News / USA

Indian Tribe Enlists 'Twilight' Fans' Aid in Move to Higher Ground

La Push, Washington is home to the Quileute Tribe, which lives right on the water's edge.
La Push, Washington is home to the Quileute Tribe, which lives right on the water's edge.

Multimedia

Audio
Tom Banse

Several Pacific Northwest Indian tribes want to move their coastal villages to higher ground. This comes after the March earthquake off the coast of Japan underscored the dangers of living in a tsunami zone. But it takes an act of Congress to expand a reservation.

So the tiny Quileute Nation is hoping to encourage lawmakers to act, in part by relying on its newfound popularity as a pilgrimage destination for fans of the "Twilight" series of books and movies - which create a world in which the Quileute lands are teeming with werewolves.

The Quileute Indian Reservation is all of two-and-a-half square kilometers. It’s surrounded on three sides by the lush rainforest of Olympic National Park and on the fourth, by the Pacific Ocean.

Quileute elder DeAnna Hobson loves living by the water. "The atmosphere I enjoy living by the ocean is sleeping with my window open to hear the sounds of the ocean."

DeAnna Hobson, who lives near the water, has recurring dreams about tsunamis.
DeAnna Hobson, who lives near the water, has recurring dreams about tsunamis.

But the roar of the surf is more ominous now. Like so many people around the world, Hobson watched those unforgettable images of destruction from the Japanese tsunami in March. She describes a recurring dream she's had since the quake.

"We’re up at the cemetery road and I look down and I see all this water going by. We’re trying to retrieve or throw a rope out into the water. I take my dreams seriously. Dreaming something like that, to me it is giving me a signal that something drastic is going to happen."

Her dream is not far off from what geologists say could happen here. That's why Quileute leaders want to give the roughly 300 people in the lower village the option to move uphill.

"The number one priority is moving our children - the schoolchildren - up to higher ground," says tribal chairwoman Bonita Cleveland. "Our school is right on the ocean."

Quileute tribal chairwoman Bonita Cleveland is lobbying to move her people to higher ground.
Quileute tribal chairwoman Bonita Cleveland is lobbying to move her people to higher ground.

And so are the tribal senior center, several churches and tribal headquarters. But there’s a big problem. Cleveland points out the tribal village is already built out right up to the edge of the tiny reservation. On the other side of the line is majestic Olympic National Park.

"Back in the day, our ancestors moved along this land freely. They moved up and down this coast. Today, we can’t do that."

Only Congress can adjust the boundaries of a national park. It’s been done before. In December, lawmakers gave the nearby Hoh Indian Tribe a sliver of Olympic park land. That tribe now plans to move out of the tsunami zone.

But the Quileutes are asking for much more land, more than 300 hectares of the national park - some of it designated wilderness. The tribe wants to enlist an unlikely ally in its cause: the huge fan base of the "Twilight" vampire saga.

Local businesses on the Olympic Peninsula embrace the ‘Twilight’ tribe.
Local businesses on the Olympic Peninsula embrace the ‘Twilight’ tribe.

Stephenie Meyer’s novels have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than three dozen languages. In the saga, the Quileute reservation is home to fleet-footed, dangerous yet caring werewolves. A Twitter feed and YouTube channel managed by the tribe tries to tell the real story, explaining that the reality of the Quileute people is far different from what is portrayed in the "Twilight" books and movies.

This part of the Washington coast is popular with "Twilight" tourists, who come to visit the places mentioned in the series. Their welfare actually came up at a U.S. Senate hearing called to review the proposed land transfer. There, Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell described the wider public benefits.

"Helping the Quileute Tribe move their facilities 800 feet [250 meters] up and out of the tsunami zone is the primary purpose of this legislation," said Cantwell. "However, it will ensure visitors access to Second Beach, Rialto Beach and preserve thousands of acres of Olympic National Park as wilderness."

There’s no organized opposition, so the tribe’s main challenge now is to keep the attention of the busy Congress long enough to get its bill passed.Then the next hurdle will be to find the money to relocate to higher ground on the Olympic Peninsula.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid