Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pure Imagination: Tulalip Burial Grounds

Dana Kinsey of Orcas Island, and formerly of the Conservation District, recently wrote an open letter to Councilmen Jarman and Hughes about her concerns regarding our Local Integrating Organization (LIO). In her letter, Kinsey alleges that Linda Lyshall has been shifting LIO funding to the Conservation Distict for her own benefit. Kinsey wrote:
It appears that [Lyshall] is determining projects, grantees and funding now. I thought she was originally hired by San Juan County to coordinate the LIO part time as a county employee. Now suddenly, in this new proposal all the work and money go to the Conservation District. Is it because [Lyshall] took a job there in May?
We agree with Kinsey that the Council should start asking the LIO a lot more questions ... everyone should. Even in a world where miscreant government is the norm, the LIO sticks out for being a freakish Franken-bureaucracy beyond compare.

The Trojan Heron will do an entire series of posts about the LIO in the near future, but for the moment, we want to provide some background about one of its governing members ... the Tulalip Tribes. 

First, we need to explain how the Tulalips fit into the LIO. The LIO is "governed" by an Accountability Oversight Committee (AOC) comprised of our County government together with three local tribes ... the Tulalip Tribes, the Lummi Nation, and the Swinomish Tribe. The LIO manages our local ecosystem, using the Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda for San Juan County as a plan.  That's right ... our local ecosystem is not managed by our elected County Council. Instead it is managed according to a blueprint (the Action Agenda) formulated by a State bureaucracy (the PSP) and then implemented by an intergovernmental panel consisting of 1 collective vote for 3 local tribes and 1 vote for our elected County government.

So what are our LIO tribal partners like? Here are some facts about the Tulalips.

As anyone who has driven down I-5 knows, the Tulalip Tribes have a reservation in Snohomish County. The 22,000-acre reservation is home to about 2,500 tribal members (another 1,500 live off the reservation) and about 8,000 non-tribal members. That gives the reservation a population density exceeding 3 times that of San Juan County. 

According to DSHS, tribal members are entitled to a $2,000 quarterly stipend, with a December bonus of $3,500. In 2012, tribal members received $11,500. The elderly and disabled receive payments of $1,000 per month. Tuition assistance is available for Tulalip tribal members attending college. Tribal members also receive an employment preference for jobs on the reservation.

Who gets to be a Tulalip tribal member? That is a very interesting question. These days, to become a Tulalip tribal member, a child has to be born to a tribal member who has lived on the reservation for at least 12 months prior to the child's birth. That means that a full-blood Tulalip born in Boston, New York City, or Portland is not a member of the tribe and can never be a member of the tribe. On the other hand, even a mostly non-Tulalip child born on the reservation to a tribal member is automatically a tribal member. These strange tribal membership rules are described by a Tulalip tribal member and blogger in the following way:
As a 20 year old Tulalip female, it disturbs me to know that there is no blood quantum to become a Tulalip tribal member. “The applicant must be a child born to any Member of the tribe, which Member is a Resident as defined herein.” [Sec.3.0] Since this is all you have to do to become a tribal member, the tribe ends up having a lot of non-native members. 
The rules provide a loop hole that permits whites and other non-natives to enroll. My cousin is a perfect example. He is less than one-eighth and is still an enrolled tribal member. His child is less than one-sixteenth because he is having a baby with a white woman. His child will surely be enrolled because he lives on the Tulalip Reservation and is a tribal member of the Tulalip tribes. The resident rule excludes some Native Americans from enrollment. 
For example, my younger sister didn’t have acceptable mail with her name and address on it. She needed it to prove residency which caused problems in enrolling her children. My sister is currently living on the Tulalip reservation with her children where they have been living since they were born. The rules also cause problems for Tulalip tribal members who move off of the reservation.
Other tribes tease the Tulalip tribes because many of our members are white. They call us white Tulalip because the large amount of white tribal members. A Native American tribe is supposed to be made up of Native American people not white or black people. If non-natives are allowed to be enrolled, they take money from the Native Americans.
In other words, Tulalip tribal membership isn't the same as Tulalip heritage anymore, and the Tulalips are not the only tribe to view tribal membership in this way. In fact, a congressional study predicts that nationwide only 3% of "Indians" will be full blooded by 2080.

