Posts Tagged ‘Bay Center’
Posted by pallix on April 8, 2009
Posted by pallix on April 8, 2009
We do have in our little community what is called Bay Center Association. It is a service-oriented group comprised of willing volunteers from among the community of Bay Center. Residents of Bay Center are automatically members of the Association. The Association goes back to the early origins of the formation of Bay Center.
I’ve seen documents in the Association records that show the sense of community in advocating that males in the community donate one day a month towards helping with the heavy work in making improvements within the community. I’ve seen an old photo at the Dock of The Bay which shows what looks like a community dinner with long tables set up for a shared meal.
Since we moved here to Bay Center, in Nov 2002, my husband agreed to hold the office of President, when a neighbor was telling us as newcomers about the Association and the timing was such that it was time for a new slate of officers. We were too new to the community then to know much of anything about how the community works together. Both of us were employed at the time and I helped him where I could and we rather bumbled our way through that first year of holding office. At that time it was called Bay Center Improvement Association.
By March 2003, our country had invaded Iraq, and two from our immediate family who were active military deployed to Iraq; my son-in-law and my nephew. I left my employment to be more available to my daughter and her three children (my grandchildren) while her husband was deployed. Spending intense years in activism from 2003 through 2008 as a military family speaking out against the Iraq war, I did not get much involved in local region community, nor in my immediate community of Bay Center. (Not wanting this to be a blog post about Iraq war, you can see more about my activities if you are interested at my blog; Dying to Preserve the Lies).
With the winter windstorm (hurricane) in Dec 2007, my attention quickly was turned to the immediacy of living in our small community within this sparsely populated county. I began attending the different meetings of the different groups that are at work in our unincorporated village to get a stronger sense of how we interact as a community, especially in times of severe weather crisis situations and other crisis situations. I did attend some of the Bay Center Association meetings and like many groups or organizations, the heavy lifting is handled by the few who do volunteer for as long as they are willling to lift or until they say no more. Then the hunt is on for who else would be a willing volunteer.
And that is how I came to agree to take on the function of president for the Bay Center Association for this next year (May 2009 – April 2010). I agreed when two other new to the Association meeting attendees agreed to take on some of the other offices, which gives the Association a slate of ‘new’ and probably green officers. So it should be interesting to see what develops over the next months, and if nothing else, it will make for some material for blog posts here.
First thing I do is create a website for Bay Center Association… check it out! Content will likely be developed from the monthly meetings.
Posted by pallix on April 8, 2009
excerpts from article in Chinook Observer
BAY CENTER – The Chinook Indian Tribe has moved its office from the Sea Resources building in Chinook to Bay Center.
Tribal Chairman Ray Gardner said the move had been in the works for quite some time. "When you look back historically, it made sense to move to Bay Center because 90 percent of our staff live there and there’s a very large volunteer group there."
The opportunity to move the tribe’s headquarters north came last year when tribal member Zoe LeCompte donated her grandfather’s home to the group. The house, at the entrance to Bush Park, had been empty for years and was in danger of being demolished. It has been rehabilitated with the help of Naselle Youth Camp crews and tribal members.
Now, after five months of work, Office Manager Jennifer Lagergren and office staff Beverly Buckner and her daughter Audrey Anderson are moved in and handling tribal business at their new digs.
The tribal office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The new phone number is 360-875-6670.
Posted in Bay Center, Chinook Nation, Chinook Observer, Chinook Tribal Center, Native Americans | Tagged: Bay Center, Chinook, Chinook Nation, Chinook people, Chinook Tribal Office, Pacific County | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pallix on December 8, 2008
Met our newest Bay Center neighbor via Facebook. How interesting! He or they contacted me via my Facebook to let us know they were new neighbors, and paid us a nice compliment on our house.
They bought the house that I so love – the one I’ve been drooling over practically since we moved here and bought our house. Two owners ago, we were guests of the then-owners of that house and I was so taken with the house and the view. When that couple divorced, the house went up for sale, and eventually it sold to a couple in Seattle. While it was on the market I was looking for creative ways that we might think about buying it while keeping our own historic house. The house went back on the market after a tragedy befell the Seattle couple, and now another couple from Seattle is buying it.
