Friday, May 06, 2011

Changes Coming in the Place I Always Go

A bill has been introduced by our Representative, Norm Dicks, and our Senator, Maria Cantwell, regarding land transfers from Olympic National Park to enable the Quileute to move the school and senior center and certain other buidings up out of the tsunami zone. This is a process which began long before the recent tsunami in Japan, and events have made its importance clear. There are news stories (1) (2)(3) (4) (map). The school in particular is right on the beach at the edge of the world. It's the building with the blue roof.

This is a map from Handbook of North American Indians: Volume 7—Northwest Coast, published by Smithsonian Institution Press, reproduced here with permission. Notice along the left edge, the dark spots representing present-day reservations of the Quileute and Hoh tribes.

"Fig. 1. Territory of the Quileute in the mid-19th century" from page 432 (Click for larger image.)

Next, below, is part of a map kindly sent by Olympic National Park, showing an overview of the area in which land is being given to the Quileute tribe to move some parts of the tribe's central area out of the tsunami zone. I have somewhat tilted and cropped the map in a not-very successful attempt to make it show the same area as the 19th century map above. (The original unedited map is here.) Notice along the left edge the circle enclosing the area of the present Quileute reservation and the 780 or so acres which are being shifted or redesignated. (The Hoh Reservation is also making moves to get itself out of the tsunami zone, but not in this bill.)

About the same area on about the same scale, location of the areas covered by the Bill (Click for larger image.)

Here is what they are planning to do in that tiny area on the far western edge of the Quileute's one-time territory. The tribe gets back some land, and in exchange they agree to permanently and formally allow access across reservation land to the National Park's lands at Rialto Beach and Second Beach. (There are lots of other complications in the bill.) Thank-you to Olympic National Park for sending this map also.

Olympic National Park Proposed Boundary Revision (Click for larger image.)

OK then. As you know, I go to Rialto Beach most often, and sometimes in whale season to First Beach on the reservation at La Push, and sometimes to Second Beach. I'm going tomorrow. Maybe it's not too late in the season to see or fail to see gray whales at First Beach. Maybe I'll do this month's beached-bird survey at Rialto.

How You Get From the North Side of the Quileute River (Rialto Beach) to the south Side (La Push) If You Don't Have a Boat (Click for larger image.)

Just as a reminder, the whole of my beach life takes place in this small bit of the Quileute's original territory.

Sorry for shortcomings of graphics skills, and any errors in telling things clearly. I've left out all the history. Not mine to tell. But I have my own relationship to the territory.

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