A federal judge says a Native American tribe who lived on the Willapa can proceed with seven of eight legal claims as part of its long effort to gain federal recognition as a tribe.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the Chinook Indian Nation, whose members historically lived between Willapa Bay and Tillamook Bay and at the mouth of the Columbia River, sued the Interior Department and other agencies in August.
The unrecognized Chinook Indian Nation consisted of a number of Chinookan peoples, including the Willapa Chinook which are now recognized as the Shoalwater Bay Tribe and the unrecognized Chinook Indian Nation.
According to sources, in modern times the majority of Washington Chinook currently live in Bay Center, Chinook, and Ilwaco and in Astoria in Oregon.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton dismissed one claim Wednesday, saying the courts couldn’t grant the tribe federal status because it was a question for other government branches.
But he allowed the tribe to move ahead with other claims, including that it should have access to federal money awarded in 1970 as compensation for tribal lands the U.S. took in the 1850s.
The tribe has been fighting for federal recognition, which would allow it to establish a reservation and gain native fighting rights.