a couch - things they couldn’t salvage in the time they had. Valuables, including regalia, were the first things removed from the house. Then they piled as much stuff as possible on kitchen counters. They brought patio furniture inside to stack more items on. They took clothes from cabinets. They moved items from bottom drawers into top drawers of dressers. They stacked blankets in the bathtub and weighted them down with sandbags to keep the septic tank from backing up through the pipes. (It worked.) “I’ll never forget the fireman running down the street and yelling ‘You have to leave. Get out now. The road is going to be washed away.’” Before she and her family left, Adrienne smudged the house with sage and said a prayer. River rising in Riverside on page 16C

March 2020

Swift water rescue crew called to action By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


EACHAM CREEK – The morning of the day before the flood hit, Andrew Wildbill was up Meacham Creek below the first bridge checking chinook traps. At 5 a.m. Feb. 4 the powdery snow was about 2 feet deep. Wildbill fetched a plow so he could get to the trap about a quarter mile from the highway along the access road. The traps collect little salmon about 60150 mm for pit tagging. That afternoon it started to rain. A downpour. By 4 p.m. the snow was “pretty much slush.” That night the temperatures were at or slightly above freezing but it snowed in the Blues. In some places heavy, wet snow measuring close to 2 feet fell on top of the snow that already was on the ground. Temperatures climbed and it rained. That evening another crew from the Tribes’ Fisheries Program went to check traps as they do during every flood event to make sure the equipment stays safe. At 10 p.m. they reported that Meacham Creek was okay. The next morning at 5:30 a.m., Wildbill said it was nasty. “The river was rolling. I thought it was safe, but the crew didn’t need to be in harm’s way,” he said. THE FISHERIES CREW headed back toward Mission and had pulled over at Kanine Road when Tribal Police relayed a call from Pendleton Police asking for assistance to rescue a man stranded on an island in the Umatilla River. Six members of the Tribes’ Fisheries Crew have received certified swift water rescue training. They aren’t a quick-response team. Rather they’ve taken the training as a crew to keep themselves safe when they are out on the water during their jobs. The crew includes Wildbill, Jeremiah Bonifer, Craig Contor, Aaron Quaempts, David Thompson Jr., and James Dave. Contor and Bonifer responded to Pendleton where they picked up the drift boat on a trailer that was being repaired. They were at the site behind the Pendleton Little League fields at about 9:30 a.m. They assessed the situation and determined it was a low risk operation. “The plan really was a straight forward event,” Bonifer said. “We put in above the island and looked for debris as we drifted down to the island.” The man had actually pitched a tent the night before on dry land perhaps 40 yards from the edge of the river. Along with his dog, the man’s bike and backpack were well away from the channel when he

The Tribes’ swift water rescue team tried to reach two people inside a house at Thornhollow, but the river was too high. They left and rescued a man and his baby. When they returned, two people who tried to help were on the roof of the house. All four were eventually plucked from the house by a National Guard helicopter.

East Oregonian photo

went to sleep. When he woke, however, he was on a gravel bar about 20 yards wide and maybe 40 yards long surrounded by rushing water. Pendleton Fire Department used a rescue throw bag to toss a line from the bank to the gravel bar where the man, who was with his dog, tied the end of the rope to a single remaining tree. Bonifer said he thinks the water was chest deep, and swift. “It’s really hard to tell exactly how deep the water was, but there was no chance to wade or swim to the shore,” he said. ABOUT 1 P.M., the Tribal Fire Department called for the swift water rescue team at Thornhollow where two elderly individuals were trapped in a house. The Tribes’ swift water team is the only crew that has the training and equipment to do such recoveries, but experienced individuals also know when not to risk their lives. Wildbill, Contor and Quaempts in a pair of Fisher-

ies rigs, one pulling the drift boat on a trailer, followed the Tribes’ Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) truck sometimes through 30 inches of water. It reached a point where they decided to follow a road grader, knowing that if they became stuck the highprofile grader would be able to pull them out. “It was safe if we were going slow, but if we got going too fast, the current would cause the engine to stall,” Wildbill said. They made it to Thornhollow at the Buckaroo Cross near the house in question, which was about 200 yards off the road. But the water was too deep and too swift for the drift boat. INSTEAD, THEY TOOK another call about a mile downstream where a man and baby were stranded on a deck outside a home surrounded by rushing water. The home was about 250 yards away from the road. “We saw a good way in,” Wildbill said. “If we Certified swift water rescue crew on page 16C

At left, a man and his baby wait on a deck to be rescued by members of a CTUIR swift water rescue team. Above, rescue crews gather as a man and his child walk away. The Tribes’ Fisheries Program certified swift water rescue team includes Andrew Wildbill, Jeremiah Bonifer, Craig Contor, Aaron Quaempts, David Thompson Jr., and James Dave. Top photo by Randy Bonifer Left photo by Bobi Compton

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal



Flood waters inundate the Minthorn Springs facility where the Confederated Tribes hold adult Pacific Lamprey. Approximately 800 adult lamprey were being held in totes at the facility, according to Gary James, CTUIR Fisheries Program manager. Some 61 lamprey still inside two totes were recovered and released. Fisheries staff are hopeful that most of the adult lamprey probably were flushed down the river with the flood waters. The facility is also home to a steelhead brood pond that was holding 45 summer steelhead. James said the pond appeared to be operational and the fish appeared to be okay, CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Minthorn Springs lamprey facility inundated By Casey Brown of the CUJ


