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November 2021


Further information about these events can be found below in this issue

Nov 1-30   American Indian Heritage Month
Nov 2  - General Election ballot boxes close 8:00 pm
Nov 3  - LWVUS, 12 noon PT, “Legislative Trends and Establishing State Priorities”. Register here 
Nov 4  - LWVTC Forum, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, “Let’s Talk: Communication Strategies for Contentious Conversations with Policy-makers, Friends, Family, Co-workers and Neighbors." Register here.
Nov 9 - Public Hearing, 3:00 pm, Board of County Commissioners, “Commissioner Districts Line Adjustments” Register here. (See proposed BoCC Districts here.)
Nov 21 - Book Club, 2:30 pm. Contact: Sandra Herndon.
Nov 23 - Public Hearing, 3:00 pm, Board of County Commissioners, “1/10 of 1% County-Wide Sales Tax for Home Fund.” Register here.
Dec 4 - LWVWA Action Workshop on Legislative Agenda, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm. Register here
Dec 11 - LWVTC Annual Holiday Party, 2:00- 4:00 pm, in person, at “Ovation at Oaktree Pavillion”, Lacey 98513.

Non-League but of Interest:
Nov 23 - “Decolonizing Thanksgiving,” 5:00 - 6:00 pm, ACLU of WA. Register here

In Memoriam - Anita Lynn Gibbs

by Judith Davis, LWVWA

Anita Lynn Gibbs transplanted herself from Atlanta, GA, to Olympia in 2019 and instantly fell in love with her new state and its lovely people.  She joined the Thurston League and Coffee with the League every Tuesday was her entry into the life of her new community.  
She loved writing action postcards and attending Action Workshops, Lobby Day and community meetings. She told me that her "League ladies" knew everything and they taught her so much. They called her "Junior" and were so sweet and welcoming.

When the pandemic hit, Anita missed her Tuesday jolt of java and the League but she attended Zoom meetings and helped with Zoom workshops for the LWVWA Convention and Council.

Thank you to all of the wonderful League members who welcomed her and helped make her last two years lovely and meaningful.

In commenting on Anita's passing, Karen Verrill wrote that Anita always had excellent information to add to the discussion.  Anita believed that all of us have a responsibility to be active within our community and stand up for what we believe.  She also loved being a teacher. She is missed by all who knew her.

Vice President's Message

By Julie Frick

On October 23 Brenda Paull and I volunteered to set up one of the League’s voter registration tables at the Tumwater Library. Other tables were also set-up at the Olympia Farmers Market & the Olympia Library thanks to the efforts of Susan Fiksdal and the Voter Services Committee. As we were getting the supplies ready, I mentioned that we rarely registered voters on these occasions, but I like to think of this as a gentle reminder for voters to return their ballots.  So, I was quite amazed when the very first person we encountered replied, no, he had not returned his ballot, as he was not a registered voter. We both perked up, ready to do our job. 

As our conversation continued, he explained he was a newly naturalized citizen. He had a list of items that he needed to do to really complete his status as a U.S. citizen, one of which was to become a registered voter. Even though he was not ready to complete the voter registration form that day, he accepted all our information as we welcomed him as a new member of our community and soon to be a new voter.

This encounter reminded me of a quote Jill Severn wrote in The Olympian several years ago concerning immigration and the many sacrifices immigrants often must make to become citizens. “All of us should reflect on what an immense, unearned privilege it is to be born in this country.”

LWVTC Position on Tribal Treaty Rights

By the Tribal Position Update Team  

In 2021, the League approved a work program to study and update the League’s position on Indian Treaty Rights.  To that end, a committee was established to begin work on this two-year study.  Loretta Seppanen is heading the team, which includes Judith Carter, Sharon Herting, Shelley Kneip, Dave Peeler, Peggy Smith, and Karen Verrill. Committee members are researching various tribal issues (and there are many) and attending online presentations by tribal members. When conditions permit, we will meet with the three tribes in our area.

