Spokane Tribe of Indians

The Spokane Tribe of Indians are of the Interior Salish Group, which has inhabited northeast Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana for many centuries.  The Spokane Tribe now lives on 159,000 acres in Wellpinit, Washington, and continue to contribute to the larger community of Spokane, Washington. We welcome you and thank you for wanting to learn more about the proud Children of the Sun.

100 Years and Continuing…

The Spokane Tribe of Indians Labor Day Celebration and Powwow 2014


100 Years. From the earliest beginnings to the new arbor, new grounds, new RV camping, paved roads.

Gone is the 2 story white building that was the center of the powwow grounds, the hub where the year’s harvest, art and craft work were displayed. Replaced by the vendors with their many goods, old, new, traditional, contemporary…keeping alive the creative spirit based on those things so beautiful of our past.

Gone are the many areas and structures where once the beat of the drum and the sound of the dancers could be heard. Replaced by a modern arbor, arena, where the sound is still strong and the dancers still proud.

Gone is the open area where the stick games were held. Gone are the bundle of goods in the middle and now replaced with cash. Gone is the sitting on the ground, using a tipi stake to strike the tipi pole replaced by the lawn chairs and hand-drums. The games continue. Under the roof the old songs, the new songs, the point, the “Oh” can be seen and heard. The old entwines with the new. The game continues.

Gone are the light bulbs that have been replaced by the high energy lights. No long shadows are cast but melt into the surrounding ground, grass, structures…the day continues into night.

Gone is the voice of the camp crier telling of the day’s events, replaced by the loud speaker from one central point. The day’s events, the weekend’s calendar, announcements are given of up-coming powwows and gatherings, a joke or two, a calling for someone to meet here or there, calling for security, wishing someone a happy birthday, a quiet moment…

Gone is the dust from the dirt roads that wound through the celebration area replaced by asphalt and concrete and gone are the outhouses. Easier for the disabled to travel from one area to the next, less stress on the lungs and throat and a place to shower, bathrooms to use as well as the porta-potty.

The traditional dance replaced by the contest powwow. The dancers still come, the audience still fills the stands, more in number then in the past, a special for someone, an honoring, a song brought out, an old song shared, a new drum, an old drum, an eagle staff, American flag, flag song, words spoken solemnly in prayer, a new dancer, a child, an adult, a memorial, an honoring, an acknowledgment, gratitude, old friends unite, new friends discovered, memories shared…

Memories shared of powwows past, the last 100 years, the powwow, the purpose, the meaning continue. The Spokane Labor Day Celebration will celebrate 100 years of all of this and more. Mark it on your calendar for Labor Day Weekend 2014. It will be unforgettable.

The present is because of what happened in the past and the present is preparing for what we will do in the future. Now is the time.

Dave BrownEagle,                                                                                                                                               Spokan Tribal and Powwow Committee member

Study Clears Spokane Tribe's Project

Today the Spokane Tribe of Indians released the results of an independent study undertaken to assess potential effects of their multi use project on Fairchild Air Force Base.

The BIA studied the Fairchild issue thoroughly during the Environmental Impact Study process and now the Tribe is revealing the results of a second independent study that has concluded that STEP and Fairchild can exist compatibly.  “Both the EIS and now the Madison Report conclude that STEP will have no negative impact on existing and future operations at Fairchild Air Force Base. The Spokane Tribe has worked closely with the Air Force and Bureau of Indian Affairs to ensure any and all mitigation measures recommended for the sake of Fairchild were accommodated in the EIS. The Air Force has never expressed concern about STEP regarding so-called encroachment to the base and the Madison Report emphatically shows that STEP will not negatively impact base operations.  At a time when we should all be pulling together to address the only real encroachment issue on the base - the mobile home park - it is unfortunate that some continue to attack STEP with arguments that cannot be squared with the fact-based conclusions set forth in the EIS and the Madison Report”
stated Tribal Chairman Rudy Peone. more»


Grand Coulee Dam

The 111th Congress knows the issue as H.R. 3097 and Spokane Tribal members know the issue as one that has gone too long without fair and equitable compensation. H.R. 3097’s official definition is; To provide for equitable compensation to the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation for the use of tribal land for the production of hydropower by the Grand Coulee Dam, and for other purposes. more»

Spokane Tribe contributes 55k to local governments

IMF Press Release

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month Video

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.

Community Development Fund

STEP: Spokane Tribe Economic Project