ISSION – The Confederated Tribes’ lamprey project took a hit in the flood that struck the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Debris from inside the lamprey facility at Minthorn Springs on the Umatilla Indian Reservation washed up several yards downstream from building. Seen here is a winch in the foreground and a stainless steel workstation in the background. CUJ photo/Casey Brown

‘Freaking warriors! You have to be to exist for 500 million years.’ - Kanim Moses-Conner, CTUIR Fisheries Tech


Feb. 6. The Tribes’ fisheries facility near Minthorn Springs that housed lamprey tanks and holding pens for steelhead was a casualty of the record high waters that caused heavy damage throughout the region. Pacific lamprey, an ancient fish that look like an eel, are a First Food of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla peoples. Restoration of the lamprey is a high priority for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), who are considered an advocate for the conservation and preservation of the prehistoric fish in the Columbia River basin. At the time of the flood, there were about 800 adult Pacific Lamprey and 45 summer steelhead at the Minthorn Springs facility. The steelhead appeared to be okay in a holding pond, but the large blue totes holding the lamprey were swept away in the flood. The Minthorn Springs building was originally built in the 1980s and has been used by the lamprey program since 2003 to house multiple lamprey tanks, said Jackson. Aaron Jackson, the lamprey project manager for the Tribes, was on site early Feb. 7 to show the damage caused by the still-raging waters. “This is Mother Nature,” Jackson said. “This is what happens when you don’t take care of the environment.” Two of the totes, with their lids still on, were visible near the facility, but the status of the fish inside was unknown at that time. Some of the tank lids “popped open,” so those lamprey had a better chance at survival because they would have access to fresh water and oxygen, whereas those trapped in closed containers were faced with depleting oxygen levels. Jackson estimates that 400-500 lamprey had the chance to escape. The floodwaters that had washed parts of an access road away had receded by two to three feet by the morning of Feb. 7. Jackson and two technicians, Jerrid Weaskis and Kanim Moses-Conner, described the initial incident. “You can’t even see the river from here usually,”

Confederated Umatilla Journal

Jerrid Weaskis checks out the lamprey in one of the totes recovered after flood waters receded. The totes were washed away from the Minthorn Springs facility operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Contributed photo/Kanim Moses-Conner

Jackson said. On Feb. 8 the water was still visible from the access road, but it had receded much farther. The building was almost accessible again. However, water continued to run through the building and was still flowing 200 yards outside the river channel. On Feb. 10, fisheries staff salvaged the missing lamprey tanks and 61 lamprey that were left in two of the totes were recovered and released. “Freaking warriors! You have to be to exist for 500 million years,” said Moses-Conner. “Some of these lamprey survived on minimal water and O2 for over 3 days,” he said in a social media post. “We were able to locate and salvage 2 totes after the floods washed them down river. I know how tough these fish are, so I expected survivors.” Jackson says the lamprey project is moving forward. “Right now, we are in cleanup mode and assessment at the facility,” he said. “The next step is planning for rebuilding an adequate holding facility for lamprey.”

March 2020

SW winds brought snow, rain and warm temps By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


ENDLETON – The flash-flood-like catastrophic melt in the Blue Mountains Feb. 6 was caused by an untimely combination of unusual weather events, according to Marc Austin, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Pendleton. The way the storm arrived in Eastern Oregon was far from typical. Warm “chinook winds” that wrap around the foothills of the Blues are not uncommon here, but this weather event was different. “Normally if we get rain on top of snow and then rapid snow it’s with winds from the west or southwest and warm air off the Pacific,” Austin said. This time the winds came across the cold northern Pacific Ocean and then down across northeast Oregon - but they originated in the South Pacific. “There was a lot of moisture in the air. A lot of times that moisture is rung out over the Cascades, but we couldn’t squeeze it all out so we got heavy rains ‘It was where we already had a lot of snow,” Austin said. “If the almost like system had the usual Northyou had a west flow it would have been flash flood mountain snow and valley rain.” that you put However, conditions were in a river.’ warmer than usual because - Marc Austin, the source of the air in the National Weather upper levels of the atmoService Meteorologist sphere originated closer to Hawaii and on the far eastern edge of a ridge of high pressure, Austin said. “The moisture was channeled in narrow areas in the Umatilla and Walla Walla river basins. If the band of moisture would have been a little farther east or west, other areas would have been dealing with flooding but nothing like we saw,” Austin said. It was not a normal event at all in terms of snow accumulations and then heavy rain on top of dense snow. Austin noted that 17 inches of snow in La Grande on Feb. 5 had melted to 3 inches within 24 hours. It was a similar melt in the Blue Mountains on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. “The water has to go somewhere. It came down the side of the mountains. Mud slides, rock slides, running off into the basins with a lot of small creeks severely flooded,” Austin said. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE started “sensing we might have issues” on Feb. 2 – five days before the flood hit downstream. “We started messaging some stuff to our partners that there were possibilities. By Monday (Feb. 3) we were seeing the possibility of heavy snows transitioning to rain in the mountains.” The weather pattern early in the week indicated the moist air coming from the south Pacific and showed the potential for “heavy liquid equivalent” in the

