Seattle P-I story in March 1964 about Marlon Brando being arrested on charges of illegal fishing. (Image courtesy of Washington State Archives)
Many people associate Marlon Brando for starring in movie classics like ”A Streetcar Named Desire” and ”The Godfather.” But many Native Americans and followers of the Northwest “fish wars” from the 1960s and ‘70s remember Brando for standing alongside tribal leaders to protest the denial of their treaty rights for fishing.
It was 50 years ago this week when Brando, Episcopal clergyman John Yaryan and Puyallup tribal leader Bob Satiacum protested the denial of treaty rights by fishing for salmon in the Puyallup River, in defiance of state law. The three caught salmon without state permits. Patterned after the sit-ins of the civil rights movements, the “fish-in” resulted in the arrest of Brando and Yaryan. Satiacum was not arrested. Charges were not filed against Brando and Yaryan, so they were released.
The State Archives found these 1964 newspaper stories about Brando and the Indian fish wars during that time.
For Native Americans who were arrested during the fishing wars, and their families, good news is coming out of Olympia. The Legislature this week has passed a bill giving Native American tribal members arrested and jailed while exercising their treaty fishing rights before 1975 the chance to clear their criminal records.
Although U.S. District Court Judge George Boldt ruled in 1974 that the state had violated the tribes’ fishing rights, the convictions remained on the records of tribal members who were arrested, and state law didn’t offer a good way to expunge them.
Tags: Fish wars, Marlon Brando, Native Americans
Fish wars, Marlon Brando, Native Americans
(Image courtesy of Washington State Archives)
For most people, the name George W. Bush automatically makes one think of our 43rd president and son of America’s 41st president. But for Washington Territory history buffs, this name conjures up a different man from a much earlier era.
In 1845, George W. Bush, his wife, Isabella, and their five sons settled near Tumwater on what became known as Bush Prairie. Their party, which included Bush’s good friend Michael Simmons, were the first Americans to settle north of the Columbia River in what is now Washington. According to HistoryLink.org:
The Simmons party makes the historically significant decision to settle north of the Columbia primarily because the discriminatory laws of the provisional government of Oregon Territory prohibit George Bush, an African American who is a key leader of the group, from settling south of the river.
However, these discriminatory laws had followed the Bushes north. The HistoryLink.org post about Bush discusses the circumstances that led to an 1854 resolution passed by the Washington Territorial Legislature designed to help Bush and his family keep their land:
Ironically, the discriminatory laws the Bushes were trying to avoid had followed them, at least in part due to their own pioneering efforts. The 1845 American settlement north of the Columbia was one of the catalysts for the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which resolved the U.S.-British boundary dispute by giving the territory south of the 49th parallel to the U.S., thus bringing what is now Washington under the discriminatory law of Oregon Territory. As a result, Bush did not have a clear legal claim on the 640 acres he and his family had painstakingly cultivated.
When Washington Territory was organized in 1853, many of the new legislators were friends and neighbors of the Bush family and beneficiaries of their generosity. Although this experience did not necessarily make them less prejudiced, it did inspire them to make an exception for George Bush and his sons. The first territorial legislature voted unanimously for a resolution urging Congress to pass a special act confirming George and Isabella Bush’s title to the land they had claimed and farmed. Congress did so in 1855, and the Bush Prairie farm remained in the hands of the Bush family for generations.
Bush died on April 5, 1863.
Historical footnote: The State Records Center in Tumwater is named after Isabella Bush.
As Black History Month winds down, we’re featuring House Resolution 707, the legislation confirming the Bushes’ title to the land they homesteaded. Our State Archives has a copy of this legislation , which came to us courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Tags: Bush Prairie, Congress, George W. Bush, Library of Congress, Washington Territorial Legislature
Bush Prairie, Congress, George W. Bush, Library of Congress, Washington Territorial Legislature
It appears that the two gun-related initiatives to the Legislature (I-591 and I-594) will be forwarded to the fall ballot. Both measures received legislative hearings and, as most observers predicted, no further action has been taken, meaning the initiatives’ fate appears to be up to the voters. Mail ballots go out in mid-October and are due back by Nov. 4.
It is pretty rare in our 100-year history of “direct democracy” for the Legislature to adopt initiatives to the Legislature, as they often involve very controversial issues, such as assisted suicide, abortion, charter schools, affirmative action, bottle bill, medical malpractice reform, and recreational marijuana. The most recent measures passed by the Legislature were 20 years ago, I-159 (firearm enhancement for sentencing) and I-164 (restricting land-use regulation). The presidential primary initiative, I-99, was adopted by lawmakers in 1989, as was the blanket primary back in 1934.
Here is the full list of initiatives certified to the Legislature since 1914 and what happened to them. The ones that were approved by the Legislature are labeled “enacted” and if they went to the ballot, they are labeled either rejected or approved.
