By Leah Leach, Peninsula Daily News
NEAH BAY — Three Makah grandmothers will leave Wednesday for a 330-mile walk and ride to Portland, Ore., to protest what they say is a continual violation of Native American treaty rights.
Dotti Chamblin, 65, said that she and two other members of the Makah Grandmothers — which is composed of “four of us and a man” — will start the journey of at least two weeks from Neah Bay through Port Angeles, Tacoma and Olympia at about 4 a.m.
Chamblin, the secretary of the group, Gail Adams, 68, president, and Rhonda Markishtum, 50, treasurer, will carry signs, a Makah flag and a U.S. flag.
They also will bring at least 2,000 copies of a four-page letter they have written to hand out to congressional leaders’ representatives, the governor, federal judges and anyone who wants a copy.
The letter demands better health care and talks of encroachments on treaty rights.
“Treaties are the supreme law of the land,” Chamblin said.
It accuses elected officials of violating their oath of office by failing to honor Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution.
“Article 6 states that treaties are the law of the land and that federal judges will adhere to it,” Chamblin said.
“A lot of things haven’t happened that way.
“We ceded land to have a peace treaty, and there’s a lot of atrocities that have happened to us that would not have happened to any other race of people — at least we think so, we grandmothers.”
Long way around
“Two of us will be walking all the time; one will drive,” Chamblin said, except when the road is too dangerous for walking.
Their chosen route is the long way around to the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Portland, Ore., she said.
“It would be shorter for us to go the coast route. But we need to go to [Rep.] Norm Dicks’ office in Port Angeles, and we need to go to the federal building in Tacoma, the governor’s office in Olympia and the Bureau of Indian Affairs” in Portland, Ore, she said.
Last October, Chamblin and Adams took signs supporting Makah tribal whaling rights to the Port Angeles office of the 6th Congressional representative.
Their visit preceded a federal court arraignment of five Makah men who, on Sept. 7, 2007, killed a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Since then, three of the men pled guilty to federal charges and were placed on five years’ probation June 30, while one was sentenced to 90 days in the federal detention facility at Sea-Tac, and another was sentenced to five months there.
The Makah treaty of 1855 grants the tribe whaling rights.
“Those boys did nothing wrong, according to the treaty,” Chamblin said then.
Although Dicks, D-Belfair — who sits on the Appropriation Subcommittee for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs — wasn’t there, they told his representative that he should uphold the Constitution, including Article 6.
The three grandmothers plan to tell Dicks’ representative that again, when they arrive in Port Angeles.
They hope to arrive on Wednesday — “although it’s hard to say. We’re grandmothers,” Chamblin said.
Then they plan to tell it to federal judges in Tacoma, Gov. Chris Gregoire in Olympia and Stan Speaks of the BIA in Portland Ore.
“We’re on fixed incomes,” Chamblin said.
“We got a donation of $100. That will take us to Portland.”
The three plan to get showers and hot meals with friends along the way.
“I think that once we get going, the adrenaline flow is going to keep us going.”
Filed under: enivornment, Indigenous | Tagged: Makah grandmothers, plan long walk, to demand, treaty rights be honored | Leave a comment »