This chart shows 88 years of annual peak flows for the Umatilla River near Gibbon, Oregon, above the confluence of Meacham Creek. Record breaking flows were observed during the first week of February 2020 with a peak of 13,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Feb. 6, 2020. This epic flow exceeds the 200-year recurrence interval and falls in the realm of a 500-year frequency of return with an upper and lower range of 10,130 and 16,300 cfs (95% confidence). The lowest peak flow recorded was approximately 800 cfs on April 2, 1966. The chart was created by Kate Ely, Umatilla Basin Hydrologist in the Department of Natural Resources for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The data are from the website https://nwis. waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/peak/?site_no=14020000&agency_cd=USGS (1933-1918). The last two years of data (2019 and 2020), however, are preliminary and there may be corrections to the maximum peak flow due to instrument error. The Umatilla River at Highway 11 bridge in Pendleton was measured by the USGS on Friday, Feb. 7, after the peak, at 19,600 cfs, which is in the realm of a 100-year event.

mountains. Initially, the NWS forecast anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of snow in the mountains. “That quickly transitioned into flooding when we knew the freezing level was rising. There was a lot of melt. Anytime you have rain on top of snow you’re going to have melt quickly,” Austin said. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the NWS started notifying the public on Facebook and Twitter of the predicted rapid rise on area rivers and the possibility of flooding on Thursday and Friday. The potential for flooding notice generally covered all the way west to the Cascades and north to the Yakima area – and pretty much anywhere near moun-

Three horses eat grass from a patch surrounded by flood waters in the Umatilla River on Feb. 6, 2020. A weather pattern that started in the South Pacific brought heavy snow, warm temperatures and rain to the Blue Mountains, creating flash-flood like conditions on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

CUJ photo/Casey Brown

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal

tains in the region. Snow was heavy Tuesday evening and then it started to rain. It snowed a couple of inches in Pendleton and anywhere from a foot to 20 inches in the mountains. That was on top of the snow that already was on the ground. Then it stared to rain and the freezing level rose. “There was a lot of snow and new fallen snow rapidly melting. It was raining and above freezing,” Austin said. The next day, Wednesday, Feb. 5, NWS issued an official flood warning at 11 a.m. for the east slope of the Cascades and the foothills of the Blue Mountains in Oregon and Washington. The warning came at 4 p.m. at Gibbon. (The first flood warning was issued in Pendleton came at 8:17 a.m. Feb. 6.) Temperatures stayed above freezing and it kept raining for nearly 48 hours. The mercury climbed to 42 degrees on Feb. 5, to 43 on Feb. 6, and 43 on Feb. 7. Temperatures didn’t drop lower than the mid-30’s. On Feb. 5 a little over 2.5 inches of rain fell and the next day another 1.68 inches fell. “We’re talking about over 4 inches of liquid,” Austin said. “After that big snow, on top of fresh snow was that rain.” At Gibbon the Umatilla River gauge crested at a record 12.56 feet – more than two and half feet higher than the previous record of 9.5 feet. The Umatilla River gauge, which gets moved around, crested at 19.2 feet late Thursday night. “It moved through so fast,” Austin said. “There was such a rapid rise and a pretty rapid fall. It was almost like you had a flash flood that you put in a river.”


From the sky Four days after the mountain melt, the flooding on the Umatilla Indian Reservation was still a sobering sight from a helicopter Feb. 9. Kat Brigham, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Confederated Tribes, pictured on the opposite page, and Frank Anderson, CTUIR Public Works Director, took a flight in a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to assess the damage upriver from Mission.

CUJ photos by Wil Phinney 10C

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March 2020

March 2020

Confederated Umatilla Journal


Old gym shows heart of the community By Casey Brown of the CUJ


ULY GROUNDS – When the floods came to the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the community knew what to do: come together. At the “old gym” in the July Grounds, dinner was on the stove, volunteers showed up to take in donations of food and blankets, and community members, including members of the Board of Trustees, gathered to break bread while they waited for news. The news began trickling in. First, there were stories about families that had to evacuate, near misses, and animals that were stuck in mud. As more news came in, people dispersed to help those in need. The number of people was in flux as the night continued on. The flood broke records as water gushed from the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The Umatilla River spilled from its banks causing millions of dollars in damage. “We’ve had floods and flash floods, but nothing like this,” said Julie Taylor, Department of Children and Family Services Director and Incident Logistics Manager. Taylor was the woman in charge and she was joined with staff from her department, including Kathleen Peterson, workforce development coordinator, and several others. “We had so many people show up to donate clothing, water, food and time. It was a very heartwarming reminder that we are all related in one way or another,” Peterson said. Staff from the education, recreation, public works, and planning departments along with Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, also joined them. Workforce Development, BOLSTER, and CTUIR Youth Leadership stepped up as well. “We had a little over two dozen of our participants show up to assist at the Warming Station, with flood recovery at homes and at the gym, accepting donations, assisting with people picking up donations and serving meals,” Peterson said. “Everyone came together to help and was ready to care for our community members,” Taylor said of the atmo-