The Tulalips have been very successful economically. The reservation operates Quil Ceda Village (a 100-store mall), Quil Ceda Creek Casino, Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Liquor Store and Smoke Shop, Tulalip Broadband, a fish hatchery, and a closed hazardous waste landfill that used to be a Superfund site ... more on that in a moment.

Tulalip operations earn hundreds of millions in revenue each year (estimated to be more than $200 million back in 2005). Only a very small proportion of tribal revenue is generated from fishing these days. Reportedly, 30 tribal members are licensed to fish, which is down from about 130 tribal members in the mid-1980s.

Getting back to the Tulalip Superfund Site, the EPA says the following:
Tulalip Landfill is a 147-acre site located on North Ebey Island, within the boundaries of the Tulalip Indian Reservation near Marysville, Washington. The landfill is surrounded by Ebey Slough to the north and Steamboat Slough to the south. Surface water from these sloughs flows into northern Puget Sound, a federally designated national estuary that is a recognized habitat for shellfish and some endangered species, including salmon. The Tulalip Tribe leased land to the Seattle Disposal Company from 1964 to 1979. During that time, an estimated four million tons of commercial, industrial, and hospital waste were deposited in the landfill. In 1979, the landfill was closed. An estimated 7,800 people obtain their drinking water from private and municipal wells that are within four miles of the site. The nearest drinking water source is within one mile of the site.
The site underwent cleanup about 15 years ago, and in April 2013, the EPA completed it's third 5-Year Review of the remedy. The remedy consists of an engineered 7-layer containment system to better isolate the waste and contamination, groundwater monitoring for at least 30 years, and institutional controls (e.g., land use restrictions and administrative controls such as warning signs).

Prior to landfilling activities, the land on which the landfill is located consisted of relatively undisturbed intertidal wetlands. After landfilling operations ceased, contaminated leachate was seeping out into the nearby wetlands causing concerns for human health and the environment, so the site was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) in April 1995. In an editorial from that year, Greg Wingard, President Waste Action Project Seattle, wrote the following:
EPA investigation of the site showed hazardous and bio-hazard waste was disposed of there. Leachate from the landfill was determined to be toxic and a danger to salmon in the nearby Quilceda Creek.  When EPA sent a team of divers in to investigate the landfill's impact on Puget Sound, they found body parts, bloody bandages and other medical waste.
Most of the divers contracted armpit and groin infections as a result of their exposure. Tests run on bacteria samples by EPA showed most of the samples were highly resistant to the 13 antibiotics tested. Some of the samples were 100 percent resistant to everything used against them. This information is contained in the EPA Region X file on the landfill.
From looking at the documentation and the data, I have to say that I truly believe the Tulalip landfill has an effective remedy in place now. In its current remediated state, I believe that the risks to human health and the environment have been mitigated. But if the remediated Tulalip landfill of horrors can safety exist directly adjacent to the shore of Puget Sound, so can an average home in the San Juans.

The Tulalips have a role in managing our ecosystem via the LIO. Tribal employees (e.g., Kit Rawson) have been long-term tribal representatives to our Marine Resources Committee. Tulalips have "usual and accustomed" fishing rights in our waters. When you encounter Tulalip environmental-ish policies and statements regarding salmon ... or regarding climate change and sea level rise ... or even their heritage ... take note that fishing is just one more line of business for the tribe and its tribal members ... take note that the Tulalip reservation has a delisted Superfund site sitting in wetlands barely above high tide on Puget Sound ... take note of who gets to be a Tulalip tribal member and who doesn't ... take note that the tribe is an economic and development powerhouse.

