Emily Schwing

Boise State Public Radio

The passage of a congressional bill that authorizes drinking and wastewater projects nationwide has Northwest tribes celebrating. An amendment to the bill means the 9,000-year-old human remains discovered near Kennewick, Washington, 20 years ago will be returned for final burial.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior Monday announced a $492 million settlement with a number of tribes. It ends decades-long disputes between the tribes and the federal government over land management.

Debate watching parties took place across the country Monday night, including one in Spokane, Washington, where the politics are decidedly purple. Spokane’s weekly newspaper, The Inlander, hosted the event.

Stakeholders on all sides continue to grapple with a controversial management decision that would allow Washington state wildlife officials to exterminate an entire wolf pack in the Northeast corner of the state.

A case against a Washington state man in a British Columbia court that begins Monday could bring an extinct Canadian tribe back to life. 

In the past month, wildlife officials have shot six wolves from a helicopter in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington state. That’s likely to come up during a two-day work session for members of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group that begins Wednesday.

When Washington state wildlife officials announced they would eliminate the Profanity Peak wolf pack, they were operating under a new management plan that came about after months of deliberation with various stakeholders ranging from livestock producers to conservation groups.

But some parties felt left out of the discussion.

Members of eight Washington tribes took lessons they learned last spring with them to North Dakota last week, where the Standing Rock Sioux are opposing the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

  The Cayuse Mountain Fire has been the second largest in Washington state this summer. The blaze consumed 14 homes and displaced up to 50 people on the Spokane Indian Reservation. But the community is trying to get back to normal life.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said it has killed six wolves in the Profanity Peak Pack. Members of that pack are blamed for at least 12 cattle kills in the northeastern part of the state.

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to kill an entire wolf pack in the northeast corner of the state. The decision comes after at least 12 cattle were killed in the area.

An interagency incident management team has taken over the Hart Fire burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The wildfire spread rapidly onto tribal land, but response hasn’t kept up with the pace of the blaze. Strong winds spread the fire fast enough to force an initial attack crew to flee.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday declared a state of emergency in 20 counties mostly on the dry side of the Cascades, an area vulnerable to wildfire. Resources are stretched thin in the battle to save homes and property.

Spokane, Washington, the state’s second largest city, found itself surrounded by flames Monday after high winds and heat Sunday caused the rapid spread of three separate wildfires.

Washington gubernatorial candidates touched on the topic of oil trains during their first debate of the season in Spokane Wednesday.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in Spokane Wednesday in the first debate of the gubernatorial campaign.

A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Oil that spilled from a derailed train in the Columbia River Gorge in June contaminated nearby groundwater. Starting in the next week, Union Pacific Railroad will be working with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to clean it up.

Over orchards and vineyards across the Northwest, European starlings are eating fruit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. And when the traditional methods of keeping the birds away -- like scarecrows, pyrotechnics and netting -- don’t work, it’s time to call Falcon Force.

Spokane’s City Council Monday voted on a November ballot initiative that would make the shipment of oil or coal by rail through the city a civil infraction. If it passes, every rail car carrying oil or uncovered coal will generate a $261 fine.

Over the weekend, hundreds of dancers joined traditional drummers at the Northwest’s largest powwow in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Emily Schwing shares this audio postcard and video from the weekend's events.


A Native American caucus is in Philadelphia this week to speak for the priorities of Northwest tribes at the Democratic National Convention.

After a year-long hiatus, the largest powwow in the Northwest has returned to traditional grounds of the Coeur D’Alene Tribe. Julyamsh was cancelled last year after the state of Idaho legalized horse-racing machines at a park where the celebration used to be held.

The start of this year’s cherry season in May is the earliest growers have ever seen in Central Washington. Yakima Valley grower Mark Roy said the harvest usually runs from June 20 to July 20.

There’s been a lot of political buzz this week at the mid-year conference of the National Congress of American Indians in Spokane. Tribal leaders say the next president must understand the importance of tribal sovereignty.

The condition of watersheds in Washington state continues to decline. That’s according to the the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The organization delivered the news to the National Congress of American Indians Wednesday.

Every five years, a team convenes to evaluate long-term water supply and demand for the Columbia River Basin. For eastern Washington, the water supply will increase, but not when demand is highest.

The limbs of Central Washington’s cherry trees are heavy with ripe fruit. In Moxee, crews are scrambling to bring in a harvest while the skies are clear and the weather is dry.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has announced a visit with the Spokane Indian Tribe Thursday. The visit comes as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed off on a plan that includes a casino.

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