In response to a 500-year flood event that hit the Umatilla Indian Reservation Feb. 6-7, the Community Gym was established as a designated shelter and coordination center for volunteers and donations. Clair Huesties, language apprentice in the Education Department, sorts thought donations of food and household items. Families stayed in the Cmuytpáma Warming Station across from the gym or were housed at Wildhorse Resort & Casino. CUJ photos/Megan Van Pelt

sphere in the gym. When people got hungry, they hit up the gym. Meals were served throughout the week thanks to volunteer cooks and community donations. “We had families staying up at Wildhorse that came to the gym to eat. The following delivered food daily to assist the flood survivors: Eden’s Kitchen, The American Red Cross and Team Rubicon,” Peterson said. “Community members showed up with cooked food, canned food and essentials.” Large donations also went to the gym or went through Taylor. The National Guard brought cots and waterproof fire starters, Red Cross checked in, businesses contributed buckets and boots, people called with hay for

displaced animals, someone asked if anyone needed a mobile home. The donation center handled it all. Taylor emphasized that volunteers did more than check tasks off a to-do list. “Our staff and volunteers had a listening ear and comforted many with the devastation and loss of all belongings, homes, and animals. “No words to express, but the hugs went a long ways in this time,” she said. When it was time for the gym to return to a community space to play basketball and lift weights, the donations were moved to another building. “A lot of people were

Bailey Watters lives in Riverside and lost a lot in the flood. When she needed clothes to replace what she’d lost, she visited the Community Gym in the July Grounds on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The gym became the designated shelter and donation center after massive flooding of the Umatilla River Feb. 6-7.


Confederated Umatilla Journal

saddened at the amount of damage done by our Umatilla River and that it happened so quickly but the one word that has been repeated over and over is community,” Peterson said. While the future is uncertain, the people of Nixyaawii are sure of one thing. “I do not think that we can always predict the type of emergencies we will have, but it is comforting to know that we have an amazing community always ready to pitch in when and where needed,” Peterson said.

Julie Taylor speaks during a CTUIR Command Team meeting. She was in charge of coordinating volunteers and donations and housing displaced residents.

March 2020

Iskuulpa Creek Washout Tribals on side-by-side retrieve four stranded by mudslides By Wil Phinney of the CUJ


SKUULPA CREEK – Carmalita Chalakee just wanted to get her babies out first, even if her baby was an adult with a child of her own. There had been 18 inches of snow at the house, about 23 miles east of Mission along Iskuulpa Creek, before the heavy rains and temperatures in the 40s set the melt in motion in the mountains at higher elevations. Tribal Police Detective Max Daggett and Wildlife Officer Dick Bobbitt, riding a side-by-side through mudslides, reached Chalakee, Mike Jones, Sheena Spino and Spino’s 4-year-old daughter, Gia, on Feb. 7, a day and a half after the flood hit in the Blue Mountains. “I told them if you’re busy we’ll (Carmalita and Jones) be okay for a couple of days. The only thing we didn’t have was water,” Chalakee said. It wasn’t exactly a traumatic nightmare for the foursome, but it was much less than comfortable. Chalakee has lived with Jones for nine years along Iskuulpa Creek in an isolated CTUIR Housing Department home about three miles south off Bingham Road. Her daughter and granddaughter were staying there temporarily. Chalakee, who is employed at Wildhorse Hotel, and the others were leaving for work about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, and had driven about halfway to the little water falls when they encountered the first mud slide. It was impassable so they turned around and went home. They haven’t had a land-line telephone for five years so Jones climbed a hill to get cell service. He was able to call the hotel boss and let him know Carmalita wouldn’t make it to work. He came back soaked and cold. At 9 a.m. they lost power. There’s no wood stove in the house; they heat with propane heater that pushes air with an electric fan so they bundled up. “We kept each other company and stayed head strong. And we paced,” Chalakee said. Jones and Chalakee drove back and forth to the big slide three times to see if anybody might be on the other side trying to get to them. On the third go Jones walked up the hill and initially was unable to get through on his phone. “I was trying to get my babies out of there,” Chalakee said. Finally, Jones was able to call 911. Umatilla County dispatch asked if it was a good number. Not really, Jones told her. They headed back to their cabin but were stopped because the road had been washed out about 150 yards short of their home. Fortunately, there was a little unused cabin to take brief shelter. “I was so mad, cold, wet and tired,” Chalakee said. They walked the rest of the way home. “We bundled up to be warm, got some snacks, got some candles going, found some flashlights. I had FM Iskullpa Creek washout on page 15C

March 2020

Sheena Spino and her 4-year-old daughter Gia prepare for a ride with Tribal Police Detective Max Daggett from where they were staying with Sheena’s mother, Carmalita Chalakee, at a house on Iskuulpa Creek, about 23 miles east of Mission. Landslides caused by flooding trapped them overnight before Tribal Police could get there in their side-by-side vehicle.

Photo by Tribal Police Officer Dick Bobbitt

Pendleton’s 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation unit of the Oregon Army National Guard, was busy rescuing people upriver on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The helicopter came in as Carmalita Chalakee and Mike Jones were riding out on the side-by-side with Tribal Police.