Looking forward to meeting them, and welcome to the community!
Posted by pallix on December 8, 2008
Lovely weekend activities. Last year at this time, everyone was still digging out from the storm (Dec 1-2, 2007) with those hurricane-strength winds at 140 + mph. Can’t really know the full strength of those winds because the gadget that measured and registered the winds at 140 mph broke.
This year, no windstorms, some temperate, cool weather, bits of sunshine, some normal rainfall, fog and mist. Just the kind of mix of winter (well, guess technically it is still Autumn) weather to have her on the bay.
One of the ‘new’ neighbors who built their beautiful new home here in Bay Center right on the edge of Willapa Bay held a holiday Open House gathering Saturday. Seemed like most of the people living here in BC attended. I’ve been working to integrate into community activities after the long six years of intense and heightened political activism where we have focused so much of our attention, time and energy with efforts to end Iraq war, get the troops home. It’s been a nice change, quieter, and I’ve had chance to get to know our neighbors on a different level.
Arthur, on the other hand, hasn’t had that kind of time to get better acquainted so it was delightful to be able to introduce him to many of our neighbors he hasn’t yet ‘officially’ met.
At the Edwards holiday open house, (and happily looks like this will be annual gathering here in BC ) we met a few of the newly moved here neighbors who are either building new homes or refurbishing existing homes. Bev Olson was there, and I was happy to get a chance to congratulate her on her upcoming trip to the other Washington (DC). She was invited by Rep. Brian Baird to be his guest at President-Elect Barack Obama inauguration. How exciting for her, and she certainly deserves the opportunity.
I have decided to visit the 2 churches in our community to see what kind of a fit we can find. I’m impressed with the one that is building it’s new church building on the pay as you go system. They have made progress with the building and it is looking modestly beautiful since they broke ground a few years back. We went to the services Sunday, and I was impressed with the warm welcome, the humility of the people and the sense of community amongst them.
I do miss our Episcopal church community at St John’s in South Bend, where we were training to be come licensed lay preachers. We did revisit last year. Not much about it has changed, and we know we are not ready to return to being involved with the level of activities we had given at St John’s. The tug and pull in discerning our passion in ministry we felt was calling to us to challenge the morality of the Iraq war, both as lay preachers in church fellowship and as a military family with loved ones deployed in Iraq.
As the intensity of the war rose, we felt more compelled to put our energies into civic activism, as we were receiving numerous invitations to speak at various events along with our obligations to Sunday services at our church. In discernment meeting within the Bishop’s Committee, we came to decide to follow the passion of what we believed was our ministry calling, notifying our church family we would need to be freed from the weekly Sunday responsibilities.
That was four years ago. We had already moved, began buying our home in Bay Center, but continued to attend services in nearby South Bend. It will be interesting to see if we can adapt to a different church with a different belief set. Thus, we will attend services at both churches in our little Bay Center community to see if there is an adaptable fit.
One church is conservatively evangelical or pentecostal, and I’m surprised we can even begin to consider continuing to attend after these politically charged years of evangelicals inserting their religious philosophy, such as it is, into the political arena and heavily influencing the controversial polarization of the last eight years. I had a talk about this with the pastor after services, and he seemed a bit perplexed at what I was asking, assured me he did not tell his congregants how to think, how to vote, and remained free of politics.
The other church is Methodist, and I really don’t know much about Methodist religious philosophy. I do remember reading that George W. Bush was a member of Methodist church. That, sadly, is enough to put me off right there, but again, somehow these tiny church congregations in our community do not seem to be aware or part of the bigger picture with religious insertion into politics that have led to the election of George W. Bush, and his decision as President and Commander-in-Chief to invade and occupy Iraq, bringing with it the immense carnage on all sides that has marked the last six years in Iraq.
Following my own thoughts, back to this past weekend. It was refreshing to meet with so many of our neighbors in the community in new venues. It was refreshing to just be one among many of the neighbors who make up our community in Bay Center.
