Seattle Times - on new Nooksack tribal chair


​Seattle Times reporter Nina Shapiro has written in the past on our local Whatcom County Nooksack Indian tribe. She posted a lengthy and in depth article on the new tribal chair, Ross Cline Sr, and his vow to continue and finish the ejection of 306 tribal members from the tribe.

For years there have been virtually unlawful maneuvering as a majority of the indians have tried to “disenroll” a minority. Some say it is all about sharing limited gambling proceeds with fewer indians means more for each remaining member. To my efforts to follow the bouncing ball of this saga it has never been clear why. But it has been going on for years and probably will not end soon.

Monday, May 28 issue of the Seattle Times has the article. There is a paywall to the Times but you may get a free article if you have not been there too often.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

David Camp

May 29, 2018

The Nooksacks are also recruiting a financial controller. Interesting timing.


Joy Gilfilen

Jun 10, 2018

The article I read in the Seatlle Times was very interesting to me…not for the legal issues or current matters.  It is concerning to me  when I think about this in a boarder scope looking down the timeline a few generations.

My view is that the Nooksack Tribe is an essential ancestral heritage tribe (my words) who are (in the natural world) sacredly necessary to stay strong in the currect market-driven eco-system.  It seems that the actions currently happen are undercutting and perhaps are not beneficial to protect the long-term legacy of the tribe.  This tribe (as I have heard it articulated by a tribal elder) is that they care about protecting the natural heritage of the salmon, the waters, the earth.  

My understanding is that this is a small tribe already at risk of becoming extinct itself due to the measures of blood quantum for example.  If that is a problem in the future, it seems that it might be almost self-defeating to dis-enroll 306 members for the short term financial benefit of the current tribal members who feel they might be more entitled as “true bloodlines”.  It seems however, that including those member who have precedent historically as having more members might be advantageous.  It seems that protecting the safety of the entire tribe as a federally recognized tribe is essential.  It would concern me if the tribal count goes way down…for that might cause the tribe to lose its standing if the bloodlines also die out through natural diminishment as people marry outside the tribal nation.   It seems that legally it would be smarter to have more historical members to ensure the legacy that there is a tribe at all.   

This is of course a non-native person speaking.  And it is clearly their own business and I do not have any inside information.  My concerns are sparked because this is a Seattle Times article that raises public discussion.  As a result, I am just wondering if anyone else knows anything about what I am talking about.  I have not seen any conversation about this perspective.

I personally do not wish to see any tribe torn apart and disassembled.  I deeply honor and appreciate their ancestral position as sacred protectors of the salmon, the waters, rivers and forests.  I hope they can get over the short-term battles and come to terms with the stressors of our changing times.  

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