This photo shows one of the mudslides on the road along Iskullpa Creek to the house where Carmalita Chalakee and Mike Jones live. Four people were trapped overnight when their pickup couldn’t get to Bingham Road. Contributed photos/Carmalita Chalakee

Confederated Umatilla Journal


CONTINUED - The FLOOD of FEBRUARY 2020 Day 1 - Umatilla River level rises Continued from Page 2C

Tribal Health Center sprang to action by bringing food to the center and initiating their emergency response protocols. Tribal staff from the Department of Children and Family Services, Education, Board of Trustees, Yellowhawk and more awaited news in the gym. Events were happening fast and news was coming in haltingly about who had been affected and what was expected for the rest of the night. RESCUES/EVACUATIONS The water came in so fast that it caught many people off guard. Rescues and evacuations started Thursday (Feb. 6) morning and continued through Sunday (Feb. 9). CTUIR staff from the Fisheries program assisted in the first rescue. Jeremiah Bonifer and Craig Contor are trained in swift-water rescues, so they worked with the Pendleton Fire Department to get Dennis Ross and his dog, Pixie, from an island that was suddenly cut off as the waters rose. The East Oregonian (EO) reported that Ross had been camping on the piece of land in the riverbed without incident. “I had gone to bed to the sound of rushing water on one side of me,” Ross told the EO. “And then I woke up to the sound of rushing water all around me.” The EO reported that the river’s levels had risen from 400 cubic feet per second Wednesday night to 7,000 cubic feet per second Thursday morning. By 5 p.m. the water was on Northeast Riverside Avenue and Pendleton Police Department had an official evacuation in place. The levee that runs on the south side of the river in Pendleton was off-limits, and while it didn’t breach, the influx of water caused groundwater underneath the downtown area to swell, which added to the impact. The Bob White Babe Ruth baseball fields on the west end of the levee were covered in water by Thursday evening. The industrial area near Westgate in Pendleton suffered as well. Keystone RV sustained heavy damage to the manufacturing facilities and lost trailers that were upturned and swamped. ROAD CLOSURES Thornhollow Road closed when the bridge became

Thornhollow Road was closed after a portion of the Bridge was washed out during the February flood of the Umatilla River. Several other roads and bridges were closed as well, including Highway 204 on Weston Mountain, Bingham Road and Upper Cayuse Road. Even the Highway 11 exit closed and re-opened throughout the evening as water came over the bridge by Mission Market. Contributed photo/Debra Croswell

impassable. Highway 204 on Weston Mountain was closed due to landslides. As the flooding came downriver, bridges and roads were affected. Bingham Road and Upper Cayuse Road were closed by 4 p.m. Thornhollow Bridge washed out and became impassable by 4 p.m. A section of Oregon Highway 11 near Riverside, one of the hardest hit areas, closed. Vehicles stacked up at the nearby lookout and at area businesses as people unable to travel watched the muddy river below. Umatilla Mission Highway 331, which runs from the I-84 exchange near Arrowhead Travel Plaza to the Highway 11 exit, closed and re-opened throughout the evening

as water came over the bridge by Mission Market. Interstate 84, which runs from Portland to Boise and ends in Utah, sustained early damage and was closed in both directions. It remained closed for several days as staff from Oregon Department of Transportation assessed the condition of the road underneath the standing water that covered the roadway about 20 miles west of Pendleton near Stanfield. CONCLUSION Water levels reached their peak on Thursday, but the flooding was not over. More damage affected residents and business on Friday, and the initial aftermath was assessed Saturday and Sunday as people began to see the effects of the largest flood event in area history.

State, federal agencies assess flood damage on Reservation Oregon Governor Kate Brown, center in brown jacket, travelled from Salem to the Umatilla Indian Reservation Feb. 14 to assess damage and meet with those affected. BOT Chairwoman Kat Brigham and CTUIR staff showed Brown several areas damaged by the recordbreaking floodwaters. Other state agencies came to the reservation or met with the CTUIR Command Team over the phone including the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Oregon Health Authority, Office of Emergency Management. Federal agencies were involved as well, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Senator Ron Wyden’s Office, and more. CUJ photo/Phinney


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

CONTINUED - The FLOOD of FEBRUARY 2020 McKay house Continued from page 5C

“We went to Mission Market and then to the casino. For five days. We were in one room one day and then a nice room for four days,” Calvin said. Damon said little Carter, who was dancing around on the flatbed, was going stir-crazy inside the hotel room. That night after his sister, mother and nephews left for Wildhorse, Damon said the water was so deep he couldn’t open the doors to his pickup. Sean stuck around to help the neighbors. “He was running around in shorts and tennis shoes and that water was cold. His legs were sore from fighting the current,” Damon said. Damon removed valuables, including guns and archery equipment, then he and Sean took turns staying to protect the house. The next day, even though Tribal offices were closed, Ashley Picard at TERF helped provide a dumpster so Damon could get to work on the interior. He pulled the wet and muddy carpet and started up the wood stove even though most of his wood pile floated away. Some heavy firewood rounds were scattered several hundred yards away in a field to the west, but the split firewood was likely somewhere near the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s concrete ponds downstream. Lots of other stuff, from bathroom toiletries to a little army toy, were stuck in the long grass bent over from the high water. Somehow, at the edge of the field, a little bicycle was still standing on its training wheels.