Posted by pallix on November 23, 2008
I was capturing some of the scenery on our drive home. We were driving home as the sun was starting to set. I was able to get a nice set before we lost the light. Not bad considering these were taken as a passenger in a moving vehicle.
Posted by pallix on January 2, 2008
While it appears I last posted an entry Dec 7, 2007, that is not quite accurate, as I began trying to chronicle the media reports as they unfolded, by collecting them and creating a special page for the articles here – titled Storm of the Century, Pacific Northwest, December 2007. The second week after the storm, on December 11, Pacific County held a debriefing meeting calling together all of the emergency, disaster responders across the entire county. It was a public meeting, and I saw an announcement of the meeting in Oregon newspaper, which I then tracked down to find Pacific County Commissioners website, made contact by email indicating if it was public meeting, I wanted to attend and also input. I was advised it was public meeting, yes, but intended for debriefing and time wouldn’t permit public comments. I invited my mother to attend with me, and I think the two of us were the only ‘public’ to attend the meeting.
I took notes, and continued adding comments to the original story of my report of our experience that was already at Washblog. For more detail of how those weeks between the storm and now unfolded, visit and read the comments at Washblog. My husband, Arthur, during this time was fully engaged as bi-lingual case manager with DSHS and was deployed to Grays Harbor CSO to help with delivery of emergency/disaster related DSHS programs. Grays Harbor and Lewis Counties were declared FEMA disaster counties, and that specification permitted and authorized the DSHS programs . He was putting in 14 hour days for an entire week, and the applications numbered in the thousands, a thousand and more a day. The following week Pacific, Mason and Thurston counties were declared FEMA disaster counties. He was putting in the hours at his own CSO in South Bend in Pacific County.
During this time period, I had taken my vehicle into Steve’s Auto for repairs, and repairs were clearly needed, but he had to order parts which were delayed in arriving due in part to after the storm clean up delaying normal operations. We were without vehicle for almost three weeks, until after Christmas, so for my mother and I, it meant staying pretty close to home most of that time and cabin fever set in from time to time.
I had wanted and tried to share at the Dec 11 county debriefing meeting, something of the Bay Center experience of the storm and Sheriff Didion seemed to want to discourage me from sharing, citing that there would be public community meetings in January 2008. Not much deterred, I wanted to make sure some report from Bay Center became part of the county record, as to date I had heard nothing from or about Bay Center, and wondered why volunteer fire department, or Bay Center Community Association or someone from Bay Center was not representing on this county debriefing meeting.
I actually don’t know if anyone from Bay Center was invited to participate in the debriefing meeting and perhaps declined to come, or if representation of Bay Center community is met via South Bend representation, ie, South Bend Fire Department, South Bend Police. But if that is the case, it seemed odd to me that the small community of Nemah was represented at this meeting, and reported their experience as much like what we experienced in Bay Center – isolation and no information and a seeming failure of communications across the county. So I insisted on making a bit of a report as a member of Bay Center Community Association, to report on actions taken by the Bay Center Store.
Earlier in the meeting, there had been a go around of introductions, and I had introduced as resident of Bay Center, public, and contributing editor of Washblog. Perhaps Sheriff Didion saw me more as contributing editor of Washblog, and less as active resident concerned about the disaster response to and in my community of Bay Center. After about three attempts to explain I wanted to report on the response in Bay Center, Sheriff Didion permitted me to speak, whereby I gave a very brief report of the actions of the staff of the Bay Center Store in the absence of any other contact or communication in, to or out of Bay Center. It seemed the representatives in the meeting listened politely, but I felt a bit unrecognized and that perhaps I had not made my intentions clear – wanting something of representation from the community of Bay Center at this meeting. Later, when the meeting was concluded, Sheriff Didion did seek me out and apologize saying he meant no disrespect. I said I understood what he was trying to facilitate and the intention of the meeting, and having years of experiences with business meetings, know he was keeping meeting on track and did a good job.
