Editorial: Move quickly on Chinook recognition
"When it comes to American Indian policy, one of the first moves by the 111th Congress and the Obama administration should be formally recognizing the Lower Columbia region's Chinook Indian Tribe.

It is a national embarrassment that the thousands of members of this mighty tribe are among the last to be considered for a federal designation that is both powerfully symbolic and pragmatically useful. By all rights, Chinook status should have been favorably decided about a century and a half ago.

It would require a 500-page book to describe all the miscues, betrayals, manipulations and mistakes that resulted in the Chinooks still waiting for federal recognition after all these decades. It is enough for now to say that many tribal members still live among us, still are Chinook and still await justice.

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, who represents Pacific County, introduced legislation last year designed to bypass the Bureau of Indian Affairs' notoriously Byzantine and politicized tribal recognition processes. It can be argued that BIA incompetence and animosity are largely to blame for the Chinooks' long sojourn in the legal wilderness. The last Congress ended without substantive progress on Baird's legislation. It must now be reintroduced. It deserves rapid passage."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Chinook recognition must move soon (The Daily Astorian 1/17)

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