Damon McKay surveys the property behind the house where his mother and sister live near Pendleton Ready Mix. The Umatilla River broke through huge sand and gravel piles and, among other things, created this deep crevice, scouring it to the river-rock gravel. CUJ photo/Phinney

Iskuulpa Creek washout Continued from page 13C

radio on my phone,” Chalakee said. Friday morning, they went to their vehicles – Jones and Chalakee in the pickup, Spino and her daughter in the car – to warm up and charge their phones. As it warmed up Jones cleaned the grill so they could cook. But about 1:30 p.m., the dogs started barking. “Someone’s here,” Chalakee remembers hollering. It was Daggett and Bobbitt in the track-wheeled side-by-side. Bobbitt said it was a good thing they had the right vehicle. “The road was washed out so we originally had to go up on the side of the hill, Buckaroo Canyon, and work our way around and back down to Bingham Road to Iskuulpa Creek Road,” Bobbitt said in an email. From there the officers were able to get to the Chalakee house. The road was barely drivable when the officers picked up Spino and her daughter, but by the time they got back down to Bingham Road the water had dropped a couple of feet, Bobbitt said. Tribal Police Chief Tim Addleman transported the Spinos down the hill to Mission. Back at the house, Chalakee was relieved. “I told Mike, ‘Okay, we can relax.’ Mike changed out of his wet clothes because he had gone up above the trees again to call people after the Tribals had come to get the kids. I’d been covered up keeping warm.” About 3 p.m. Chalakee heard the four-wheeler again. Bobbitt told her Spino told him to come back and get her mother because she was sick. It was a fib, but Chalakee wasn’t going to argue.

March 2020

With Chalakee inside and Jones holding on in the back, they road along the washed-out road – past a Chinook helicopter – back to Bingham Road. “I told Mike, ‘Dang, we missed the helicopter ride by a couple of minutes.’ It followed us down the creek.” At Bingham Road, they jumped in with Tribal Officer Tommy Thompson for the ride to Mission. Three dogs, two cats and Bacon, the 9-year-old potbellied pig, stayed at the house. They went back to the house Feb. 11 and fetched the dogs and clothes. The other pets stayed in the house. Bacon has his own quarters in the mud-room. Jones filled a couple bowls with food and water. “He’ll be okay,” Chalakee said Feb. 14. The foursome had been at Wildhorse Hotel for a week when Chalakee talked to the CUJ. Chalakee didn’t mind it after seven days, but she missed not having transportation. She said she’d soon be ready to get back to the mountain, at least for a while. “It’s beautiful up there, but I feel isolated without a phone. We don’t have TV because there’s too many trees for satellite. Just electricity. We watch a lot of movies,” Chalakee said. At some point, she thinks she’ll be moving closer to Mission, but for now it will be back to Iskuulpa Creek. It flooded about five years ago and it probably will again, she said. Mud flowed down the side of the mountain like lava at Iskullpa Creek Feb. 7 where Carmalita Chalakee and Mike Jones live about 23 miles east of Mission. Contributed photo/Carmalita Chalakee

Confederated Umatilla Journal



Craig Contor and Jeremiah Bonifer in the drift boat rescued a man from dry land that became an island after rushing flood waters surrounded him behind the Little League fields in Pendleton. Aaron Quaempts, at right, helped navigate using a rope that had been tossed to the man and tied off on a tree on the island.Six members of the Tribes’ Fisheries Crew have received certified swift water rescue training. They aren’t a quick-response team. Rather they’ve taken the training as a crew to keep themselves safe when they are out on the water doing their jobs. The crew includes Andrew Wildbill, Jeremiah Bonifer, Craig Contor, Aaron Quaempts, David Thompson Jr., and James Dave. Contributed photo/Randy Bonifer

Certified swift water rescue crew Continued from page 7C

missed the house, we could still get back to the road.” The threesome pushed the drift boat through waist-deep water into a field where the current was calmer, far enough out that they thought the vessel would float toward the house. “We wanted to stop in front of the house, but we were going too fast at the house and missed,” Wildbill said. “We came around to the back side where slower water, like an eddy, had been created behind it.” The crew was able to pull the boat back over a fence to the back porch where the man and his son were waiting. A life vest was put on the father, who cradled the babe. While Contor did the rowing, Wildbill navigated by learning from the father where obstacles like fences and fence posts might be submerged. “We found a good path and got back to land,”

Wildbill said.


hen it was back to Thornhollow Bridge where now four people were stranded. Two neighbors had reached the house in a boat, which had become tangled in a rope, Wildbill said. The neighbors were now on the roof of the house while the two residents remained inside. Wildbill, Contor and Quaempts tried a “walk check.” That is, they eased their way into the current to see how deep and how fast it was going. “We knew it was too fast and we turned around,” Wildbill said. Contor and the guy with the grader drove down from the front of the house into the driveway to see if that might be an access point, but that didn’t work. Too many obstructions from the top, too much velocity from the side. They told the Umatilla County Search & Rescue to

use a helicopter and at 8 that night the four people at the house were lifted to safety. With all their rigs stuck in high water, the swift water crew and EMTs had to spend the night at Thornhollow. Wildbill and Matt Sheoships stayed in a truck. Two others stayed at a dry home. Tribal EMTs stayed at Bill Weathers’ place. The next morning, a Chinook helicopter picked up the Fisheries Crew and two search-and-rescue leads. The swift boat guys were dropped off at the top of Thornhollow grade and the county boys went on to Mill Creek. On top of the hill, the Tribal foursome walked to one of the trucks parked where drivers were watching the action below. They were taken the back way over Kirkpatrick back to Mission and the following day retrieved their rigs.