I believe Tulalip tribal government officials have been very effective advocates for the economic and cultural interests of their tribal members ... and we should expect our County Council to be no less effective at advocating for us.

An oblique aerial photo of the remediated Tulalip Superfund Landfill on North Ebey Island on the Tulalip Reservation.  Where is the buffer?


  1. Great. First we have automated activists pestering the Feds to turn us into a National Monument, now we have artificial Indians managing our ecosystem.

  2. Unreal. I used to think "Tulalip" was an Indian word that meant "near the mall." Now I realize it must mean "white guy living near the Superfund site near the mall."

    Seriously though, every Tulalip presentation starts with a review of their supposed 10,000-year history and the treaties, and now I learn that their history may not even be part of heritage of many of their members. It's unbelievable.

  3. Can the tribal folks on the Litigation Instigation Orgasmatron (LIO) push through a majority vote so we can can a Superfund site and a casino and a mall here?

    I think that will attract more tourism related jobs, which is the economic development priority of the Friends of the San Juans, Senator Kevin Ranker and the US Department of the Interior.

    I was really hoping we could develop a federal SuperMax prison on Waldron Island but I am afraid it is not to be.

  4. Looking at the linked EPA documents, there isn't a single word - not one single word that I can find - about the effects of sea-level rise or climate change on the remedy for the Tulalip Superfund Site.

  5. Yes Dana it is because Lyshall took the job at the CD. Anyone who was part of the job selection process is aware that other applicants were given perfunctory reviews by the selection committee and that Lyshall was the intended selection right from the start. In this county it is more often who you know rather than what you know.

  6. Why is Ron Zee still the chair of the CD when he knowingly has violated the County's land use code for years? I really don't get that one.

  7. Its corruption hidden behind environmetalist. We are famous for it.

  8. Looks a lot like you can get charged criminally by our County lawyers for having an unpermitted "residence" on your property--unless you have the right "friends."

  9. Several Friends have been caught out recently too, such as Vivian Burnett and the Conservation District's Ron Zee. Speed was found guilty, but I think it says more about our Prosecuting Attorney and the Sheriff. The question has been asked several times on the TH about why the contrast in the way the Prosecutor's office has handled the Zee and Speed cases. Separate from the actual case, Randy has been doing everything he can to ostracize Errol from ORS, but Randy doesn't seem to have any problem engaging with Ron and the Conservation District.

    There are double standards aplenty, no doubt.

  10. Poor poor Trayvon. Simply a victim going to get skittles and ice tea. Poor Trayvon.

  11. Nobody looks good in the Error Speed case. This Orcasite doesn't care much for Error. Error was guilty. Error forced the county's hand. That doesn't mean the county looks good for doing what it did to Error. Warrants issued from aerials. Criminal charges over permit violations. Sheriffs at the gate. We got him, but we wanted Error too much.

    Precedents have been set. The next one won't be an Error, but the precedent has been set.

  12. I have a clever new permitting scheme. Shireene probably won't let me build a house on my shoreline lot, so I will truck in a bunch of body parts and contamination to turn it into a superfund site. I don't know much about these things, but I reckon I'll get EPA to approve a remedy that includes building a house on my lot. Anyone know where I can get four million tons of commercial, industrial, and hospital waste?

  13. I was looking into the LIO and I found this old letter written by Linda Lio-shall to the county council in 2009.

    It describes Patty Miller as "involved citizen that articulately represents property rights; involved in CAO, SJI, Stormwater and Eastsound Planning Commission; and highly capable."

    What a hoot! Read for yourself.

  14. On the original post, I have met and worked with Dana Kinsey. She is a very knowledgable and hardworking person. She always seemed open minded to me and not agenda driven. Too bad these dorfholes at the CD are evil petty people.
    Good luck Dana. Thanks for bravely speaking out. Your voice will be heard.