So, I am still puzzled, then, about the coming together of my community in Bay Center to meet to discuss things of this nature. Actually the Bay Center Community Association did have it’s monthly meeting the week after the county debrief meeting, and I did not attend – other things came up. I did query in email to the secretary who took notes of that meeting, inquiring if there had been discussion of the storm, community preparedness, county response. She said that had not been part of the discussion, and more the meeting settled an administrative issue about a financial matter as to who was to be signed onto the Association’s check book. I responded that I was disappointed the storm had not come up for discussion.
On another day, when my mother and I went out to walk the dogs and check the mail, I was having discussion about the storm, the community response, the county response and talking about the county debriefing meeting I had attended. Several from the town coming in to check their mail entered into discussion, and we had a bit of an informal town hall type meeting right there in the post office. Later at the town Christmas pageant, I had another opportunity to talk to some from the community about the storm, the response, including the wife of one of our own who is National Guard and participated as National Guard deployed to help in Pacific County.
About 2 weeks after the storm, I wrote letters to the editor that I sent to Pacific County Press, Chinook Observer and Willapa Harbor Herald to compliment the staff of the Bay Center Store, the community, the work of all who participated across the county in responded, while also indicating Pacific County could do better. The letters were long, and I had thought they would not be published, or if published, would be edited for length. Surprisingly both Pacific County Press and Chinook Observer printed my letter in it’s entirety; Pacific County Press making it an article, Chinook Observer placing it in center of the many other letters to the editor they received commenting on the storm and response of Pacific County. (text here of my published letter to editor). Willapa Harbor Herald has yet to publish anything I or Arthur have submitted to their paper as letter to editor. Perhaps we are not following their particular established protocol, as we have sent ltte by email, and perhaps they don’t take email ltte. Something for me to check into another time, perhaps I will phone them to learn why they don’t publish the ltte he and I have sent.
Wanting to ensure that when Pacific County was declared a FEMA disaster county, that the community of Bay Center understood they could then be eligible for the DSHS disaster related food program, Arthur drafted a flyer that I could post at the Bay Center Post Office. I sent a copy of his flyer as well to Stephanie Fritts, PCEMA (Pacific County Emergency Management) and I’m glad I did as it became one of the notifications that were shared around the county (including in the Willapa Harbor Herald – h0w ironic).
We finished up the holidays with pleasantries the Saturday before Christmas. Arthur’s daughter payed us an overnight visit and we took her and my mother to Astoria, Oregon for a high tea; a Christmas Tea at the Windsor House of Tea. It was charming. There had been no opportunity to do any kind of Christmas shopping at all, and this was our one day to do a bit of gift buying, so we did a hurried shopping, and later that evening exchanged gifts. On Christmas Eve, we attended Christmas Eve worship services at our church, St John’s Episcopal in South Bend, WA. It wasn’t until Friday of Christmas week that I got my vehicle back, and by then it was time to take my mother back to her home in Tacoma.
A most different and unusual Christmas holiday, but very much neighbors helping neighbors and my husband had the opportunity to be a bit of Father Christmas in a real kind of way to people who lost so much due to the storm, and at the very least he was able to provide comfort, humor helping people to chuckle a bit, even in the face of losing so much as he approved application after application. It wasn’t he alone, and there were DSHS case managers, supervisors, administrators, directors from across the state putting in the long hours over the Christmas holiday season to help people in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Mason and Thurston counties during the disaster of the storm of December 1 -2, 2007.
I am trying to find ways to put away the affect the storm has had on me emotionally, as life move on, and we transition from the end of last year into the new year. It isn’t so easy to let it go, and while I know we were not nearly so adversely affected as many were, somehow, I have experienced this storm as an intrusion into reality as not only a personal wake up call for how we will need to adjust our lives while we remain living in this community and county, but also it needs to be a wake up call of bigger proportion than just us, just this community, just this county, just this state. We experienced the best of neighbors helping neighbors and some of the hallmarks of rugged individualism that comprise the people in this region, but we also experienced, or I experienced what I perceive as a glimpse into the future as global warming marches onward. No matter the cause, no matter the diversity of reactions, it sure seems to me that global warming won’t be waiting for humans to make up their minds if it is a real phenomenon or not, but that nature will respond to whatever is and has been affecting it irrespective of whether humans want to react to it proactively or not.