One interesting sidenote is that it is possible for the Legislature to approve an alternative to an Initiative to the Legislature and then both are submitted to the voters for their choice, if either. This happened in 1970, when voters adopted the Legislature’s version of not one, but two, environmental initiatives, creating the Model Litter Control Act and passing the shoreline protection law.
Tags: gun initiatives, I-591, I-594, initiative history, initiatives of the Legislature
gun initiatives, I-591, I-594, initiative history, initiatives of the Legislature
The first sign is the sight and smell of smoke wafting up behind the Washington Capitol. Then you notice a small group of men wearing Stetsons getting a large grill ready for cooking.
Could it be? Yes, Thursday is Beef Day! For Capitol Campus carnivores, it’s a highlight of any legislative session. For one thing, you get a free and tasty lunch.
The annual event, hosted by the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, was scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. between the Legislative Building and JLOB.
Beef Day has been a longtime tradition in Olympia. This 1962 photo (below) kept by the State Archives shows Gov. Rosellini in his office with a Beef Princess and a platter of roast beef. The photo comes from the Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990.
(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)
Tags: Beef Day, Gov. Albert Rosellini, Washington Cattlemen's Association
Beef Day, Gov. Albert Rosellini, Washington Cattlemen's Association
Lindsay Pryor from the Office of Secretary of State’s voter outreach team talks about making voting more attractive to Millennials. (Photo courtesy of Gracelin Moore)
It’s a familiar, but vexing topic among election administrators across Washington and America: how do you engage “Millennials,” those 18 to 30-ish, in public life and voting? The sector typically votes at lower levels than their elders.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a veteran of state, local and national election reform efforts, and a panel of experts tried it on for size Friday at a Capitol forum sponsored by Wyman, the Foley Institute for Public Policy & Public Service, and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. One early conclusion was that youth of today are not “disengaged” from direct action and involvement in their communities, even though they may often feel that political involvement, including voting, is not an effective or relevant choice.
Only about a quarter of the Millennials surveyed recently are alienated completely from civic engagement, and most are not “just young and cynical,” but rather are creative, contributing members of society, said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg of the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. The challenge is to use the assets and passion of young people and to make progress on issues that are important to the generation, she said.
Wyman and others concurred that today’s youth have much to offer, and predicted they will eventually join their elders in excellent voter turnout and other facets of civic life.
Mel Netzhammer, chancellor of Washington State University-Vancouver, said students separate voting from active civic engagement, but see great value from displaying citizenship in other ways, such as fighting campus items made in sweat shops. The “Arab Spring” was a youth movement promoted by social media and eco-friendly policies around the country are promoted by student activism, he said.
Civic engagement is a year-around activity, not just the act of voting, said Toby Crittenden, director of the Washington Bus, a nonprofit group based in Seattle that promotes public awareness for younger voters. He cautioned against typecasting Millennials as underperforming voters. The demeaning label of “go sit in the corner” can actually be a self-fulfilling prophesy, he said.Lindsay Pryor, voter education and outreach coordinator for the State Elections Division, outlined a varietyof strategies, including the state Mock Elections for K-12, curriculum for teaching about voting, engaging campuses, making registration easy, and working to ease the deadly-serious image that voting has. “Let’s make it fun!” she said, plopping on a wild feather headpiece that had the audience laughing.
Tags: Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagements, CIRCLE, Foley Institute, Jackson Foundation, Millennials, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Tufts University, voting, Washington Bus, Washington State Elections Division, Washington State University-Vancouver
Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagements, CIRCLE, Foley Institute, Jackson Foundation, Millennials, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Tufts University, voting, Washington Bus, Washington State Elections Division, Washington State University-Vancouver
Washington’s Legislative Building under construction in February 1924. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)
The Legislative Building in Olympia is relatively quiet as many lawmakers head home for town hall meetings or other events, or just to get some well-deserved rest after working into the evening the past week in the face of Tuesday’s deadline to pass bills from their house of origin. With the scheduled 60-day legislative session now two-thirds completed, the House and Senate are now considering bills originating from the opposite chamber.
Speaking of the Legislative Building, this is how it appeared 90 years ago this week. It was still in the early stages of construction. In fact, the building wasn’t finished until 1928.
Tags: Washington Legislative Building construction, Washington State Capitol
Washington Legislative Building construction, Washington State Capitol
Secretary Wyman listens as Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon testifies before the Senate Government Operations Committee on HB 1267, the voter registration deadline bill that he has prime-sponsored. (Photo courtesy of Gracelin Moore)
A bill seeking to change voter registrations deadlines before a Primary or General Election has drawn the support of Secretary of State Wyman, the state’s chief elections official.
House Bill 1267 would extend the online registration deadline to 11 days before the election, rather than the current 29 days. The in-person registration deadline would be adjusted to the same 11-day deadline, from the current eight. The mail-in registration deadline would be changed from 29 to 28 days. The House passed the measure earlier this session and awaits action in the upper chamber.
Wyman told the Senate Government Operations Committee Thursday that the bill would make the voting process easier by allowing voter registrations to be processed more efficiently and accurately by using the most cost-effective process.
