History of Indigenous Peoples
MAY 21, 2007: For Immediate Release

Contact: Pam Essley, 509-365-4673 or Julie Larson, 509-365-310

LOCAL CITIZEN RESPONSE TO LYLE POINT RETURNING TO THE YAKAMA NATION

LYLE POINT, Washington - It is a great accomplishment for the Yakamas to regain land they have used for fishing for thousands of years. Not only is Lyle Point a beautiful place, it has significant historic and cultural value. Lyle Point was once a village of the Cascade and Klickitat bands. It is at the epicenter of one of the most important cultural areas in North America: the eastern Columbia Gorge, where Native Americans have lived, traded and fished for more than 10,000 years. We honor and respect the historic, cultural, and spiritual significance of this place.

We have listened carefully to stories shared with us by Chief Johnny Jackson and Chief Wilbur Slockish, Jr. They taught us about the people along this river and of their ancestors who are buried here in Lyle on the Point. They shared from their hearts and we listened while gaining a much greater understanding of the sacred relationship with the land. We are grateful for teaching us something of their culture, traditions, and values; and of their history and experiences, both happy and sad. We are glad that with the conveyance of the land from Trust for Public Land (TPL), this place will now be a protected burial site of the Yakama Nation.

TPL has taken the lead among national conservation organizations by creating the Tribal Lands Program, which is devoted to working with tribal communities to acquire and protect their ancestral homelands. We commend them for their determination and commitment to restoring Lyle Point to the Yakama Nation. We trust TPL's commitment to the success of the Tribal Lands Program will continue by serving a role in some way between the Lyle community and the Yakama Nation.

Lyle Point is part of the urban area of the community of Lyle. The Columbia River is perhaps the only reason Lyle is here. The Point has been within walking distance for more than a century. During the course of its occupation by European settlers and their progeny, Lyle Point has been a ferry landing, the Lyle town site, a sheep processing facility, and a lumber mill. Lyle Point is seen by thousands of people every day from highways in two states, the river, rail, and air. The local community enjoys Lyle Point daily. It is considered a very special place by locals who also consider themselves "river people." Continued access to this very special place would be greatly appreciated and respected. Lyle Point could be a place of healing old wounds of anger and misunderstanding. There are many people in Lyle willing to help with the huge responsibility of preserving the land for generations to come. Education is a powerful bridge.

We congratulate the Yakama for reacquiring their land base in order to continue the promise to preserve, protect, and enhance their cultural and natural resources. We admire the covenant the Yakama, original stewards of this land, have with the land and water to protect and preserve these resources for all the people and creatures great and small. We join in celebrating with the Yakama the honoring of their commitment to the Creator to take care of the land and the fish. Let us also join in the responsibility to find common ground that will lead to better and more respectful uses of the land, which we all -- people, flora and fauna -- depend upon to sustain our lives. We are all members of the human family. Though each of us is a unique creation, we also share much in common. We have a spiritual bond. Honoring our interconnectedness of spirit, and as good neighbors, we welcome the Yakama home.

Roger Hull
Pam Essley
Julie Larson
Gretchen Randolph
Stuart Johnston
Lorie Hull
Dave Berger
Lisa Conway
Bob Hansen 
Pam Springer
Doug Barnard
Barbara Robinson 
and many more supporters

 

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