Tribe, Lacey sign growth pact

Nisqually tribe and city agree to cooperate in developing Hawks Prairie

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 5, 2014 

Nisqually Tribal Council Chairwoman Cynthia Iyall signs a development accord Tuesday between the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the city of Lacey. Applauding are Lacey council members Cynthia Pratt, Michael Steadman, Mayor Andy Ryder, Jason Hearn and Virgil Clarkson.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Lacey City Council and Nisqually Council members gathered Tuesday afternoon at the tribe’s council chambers to memorialize a relationship that’s bound to grow as they develop Hawks Prairie.

And that’s the idea, Nisqually Chairwoman Cynthia Iyall said.

The two communities have walked separately and still worked together over the years, she said, but after Tuesday’s accord, they will “walk together for both our citizens,” adding that the tribe employs a number of Lacey residents.

“It’s about our future together,” she said, noting the historical significance of Hawks Prairie to the tribe — it was once an area where wild horses were domesticated — and the future significance of that same property.

A few years ago, the tribe purchased about 30 acres north of Interstate 5 at Marvin Road, then expanded its ownership in the area by buying more than 200 acres of property with Bellevue developer Mon Wig. That property, which is near the outdoors store Cabela’s, was once set to be developed by Tri Vo.

Both councils recently met to discuss retail possibilities for the property, she said.

The two jurisdictions also work together on jail services, with the Lacey City Council recently approving a new agreement to house misdemeanor offenders in the tribe’s recently completed jail.

Most, but not all of the Lacey City Council and Nisqually Tribal Council attended the signing of the accord. Some who could not attend pre-signed the document.

One by one, council members signed the accord, then shared a few thoughts about the moment.

“Today is a really good day,” said longtime tribal council member Jean Sanders.

Sanders recalled for the audience how she worked with former tribal Chairman Larry Sanchez to create an economic foundation for the tribe.

By signing the accord, the tribe and city were “laying another foundation.”

“The more teamwork, the better off we’re going to be,” said tribal council member Farron McCloud.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt added that she was excited to see what transpires between the city and tribe, while Mayor Andy Ryder ended the ceremony by presenting the tribe with a Red Western Cedar seedling.

The tribe presented the city with a 12-foot totem pole, which will likely be placed at Lacey City Hall.

The tree is symbolic of how the tribe and city can grow together, said Liz Gotelli, city director of public affairs.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-540 rboone@theolympian.com

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