I remember once when I was a supervisor of a team of case managers, a training exercise I attended, an exercise in which we were all to pretend we were in a submarine which was unable to surface and the oxygen was limited. Our instructions were that we had xx amount of oxygen, and our job was to survive xx number of minutes on the air we had without verbally speaking to one another. I was stunned that the participants in this exercise were following the instructions and were not verbalizing, but motioning by charades how to share the oxygen. I deliberately broke with the rules, and spoke aloud, saying this is ridiculous, we are about to run out of air, and will drown in this submarine, and we need to talk to make a plan quickly, and yet we are ‘following instructions’ to not talk aloud?! We are about to die and need to work together to avoid that outcome. Unfortunately for me and the participants I was not convincing, or persuasive, so the miming and pantomine and charade acting continued, and when time was called for the exercise, sure enough, our group was dead – had died.
The lesson I took from that is that while I may well have been ‘right’ in this instance, but without stronger skills of persuasion, I was unable to convince my group of my viewpoint, mission, and purpose, so I perished with the group. The actions of the team, in this instance, put me in more peril than trusting my own instincts, yet I needed the team to avoid perishing. In some ways, it feels like that exercise was a bit of the reality we experienced here in Pacific County this past month – the month of the storm of the century.
Posted in Bay Center, Bay Center Grocery Store, Bay Center proper, Chinook Observer, climate warming, coastal storm 2007, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, Pacific County Commissioners, Pacific County Press, storm 2007, storm of the decade, Willapa Harbor Herald | Tagged: Bay Center, Bay Center Store, Chinook Observer, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioners, Pacific County Emergency Management, Pacific County Press, St John's Episcopal Church, Washblog, Willapa Harbor Herald | Leave a Comment »
Survived hurricane-force winds of 119 mph, infrastructure collapse Pacific County, Washington coast, December 2007 Pacific Northwest storm
Posted by pallix on December 7, 2007
More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to ‘Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007′
Today is Friday, Dec 7, 2007 and we just got power back yesterday, Thursday, Dec 6, 2007, after being without power, communications, access in or out of the county since the storm hit last Sunday, Dec 2, 2007. It was what it was advertised by the Chinook Observer to be – the storm of the decade and it affected most all of Washington coastline with grave flooding inland and great parts of Oregon coastline. Most hard hit with massive flooding was Lewis County and Grays Harbor County, our neighboring counties. Pacific County was hit hard too, enough to collapse a seemingly fragile infrastructure; no power, no land phones, no cell phones, no 911, no access in or out of the county and even emergency communications out of county to notify status were limited and curtailed. It was an eerie feeling to be so completely cut off.
Later as the week wore on the reality of not being able to access our own bank account or get gas as gas pumps need electricity to work, and word of possible contamination of water in South Bend/Raymond, the fragility of the infrastructure not only in our own county but any county became evident to me. We must learn to rely on individual preparedness, and preparedness and help from among our community to see us through those early days of catastrophic weather events. And given what we experienced with this storm, I’m inclined to believe that with climate warming, we will see other such storms, perhaps not at that magnitude, but enough to cause breaks in the infrastructure here in Pacific County and in neighboring counties.
Sorting out how to tell parts of the story, and rather than one big fat blog entry, I will want to break it down some. For the days without power and communications (phones, cell phones, 911, emergency access), I started a journal. Now that we have power back and I am seeing via internet news all the devastation around us in our own county and neighboring counties, I recognize we are among the very fortunate.
Providing the link to the Washblog interview Noemie did with me when she phoned me yesterday to check up on us where she gives an account of what I shared with her.
I just spoke with Lietta Ruger, one of Washblog’s editors, and she asked me to post a little summary of our conversation. She plans to post something more in-depth later.
She and Arthur Ruger live in the Willapa Bay community in Bay Center. There is no locally owned broadcast media in the area, and so they rely primarily on King 5 TV for their storm warnings. KIRO and KOMO generally don’t provide coverage on their area. She said that no warnings came through mainstream media on the severe impacts that their community was expected to face from the impending storm last weekend. It was only because they happen to subscribe to what she describes as a tiny newspaper, a weekly called The Chinook Observer, that she learned her community was facing perhaps “the storm of the decade.”