HB 1267 would establish that last-minute electronic registrations will coordinate with the in-person registration deadline and that the deadline is moved back three days, from a Monday to a Friday, she noted. This allows for additional time to process the last-minute registrations accurately by county auditors, she and sponsors said. Moving the mail-in deadline from a Monday to a Tuesday would address the issue of registration applications not being postmarked in time due to a federal holiday. The U.S. Postal Service does not postmark on federal holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Columbus Day, which fall on Mondays before certain registration deadlines.
Tags: House Bill 1267, Kim Wyman, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Senate, Voter registration, voter registration deadlines
House Bill 1267, Kim Wyman, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Senate, Voter registration, voter registration deadlines
(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)
Many of us have been watching the Winter Olympics these past two weeks, catching as much of the skiing, skating and sliding as time allows. In the spirit of the Sochi Games and Washingtonians’ love for winter sports, the State Archives staff found this classic 1937 photo of a ski jumper in midflight during a competition at Snoqualmie Summit as hundreds watch. The photo comes from the Archives’ Washington State Department of Transportation collection.
Tags: Department of Transportation, ski jumping, Snoqualmie Summit
Department of Transportation, ski jumping, Snoqualmie Summit
Here is the winning artwork for the 2013 Voters’ Pamphlet Art Contest. (Image courtesy of Elections Division)
The Office of Secretary of State invites students in grades 4 and 5 to enter the 2014 Voters’ Pamphlet Art Contest. This year’s contest theme is “Happy Birthday, Washington!” to celebrate the 125th anniversary of statehood.
Washington was admitted as the 42nd state in the Union by President Benjamin Harrison on November 11, 1889. Over a century later, Washingtonians are known nationwide for innovation, a deep love of coffee, the state’s great outdoors, agriculture and so much more. Students are urged to learn more about Washington in 1889 and to share their newfound knowledge in their drawings.
“This is truly a spectacular place to call home,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “It’s always inspiring to see students share why they are proud to live in this great state.”
The winning art for this year’s contest will be featured in the more than 3.2 million copies of the statewide Voters’ Pamphlet, which will be sent to all Washington households prior to this fall’s General Election, and it could be considered for the 2014 Time Capsule. Secretary of State Wyman and the 1989 Capsule Keepers will make the final selection.
All entries must be received by April 16. More details can be found by reading the contest’s entry form.
Tags: 2014 General Election, 2014 General Election Voters' Pamphlet, 2014 Kids' Art Contest, Capsule Keepers, Washington's 125th anniversary of statehood
2014 General Election, 2014 General Election Voters' Pamphlet, 2014 Kids' Art Contest, Capsule Keepers, Washington's 125th anniversary of statehood
You’d be hard-pressed to find a year when there hasn’t been at least one legislative proposal introduced in Olympia to amend the Washington Constitution. Most of these measures, known as House or Senate joint resolutions, fail to receive the full Legislature’s approval and thus be placed before Washington voters.
But there are years when such a measure gets the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses, giving Washington voters the final say on whether to change our state constitution.
If you’re curious to know how often proposed constitutional amendments have made it onto the statewide ballot and how many were approved, look no further than this handy list recently added to our Elections Division homepage.
The list covers proposed constitutional amendments going back to 1892, just three years after Washington was granted statehood. The list, which includes the number of votes for and against each measure, reveals that of the 175 proposed amendments placed on the ballot, Washington voters have approved 104 (nearly 60 percent) of them.
The first constitutional amendment passed by the state’s voters was in 1894. It declared that none of the state’s permanent school fund shall ever be loaned to private pensions or corporations, but it may be invested in national, state, municipal or school district bonds. The most recent, approved in 2012, dealt with implementing the Commission on State Debt’s recommendations on Washington’s debt limit.
The “Golden Era” for constitutional amendments being enacted by Washington voters was when Dan Evans was governor: Eight were approved in 1966, six more in 1968, seven in 1972, and two apiece in 1974 and 1976. Two examples:
• Changing the process for filling vacancies in legislative or partisan county elective offices (1968)
• Establishing a 30-day residency requirement for voting by otherwise eligible citizens at least 18 years old (1974)
The longest drought without voters approving of any constitutional amendment was between 1913 and 1919.
Among the more noteworthy amendments approved by voters:
• Allowing women the right to vote (1910)
• Establishing the initiative and referendum process (1912)
• Requiring Supreme Court and Superior Court judges to retire at age 75 (1952)
• Prohibiting an initiative or referendum passed by Washington voters to be amended or repealed by the Legislature within two years of the measure’s approval unless there is two-thirds vote in the House and Senate (1952)
• Establishing the State Redistricting Commission to redraw legislative and congressional district boundaries each decade based on equal population (1983)
• Establishing an independent citizens commission to set salaries of legislators, judges and state officials (1986)
Tags: proposed amendments to Washington Constitution, Washington Constitution
proposed amendments to Washington Constitution, Washington Constitution