Rising river in Riverside Continued from page 6C

“Then we raced out the door.” All the cars were gone, but a friend had a “lifted” truck able to plow through heavy water. They jumped in the rig and grabbed a couple of others from the neighborhood. The slugged up 35th Street to get away. WOLF KNOWS HER BUSINESS. She’s good at it. She keeps it together. But at home that day, “I felt so lost. What do you do?” Adrienne, Kristi and the girls got a room at Hampton Inn. She learned that four tractors were trying to move trailers out of the water at Keystone. “I was amazed. You can’t picture the impact on the community,” she said. She didn’t want to picture it. “We stayed away from the house. We didn’t watch. It’s the worst feeling in the world to look at the news, on the front page. In one night I lost my home, two production plants and my office,” she said. It was so deep in her office that there was standing water on the top of her desk. “I can’t wrap my head around it,” Wolf said. “I still don’t know if it’s hit me yet.”


Adrienne Wolf points to the high water mark on the back of her house in the Riverside area on the east side of Pendleton. Wolf, her partner, Kristi DelGrosso, and a host of neighbors and friends, sandbagged the house, but couldn’t keep up with the rising river. CUJ photo/Phinney

THE TASKS AHEAD ARE NON-STOP. “Where are we going to live, where are we going to stay?” Julie Taylor at the Tribes’ Department of Children and Family Services has been helpful. Wolf has registered at Red Cross. Her brother, Jeremy, is letting them stay in his RV for a month, maybe more, at the

Confederated Umatilla Journal

Wildhorse RV Park. Wolf thinks she might get some money from the Thor-Forest River Crisis Relief Fund. Ironically, Thor, which owns Keystone, and its competitor, Forest River, joined forces to create the fund. Adrienne and Kristi, who bought the house a year ago, also bought flood insurance. Still, situations like this require so much work. “I get up every day with a list. Who to call, what to do. It’s a never ending list of priorities so I try to stay as organized as possible.” On Tuesday, Feb. 11, she checked the calendar on her phone. She was to move to the RV, get propane, supplies from the Community Gym for the girls, start tearing out the wet baseboard drywall, contact WTechLink, upload photos for the insurance adjuster, and think of something for dinner. ADRIENNE SAID SHE WAS very thankful for all the people who helped, especially during the frantic times. “We wouldn’t have saved or been able to do the preventative things without their help,” she said. She said she feels fortunate and knows there are others far worse off. She said she didn’t know where a lot of people would stay or live. She said she was thankful for family.

March 2020

CONTINUED - The FLOOD of FEBRUARY 2020 Day 2 - Tribes establish Command Team Continued from Page 3C

Road areas upriver were notified that the National Guard would go up Saturday, Feb. 8, to identify those leaving home and inform anyone choosing to stay that they would need to be self-sufficient for several weeks. “Even when flood waters recede, road damage is extensive in your area and it could be weeks before you can drive in or out of the affected area,” the evacuation notice read. WELLNESS CHECKS AROUND THE REZ Emergency responders, CTUIR Housing, members of the BOT, and other teams went door-to-door throughout the morning and afternoon to check with residents who live along the Umatilla River. Areas near Kirkpatrick Road and Lavadour Lane were reported as safe as of 11:30 a.m. Friday. However, up river near Iskuulpa Creek and Bingham Road there were several families who were still stranded. One family’s power was out, another family had an elder in a wheelchair as well as toddlers in the house, and another family was without insulin. Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center called elders to check on them. The calls began Thursday night and continued through Friday. Pharmacists were on call for anyone who needed medications, and other clinic departments, including medical and behavioral health, were also on standby. Many displaced families stayed with friends or family members, while others stayed in designated shelters at the Community Gym and Pendleton Convention Center. Some families were placed by CTUIR in the hotel at Wildhorse Resort & Casino. Several federal agencies were in contact with Rabb and BOT Chair Kat Brigham Thursday and Friday. They reported that U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Governor

Part of a large group of volunteers, Hati Guifey and Brian Frank, front, and Willa Wallace and Alaina Mildenberger, right, fill sandbags Feb. 7. at the Nixyaawii Governance Center on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

Kate Brown, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Indian Health Service (IHS) had been in contact with the Tribes. WATER QUALITY CONCERNS Water quality concerns led to an advisory from CTUIR for those on private wells to boil their water

or use bottled water until their wells could be tested. Municipal water from the City of Pendleton, which also provides tap water to the Umatilla Indian Reservation, was safe to drink. The water treatment plant was taking on a substantial amount of water, so the City warned that water could have discoloration or an odor, but that it was still safe to drink.

