By Krista J. Kapralos Herald Writer
Tribal leaders from Canada and the United States are expected to travel to the Tulalip Indian Reservation next month for a meeting they hope will strengthen their political ties and forge environmental priorities.
Nearly 200 people are expected to meet for the third Coast Salish Gathering Feb. 27-29 to discuss environmental issues facing coastal tribes.
Weary of being divided by an international border, Indians of the Coast Salish Region, which stretches from British Columbia to Oregon, began meeting formally three years ago. The 2005 gathering was held at the Jamestown S’Klallam Indian Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula, and the 2007 gathering was held in Duncan, B.C. There was no gathering in 2006.
“This will be a policy dialogue,” said Debra Lekanof, a Swinomish tribal employee and coordinator for the gathering. “It will be a discussion and sharing of information to protect the Salish Sea eco-region.”
“Salish Sea” is the Indian name for the Puget Sound, and the term continues to be used today among some tribes.
Officials from Washington State, British Columbia, and the U.S. and Canadian federal governments who deal with environmental policy have been invited to the gathering, Lekanof said.
In past gatherings, nearly two dozen U.S. tribes have met more than 60 First Nations groups from Canada, Lekanof said. As many are expected next month, she said.
Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.