  15. Errol was guilty of what, exactly? And you know this how? Everything about that case stinks to high heaven--search warrant rather than a simple agreement to inspect the proerty; probably cause questions; what constitutes a "residence" (today--these things seem to change depending on the whims of the building officials); CRIMINAL charge for a minor permitting violation, and so on. Let's talk after appellate court has reviewed the mess, shall we? And for those of you who think it's OK that the County did this to Speed because you're annoyed with something else he may have done, here's hoping you don't have any alleged violations on your property. Our constitutional protections don't apply just to people you like. Or do they?

  16. Dana seems to have excellent qualifications and experience, but she seems to have voted for the wrong people!

  17. Errol was found guity on two counts..the other two were a mistrial..yes,the appelate court will have the last say..until then..say what you could be you next.

  18. Many, Many thanks to the TH research team for the solid information in this post.

    And, thanks 9/21 9:48 good catch and I'll bet there is no mention of a tsunami either, a much more likely event than the slow if ever sea level rise.

    This tsunami threat actually has merit. A large earthquake in Alaska, maybe a 9, worries many knowledgeable people on the west coast. Especially after the Japan disaster.

    living on the shoreline I check in carefully on this stuff. I have 26 feet of clearance depending on the tide which is a major factor. For those interested, the tsunami we might experience will not be a wave but rather almost exactly like an incoming high tide only at a much higher speed. If luck is with us we will be at low tide when the tsunami hits us. (High tide you better be outta here.)

    ALL of the area East of twin bridges in Anacortes will be completely flooded. This IS a flood plane.

    And finally to the point of this diatribe; whoever allowed the Indians to build on this flood plane by twin bridges was completely nuts and completely irresponsible. It is very likely in a tsunami event the largest death toll will be right there.

    Live with that knowledge, people!

  19. In the San Juans we are told that we have created an environmental disaster--the fact is: we still have REAL Orcas to watch.

    For those of you near the Ebey Island Superfund site, I offer you your own personal


    Enjoy yourself!!

  20. So the Tulaip tribe charged someone to dump industrial waste in an area that is close to an estuary and in the flood plain, and the problem was so bad that he taxpayers had to foot the bill for cleanup?
    And they vote on our enviro regs?
    Wow. This web of corruption and nonsense is huge. Seems like a medium sized movie or PowerPoint with voice over could be made to give everyone a bigger picture.

  21. The Errol Speed case is the result of overzealous code enforcement by CDP and their stormtrooper extraordinaire, Chris Laws. CRIMINAL charges? The very real possibility of jail time? For allegedly building a agricultural building without a permit? Are you fucking kidding me?

    How much of my money was wasted on this "investigation"? Rumor has it, they (that is you and I) even rented a damn plane to take their own aerial photos. Their has to be hours of attorney time for depositions, a multi-day trial, time and expense for the real police officers, etc. How much of the goose-steppers time (again my and your money) was spent on this (tens of thousands of dollars, or more???)? For what? For a victim-less crime thought to be so heinous by the Laws/Beliveau zealots that it warrants throwing a man in jail? This is WRONG.

    I trust Jarmon & Hughes to fix the CAO turd. It is not being enforced yet & they will figure out a way to appease the Growth board and minimize the pain that we feel. This shit (criminalizing building code violations) is happening under our current code (which is a load of confusing crap, by the way). But if they do not put Chris Laws on the free ferry, and I mean SOON, these actions will continue, and next it might be your outbuilding that is determined to be out of compliance with rules that CDP staff cannot understand, let alone enforce in a way that is consistent, fair, or reasonable. The CC has to see how ridiculous this is: HUGE waste of my/your money, the taking away of a man's freedom (jail? for a fucking building code violation), the taking away of a man's life savings, the continued aggressive posture of a power monger psychotic entrusted with enforcing silly code? Stop this now. Ship him somewhere (anywhere) else. Please. Please do it now. This is the way to begin the healing here. Others will need to go too, no doubt, but this clown is out of control

  22. Yes, but a judge signed a warrant.

    We need to elect new judges.