Assessments made of Fisheries facilities, dams MISSION – The Fisheries Program in the Department of Natural Resources for the Confederated Tribes took inventory Feb. 11 less than a week after the muddy waters came roaring out of the Blue Mountains through the Umatilla and Walla Walla River basins. Gary James, manager of the Fisheries Program, said things were likely to change, but the initial assessment gave biologists and technicians a roadmap for the repairs that need to be made this spring. An estimated 51,000 spring Chinook smolts were lost at the Thornhollow facility, which is owned by Bonneville Power Administration but operated by CTUIR. There were 193,000 fish on site and James said the loss represented about 6.5 percent of the total to be released into the Umatilla River this year. The remaining 142,000 fish that survived the flood were released into the river due to an inability to hold fish until the targeted March release date. “There was much sediment deposited in the ponds, along with the dead fish, which would jeopardize all the remaining fish,” James said. “Losing fish is a bummer,” James said, “but we’re looking at it as an early release. It’s disappointing, but we’re fortunate that it wasn’t worse.” Minthorn Springs and the lamprey facility is highlighted on the opposite page.

March 2020

Threemile Dam – Everything operational. Sediment and debris accumulation. Maxwell Canal – Canal breached; facility totally inundated. Heavy damage to canal and screening facility. Westland Canal – Ladder inoperable due to gravel and debris buildup. Feed Canal – Sediment buildup but lamprey passage structure appears to be okay. Stanfield Canal – Canal breached; facility inundated. Road to headgates impassable. Here is a production report for the South Fork Walla Walla River facility - Partially inundated. Major channel migration occurred – about 75 feet in direction of facility. Main outfall structure below the abatement pond is gone. Juvenile bypass now isolated on far side of channel and will likely be dewatered as flows drop.

Here are some production reports for the Umatilla River: Pendleton Acclimation Facility – Intake sustained heavy infrastructure damage. Screen cleaner inoperable and one screen panel missing. No vehicle access. No fish on site at time of assessment. Imeques – Ponds breached but no structural damage. Building and shed flooded but no damage. No fish on site. Here are some passage reports for the Umatilla River:

Confederated Umatilla Journal

Walla Walla River passage reports 4-Ditch Consolidation – Screen faces graveled in; flow cut around rubber dam to north. Burlinggame Canal and Dam – Canal breached; facility inundated. Nursery Bridge Dam – Fish exitway graveled in. Ladders will be inoperable once flows drop. Eastside ditch headgate washed out and upper ditch is gone/filled in. Little Walla Walla River – Bypass outfall graveled in. Ladder plugged. Other production facilities: Lookingglass Hatchery, Dayton Acclimation Pond, Tucannon Hatchery – no major damage.





City of Pendleton officials reopened Riverside Feb. 8 so residents could assess damage and begin clean-up. Riverside was one of the hardest hit areas when the Umatilla River spilled from it’s bank Feb. 6-7. Above and below photos were taken at Riverview Mobile Home Estates during the initial cleanup. CUJ photos/Casey Brown

A Toyota Camry gets a good rinse in a new Umatilla River channel near Wenix Springs. The new riverway was created when the flooding Umatilla River broke through a levy about four miles downstream from the Thornhollow Bridge. A portion of the river cut south toward the county road and now runs about three quarters of a mile before it returns to its normal channel. The water can’t return any sooner to the original channel because it can’t cross another levy that’s still intact. Photo by Kat Brigham

A Riverside resident washes his clothes in a trailer equipped with washers and dryers. He said he lost everything and is grateful for what theTribes provided to all community members.

Donations of all types, including clothing, poured into the donation center in the July Grounds. People donated bedding, household items, cleaning supplies, pet food, hygiene items, and more.

CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt


Confederated Umatilla Journal

CUJ photo/Megan Van Pelt

March 2020

A National Guard helicopter prepares to land near a flooded area in the mountains on the Umatilla Indian Reservation after mountain snows melted Feb. 5 and 6. Contributed Photo/Christopher Bond

CUJ Photos The CUJ requested and received photos taken by several people who witnessed flooding on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Many of those photos are scattered throughout this Special Report.

The home of Ross Simmons on Cayuse Road was surrounded by muddy water on Feb. 6.

This photo of a backhoe was taken Feb. 7 from the top of the railroad tracks near milepost 15 on Cayuse Road. The backhoe belongs to Richar Obornik and sits in his driveway.

Parts of Riverview Mobile Home Estates and several single-family homes in Riverside were under water after the Umatilla River spilled from its banks during record-breaking flooding in early February.

Photo by Robin Compton

Roads were washed out and kept upriver residents from reaching their homes during the flood.

CUJ photo/Casey Brown

Roads above Gibbon were impassable from flood waters, mud and rock slides.

Contributed Photo/Ryan Ferea

March 2020

Contributed Photo/Andrew Wildbill

Confederated Umatilla Journal

Contributed Photo/Ryan Ferea



It only takes two inches of water to sweep a car away. This Umatilla Tribal Fire Department ambulance was in much higher water than that Feb. 6 about 14 miles up Cayuse Road from Mission. Personnel left it upriver until water receded enough for them to retrieve it. It was successfully recovered Feb. 8.

Photo by Robin Compton

Chris Dearing, tribal member, uses a backhoe Feb. 10 to move debris from a washed out part of Cayuse Road just below the Thornhollow Bridge. CUJ photo/Casey Brown


Confederated Umatilla Journal

March 2020

Profile for Confederated Umatilla Journal

Confederated Umatilla Journal 03-2020  

The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly tribal newspaper of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla peoples. It is published on their...

Confederated Umatilla Journal 03-2020  

The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly tribal newspaper of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla peoples. It is published on their...