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Tribes keep watch on Olympia, Salem

Flag of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Photo via the CTUIR website.

MISSION, Oregon – The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation has its eye on the Washington Legislature and will soon be focused on the Oregon Legislature. The session in Olympia began Jan. 13, while Oregon’s starts Feb. 3.

Legislative Affairs Director Jane Hill said her office recently met with Rep. Skyler Rude (R-Walla Walla).

“He came down and spent a day with us recently,” she said. “We really enjoy the work that we do with the Washington Legislature.”

Hill said that key issues in the session are wildlife management, salmon, and children and families.

CTUIR’s main concern in Salem is a state clarification of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

“We’re really hopeful about that bill,” Hill said. “It’s a number-one priority for this tribe and will be meaningful, for the judiciary and all the players.”

Hill said the Indian Child Welfare Act is a complex measure that needs clarification as to which state entities are charged with enforcing elements of it. The act, which was passed in 1978, governs the removal of American Indian children from their families in custody, foster care, and adoption cases.

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