The LWVTC Tribal Position Update Team is currently learning about Northwest history from local tribal historians. These key historical points will help shape our study:
  • Before 1854. A small number of traders, explorers, and eventually white settlers and tribal members lived in peace with each other on the abundant lands we now call Thurston County. The tribes include the Squaxin Island Tribe (people of the waters), the Nisqually Indian Tribe (people of grass country/people of the river), and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation (people of the sands).
  • Medicine Creek Treaty, December 4, 1854. This treaty was signed under duress by Nisqually and Squaxin Island tribal members, resulting in displacement from their lands. The Chehalis did not sign a treaty. In 1864 a Chehalis Reservation was created by executive order.  This reduced the tribe’s area within the Chehalis River Basin that once stretched from the foothills of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Puget Sound Treaty War 1855-56. Armed conflict between soldiers of the U.S. Army, Washington Territorial volunteers and the Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes resulted in gains in the territory assigned to the Nisqually and Squaxin Island Tribes.
  • Nisqually Reservation Land Loss (1917). Pierce County condemned 3,353 acres of the Nisqually Reservation to provide for a federal military training base on what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This was a loss of 71 percent of the land assigned after the Treaty Wars.  
  • Allotment, Assimilation (including Boarding Schools), Termination, Self-determination.  In the time between the two treaty wars, the federal government has taken different approaches to tribal relations.  Vast amounts of land were taken, and then small portions “allotted” back to tribal members.  Policies of “assimilation” resulted in attempts to erase tribal culture.  At one point there was a move to completely terminate recognition and any assistance to tribes.  These policies were devastating to tribal members; the history is sometimes disturbing, but it provides a context to evaluate current tribal issues.  Today, the policy of self-determination is helping tribes recover from many injustices. 
  • Second Treaty Wars or the Fish Wars 1963 - through 1970s. A series of civil disobedience protests, such as fish-ins by tribes, pressured the U.S. government to recognize fishing rights granted by the Treaty of Medicine Creek. The 1974 Bolt Decision affirmed treaty right for Washington tribal fishermen by allowing up to 50% of all potential fishing harvests and requiring an equal voice in the management of the fishery.  A subsequent court decision affirmed the rights of tribes to harvest 50% of shellfish in their “usual and accustomed” areas of harvest.   
  • Tribal Sovereignty. Tribes possess a unique position in the United States, termed "domestic dependent nations" by Justice Marshall in 1823.  They are “nations within a nation” and have inherent authority to govern themselves without the authority of the United States (with some limitations).  Although first recognized in 1823, the United States has been inconsistent in its recognition and definition of sovereignty over the years. More recently, however, official federal policies of self-determination and government-to-government relations has enabled tribes to strengthen their nations.   
We are learning more as we continue to study. There are many aspects to this study and so much to learn.  For example, we expect to learn more about the efforts of tribes to buy back land lost through federal actions in the past and other land to meet the need for tribal housing and enterprises. As the LWVTC Tribal Update Team continues our study we will provide more detail on issues of importance to local tribes today.

Interested in More News on Indigenous Affairs?

League members and others in Thurston County are fortunate there is a journalist covering Indigenous community news in our area, as well as the rest of Washington. Natasha Brennan is a Report-For-America Corps member, whose articles can be found in several newspapers throughout the state. It is possible to subscribe to her weekly newsletter, or you might want to follow her on Twitter: @natasha_marie_b.
And for even more news on Indigenous affairs, see: 

Billy Frank Jr. Statue Bill Signing at Wa He Lut Indian School here

Squaxin Island Tribe October 2021 Newsletter here

Nisqually Tribe website here; be sure to look under “Newsletters" for the October 2021issue

Nisqually Land Trust Adds More Acres here.

Squaxin Island Tribe flag now flies over Olympia City Hall here.

The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation erect a rare bridge here

The RESPECT Act still needs to be passed in the U.S. Congress.

