Cowlitz Indian Tribe

Topics: Tribal chief, Tribe, The Council Pages: 4 (1439 words) Published: September 24, 2013
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is trying to build a multi-million dollar mega-casino in Clark Country where some tribal members are challenging their own leaders’ right to run the project of the new casino. This brings us to a major question of, which policy should the Cowlitz Indian tribe adopt in determining who is a full member of their tribe? After analysis data we discovered that this policy will ultimately determine who has a right to become a director of the proposed casino, who has a right to a share of any projected casino profits, and who is entitled to other benefits of tribal membership.  This became a very important problem because the blood quantum ultimately determine who will be entitled to share any future casino proceeds and other tribal benefits such as subsidized housing or monetary compensation. It could also help determine who is eligible to be a tribal council member, which is central to this case as they are the ones who will likely direct the operations of the new multi-million dollar casino. This issue became a problem when two card-holding members of the Cowlitz tribe Steve Myers and Tomas Hill, recently came in “possession of internal documents that raised questions about whether three out of eight leaders even belong to the tribe” (Tilkin, KATU, 2013, p.1). These documents stated the standards used to establish the blood quantum of Tribal Administrator Carolee Morris, Human Resource Director Nancy Osborne and Tribal Enrollment Officer Randy Russell (citation needed – website). Documents “signed by Nancy Osborne in 1974 said she was 1/8th Cowlitz Indian. However, five years previously documents stated that she was only 1/32nd.Cowlitz Indian” (Tilkin, KATU, 2013, p.1). The documents on Carolee Morris and Randy Russell also illustrated changing fractions of Cowlitz blood, since the three are all full brother and sisters; they obviously share the same blood lines. This could potentially become critical for the tribe as they all hold influential...

References: Tilkin, D. (January 3, 2013). KATU On your Side Investigator. Questions about heritage of tribal leaders behind mega-casino. Retrieved from http://www.katu.com/news/investigators/Cowlitz-tribe-leaders-respond-to-accusations-186347742.html
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