Having received this one warning, she and Arthur brought out their candles and blankets and cooked up the food in their refrigerator and battened down the hatches – just in case. The storm hit on Sunday and the three of them – including Lietta’s mother – stayed indoors for two days as winds up to 119 miles an hour raged outside. There was no electricity, no phone service, no cellphone service. After the storm subsided, the roads were so impassible in every direction, and the power outage and the lack of emergency service so complete — that as far as people in her community knew, they might have separated from the rest of the United States and floated off into the Pacific Ocean.
It wasn’t until yesterday that a local store selling crank radios opened and she and Arthur were able to tune into coverage from Astoria, Oregon to find out the extent of the damage to the rest of Washington state.
Even then, most of the stores remained locked, the social services office, where emergency help is usually offered, remained closed and dark. The gas pumps, which run on electricity, don’t work. People who have medical emergencies are out of luck. And at least one woman did die, when her house caught on fire from the candles she was using to provide light.
There was no safe way to travel by water, either, because the water was moving too fast and there were too many other dangers, low tree branches, objects, etc. Even the county’s weather monitoring equipment failed. We know that winds reached 119 mph in Bay Center and 120 mph in Astoria, she said, because private citizens had equipment that withstood the wind, while the wind broke the county’s equipment.
The problem wasn’t with community members. People helped each other quite a bit. In fact, the owner of the Bay Center grocery store, a woman named Lori, drove from Long Beach through all the hazards to Bay Center and fired up the generator and stove and cooked soups and made sandwiches to serve the people in that community. And her husband and son did that in the other grocery stores owned by the family in other nearby communities. But now that the electricity has come back on, and she’s learned that the rest of the world is still here — though Grays Harbon and Lewis Counties appear to have suffered even more — now she’s feeling pretty upset.
This is a warning, she said, that we need to get our act together on emergency preparedness. We are experiencing the effects of climate change and we can expect more. This kind of storm is not on the usual scale. It’s a clear signal, as well, that we need some major changes in how we do media. Pacific County needs its own broadcast media. We talked for awhile about testimony at the recent FCC hearing in Seattle that local communities are endangered by the centralization of broadcast media. That is absolutely correct, she said. Now that she has a little time to think, it’s hitting her, the extent of this collapse of infrastructure: the lack of emergency preparedness and media coverage and the blackout on all services during the storm or for the 2 days afterwards. “This complete and utter failure, she said, “is unacceptable.
(read more at the Washblog story)
A few photos below taken by my mother of Bay Center in Pacific County, after the 2 days
of hurricane-force winds. Click on photos to see larger view.
More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to ‘Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007’
Posted in Bay Center, Bay Center Grocery Store, climate warming, coastal storm 2007, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, pacific northwest storm 2007, Pacific ocean, South Bend, storm 2007, storm of the decade, willapa, willapa bay, Willapa Bay in the news | Tagged: , Adna, Bay Center, Boisfort, Centralia, Chehalis, coastal storm, Doty, Elma, FEMA aid, flooding, Frances, Grays Harbor County, hurricane, Interestate 5, Lebam, Lewis County, McCormick, Menlo, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, Pacific County Emergency Operations Center, Pacific Northwest, Pe Ell, Resources, State Route 6, storm, typhoon, Walville, Washington state, willapa | 2 Comments »
Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007
It’s not mine to say, so better said by Native Americans of the Chinook Nation, link
The Chinooks paddled in to Point Ellice and brought the Corps food when their own boats could not manage the turbulent Columbia. Lewis and Clark praised the Chinooks’ skill and beautifully crafted canoes, then stole one on their way home.
The Corps of Discovery was the vanguard of a steadily increasing flow of traders, both from sea and inland. Within a few years, white people established trading posts in Astoria and in Vancouver. They pushed the Chinooks deeper inland and brought with them disease, including smallpox, malaria, and measles, wiping out almost 90 percent of the tribe. Where Lewis and Clark and their men once drifted down the Columbia past the fires of hundreds of Chinookan villages, now all that was left were abandoned longhouses and hastily dug graves.
