News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate Indian Affairs Committee considered her legislation to relocate the Hoh Indian Tribe located in Forks. Murray’s bill, the Hoh Indian Tribe Safe Homelands Act, would transfer approximately 37 acres of land owned by the National Park Service to the Tribe, and would take into trust land the Tribe has purchased or had transferred to it.

Jonette Reyes, Vice Chair of the Hoh Indian Tribe testified at today’s hearing. She was accompanied by Hoh Tribe Chairman Walter Ward, his wife and tribal member Katherine Ward, Tribal Council Member Marie Riebe, Tribal Council Member Dawn Gomez, and Tribal Administrator Alexis Barry.

“Members of the Hoh Tribe traveled all the way across the country to speak up for this bill because they are tired of watching their homes and land wash away,” said Senator Murray. “ Flood after flood has pushed the Hoh Tribe to the brink. Sandbags have been breached, water systems and buildings have been damaged, and federal officials have identified environmental and health hazards on their land.

“The legislation I have introduced will allow the Hoh Tribe to relocate to higher ground and give them the safe place they deserve to rebuild their community. I strongly urge the Indian Affairs Committee to approve this bill and I will work toward its passage in the full Senate.”

Senator Murray is the fourth-ranking member of the U.S. Senate leadership.

Watch today’s hearing  (NOTE: The Hoh Tribe bill is discussed at minutes 28:26-33:30; 43:50-45:36; 66:00-69:00)

Read Jonette Reyes’ testimony.

View Senator Murray’s bill, S.443