  23. We have to make changes at the top and create a new culture. I blame the electeds who took part, including the judge, the sheriff, and the prosecuting attorney. Then I blame the department heads. We need to create an environment that is no longer abusive to residents of this county, even if they are "guilty" of land use violations. We also need to help employees who want to make change for the better. I am frustrated that there have been no senior staff changes.

  24. Carrot and hammer. Carrot and armed boat. Carrot and armed sheriff with search warrant. They're good on the second part, but they keep forgetting the carrot part.

  25. We DID make changes at the top. There is a new council majority that we elected to deal with this kind of ridiculous bullshit. There is a new county manager. Yet we still have a department head that sends his gestapo code enforcement officer goosestepping his way into putting people in jail for a building permit violation. This would seem like a really good place to focus attention right now.

  26. Totally agree.
    This council, to my knowledge, has had no closed session sit downs on "personnel matters."

    Such closed door meetings are legal and needed to get staff on board.

    "Rene, I understand you want to continue to live here, you also like your pay check, and I believe you can march with us if you choose to. What say you?"

    "Mr. Laws, we value your knowledge and your work ethic, however, we are about one inch from terminating your employment, do you understand why that might be?"

    In closed session this is what is needed. Word will very quickly spread that THIS elected and WELL PAID Council means business, and NOT business as usual.

  27. They have their hands full with employment issues.

  28. Message to Council Member Hughes:

    Stop waiting to see how the wind is blowing. You will earn more respect by pushing ahead with the good ideas you have.

    Don't wait, do it now.

    I'd start with terminating some costs/people in the planning and committee support venue which has grown exponentially in the last few years at zero benefit to resident islanders.

    We need good jobs, you know that. So hire a qualified person to work on attracting low impact employers here. I actually think this is easy. One of the large problems employers face is keeping good people. Once you get em here, they will want to stay. Good schools, no gunfire...I bet I could go into downtown Oakland, Ca and get some interest. You know you could do it too. This is just not that hard.

    Let's get going on something that is not tribal/FOSJ/fish/lawsuits.

  29. Wow. Did not know that @7:31. Still whatever is going on with that lawsuit shouldn't be used as an excuse to do nothing with staff. I can't access anything more than the top level information about Maureen's lawsuit, but it's in federal court. Wow. Look at the bumper crop of defendants.

  30. Now you know what the "Public Safety Tax" was for. Every time you make a purchase , .03% goes to the Randy tax! The last council gave us the CAO and criminalized building code violations. We voted for the tax. It's not about control, we're just protecting the environment. Smells like corruption to me.

  31. What IS happening w/Maureen's suit?

    And Rich and Janice Peterson are defendents?


  32. And since we are asking about Ron Zee, I wonder; did he get an environmental I pact statement for his new pond/lake he is digging out on the farm?

  33. Gotta love how the red & blonde haired/blue-eyed "Natives" of Tulalip conveniently use the Indian card to their $elfi$h advantage.

    If the shady, corrupt Tulalip "police state" illegally runs K-9 dogs through their Casino patrons' cars and hotel rooms searching for LEGAL items (as done to their employees and tribal housing residents), they would be completely bankrupted...perhaps the best thing for a cultural awakening?

    Don't forget, the 4th Amendment still applies on Federal reservations!!! Know your rights!

    Head to Angel of the Winds to spend your money; they know how to treat all people properly.

  34. "If non-natives are allowed to be enrolled, they take money from the Native Americans". (As referenced on the original posting). Greed, sloathe, envy = now stronger than Native Pride?

    Money...a dangerous tool, especially in the hands of those who haven't earned it..."work hard & get rewarded" is not a concept subscribed to by Tulalip members. I exist, so PAY

    Their youth smart enough to legalize medicinal herbs and get past the current foolish old trickster way of thinking.

    Oooooh, imagine the MONEY to be made allowing patrons to smoke herbs within the casino!

    Got sovereignty balls? Then make this happen...unless too scared.

    Patrons already do smoke using vapes anyways, security just to stupid to know it...