To survive, the Chinooks married into other tribes and lived in insulated pockets where they could still fish and carry out their traditions as much as possible. One of these pockets of Chinooks was, and still is, the town of Bay Center, Washington.
It is still a Chinook stronghold, although many of the younger generation have moved away. At its peak, over a third of Bay Center’s inhabitants were Chinook. Charles Cultee, the Clatsop whose stories Frank Boas transcribed in 1894 in the book Chinook Texts, was one of the Indians who lived in a cabin along the beach. Phillip Hawk’s father, John Hawks, was another. Phillip was the last Chinook born in the village. His family moved up the hill to Bay Center when he was 5 or 6 years old and enrolled him in school. That’s when he learned to speak English.
Phillip is in his mid-80s now, but still strong from fishing crab and oysters and from his daily walks along the beach and through the swamp of cattails near the old Chinook village site. Walking today, we pass the carcass of a bear. We pass where the orchards used to be. We pass posts that once held up boardwalks through the swamp. Finally we come to the old village site on Willapa Bay, plotted out long ago so that people could walk out of their houses be at work immediately harvesting oysters. These days the beach is covered with spartina, an invasive weed from China that was carried in the bilge water of passing ships. The spartina chokes out the sweetgrass used by Chinooks in making baskets. The sweet, small native oysters are nearly gone, too, muscled out by the vigorous Pacific oysters seeded by Japanese fishermen.
The village site is grown over by alder and underbrush. Phillip shows us the plots that belonged to his family, the Cultees, and the Chinook minister. Cabins without electricity or running water sat in each plot. By the 1930s, the Chinooks abandoned most of the cabins for land on the Quinault reservation or houses with electricity in Bay Center. The last Chinook to live in the village, an elderly bachelor and one of the few Indians who could drive a car in Bay Center at the time, abandoned his cabin in 1953
We also see the corner post of an old Shaker church. Many of the Indians at Bay Center were Shakers. Tony Johnson explains that Shakers believed people didn’t need Bibles, they could talk directly to God — a belief that dovetailed smoothly with American Indian tradition.
The Chinook Nation is not federally recognized, which is a sore point with the Chinooks.
Council chairman Gary Johnson says that the tribe has always been recognized and shouldn’t have to apply for recognition. He points to the Halbert Decision of 1934 that granted land allotments to Chinooks and other tribal nations, and he notes that members of the tribe had received fishing rights for years. In 1967, the Bureau of Indian Affairs unilaterally delisted about 100 tribes, including the Chinooks, saying that they didn’t have reservations and therefore weren’t official tribes. (Later, the Sammish tribe claimed that the delisting was illegal and had its recognition re-instated.) In 1978, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established a Branch of Acknowledgement and Research to approve the recognition of tribes, and the Chinooks began a 23-year process to regain recognition.
At last, on January 3, 2001, the Chinook Nation was formally re-recognized. The tribe was elated. On the 89th day of the appeal period, the Quinault Tribe filed an appeal, saying that the Chinooks hadn’t followed the correct procedures in applying for recognition. Gary says that over half of the Quinault reservation’s allotments are held by Chinooks, and that federal recognition of the Chinooks was a threat to Quinault control of the reservation and its resources, including its casino.The appeals court reaffirmed the Chinooks’ recognition, but the appeal still had to be approved once again by the Department of the Interior.
By now, President George W. Bush had succeeded President Bill Clinton and appointed a new Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton. Rather than simply approving the judge’s confirmation of the tribe’s recognition, the Secretary subjected the appeal to a full review. The tribe was on pins and needles, but became optimistic when Gary Johnson and his wife were invited to a luncheon at the White House to commemorate tribal involvement with Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Two days later the tribe received word that their recognition was denied.
Posted by pallix on October 3, 2007
Our neighbor who was raised in Bay Center, shared with us some of the old photographshe acquired from his parents. This photo shows the owner of our rather well know Bochau’s Chateau house; Mrs. June Bochau taking her little son, Merrill Bocha for a walk – crossing the bridge – in Bay Center.
click on photo to see full size