The Tribal Position Update Team was given this presentation on 10/20/21 by Vickie Lowe, Executive Director of American Indian Health for WA State.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice 

Kyrian MacMichael, LWVTC member pictured here, reached out to four dynamic Thurston County leaders working directly and diligently within organizations serving Latino populations regarding six  questions posed in the last Voter.  Readers were asked to consider the important contributions
by members of the Latino community
and how essential support systems have been impacted by COVID-19. Those questions are:
  1. What can other individuals and organizations do to support the Hispanic - Latin X community (in addition to donations)
  2. What is the biggest myth or misinformation that non-Hispanic people have about your culture?
  3. How has the pandemic affected your programs?
  4. How can Thurston League of Women Voters support your efforts?
  5. What legislation do you want to get passed in 2022-2024 (in the next two years) to help people’s lives get better?
  6. How would Thurston County be impacted if you had to close your doors?
Kyrian interviewed the following innovative and courageous leaders working in organizations serving Latino populations.
  • Thurston County Commissioner, Carolina Mejia, born in Progreso, Honduras
  • Executive Director of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, María Sigüenza, born in Mexico 
  • Board Chair of CIELO, Alejandra Esqueda Hunt, born in Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Co-Founder and Chair, Washington Civil Rights Commission,  Deborah Sioux Cano-Lee                        
Read Kyrian's complete article here. Many thanks to Kyrian MacMichael for her interviews and writing to aid our DEI & Justice Committee in continuing to educate ourselves and enacting the purpose of the committee.

The purpose of the Thurston LWV Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEI & Justice) Committee is to lead through the lens of equity and make a commitment to:
  • Recognize systemic and institutional racism exists at all levels and is endemic within our political and social order, including history of the LWV. 
  • Deepen our understanding of the complexities of community issues and make recommendations to the LWVTC Board of Directors regarding public policy. 
  • As individual community members, be well informed, advocate for and support actions within our community promoting racial, social and economic justice. 
  • Become educated and engaged to advocate and promote equality and diversity within the LWV organization.
  • Connect with community organizations sharing common values, issues and advocacy strategies. 
  • Coordinate with and gain knowledge from community organizations that encourage diversity and awareness of justice-related issues within the Thurston LWV community. 
  • Develop educational programs and participate in activities offered by others to expand knowledge, perspectives and mindfulness to hone Thurston’s DEI and Justice lens.
Kyrian MacMichael is a virtual public school teacher, a Lacey City Planning Commissioner, and a member of the LWVTC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Committee

Water Study Update: Chehalis River Basin Tour

By Julie Frick

The Thurston League has been working to update the 2008 water study. This three-year project (2018-2021) is chaired by Paula Holroyde. The committee is now collating their research to begin the written report.

On September 29, League members, representatives from the Sierra Club, and County Commissioner Tye Mesner participated in a tour of four sites highlighting projects that benefit in-stream flow restoration efforts in the Chehalis River basin.  Paula worked with Kirsten Harma from the Chehalis Basin Partnership on this event.  Eric Rosane from The Chronicle also accompanied the participants in a six-hour, sixty-mile tour with speakers at each site giving detailed information of the work being done and the future water projects to enhance in-stream flow, recharge ground water aquifers, and the role of land conservation plays in improving the ecosystem of watersheds like Scatter Creek.

At one of the sites the subject was Trans Alta, a coal-fired power plant on the Skookumchuck River. A little background here. Trans Alta is the only coal fired power plant in Washington. In 2011 the Legislature voted overwhelming to approve Senate Bill 5769 which would shut down one of the two boilers at the Trans Alta plant by 2020 and phase out coal burning by 2025. The plant did produce enough electricity at one time for a city the size of Seattle, but it took a lot of coal to do it. Nine-110 car coal trains each week arrived from Wyoming and Montana.

So why is the water study committee interested in the Trans Alta coal plant, which is not entirely in Thurston County? First, there is an issue with water rights on the Skookumchuck River, amounting to approximately 9.125 billion gallons per year. Cody Duncan from Trans Alta and Jill van Hulle, a water rights specialist, explained how the company was proceeding to connect with potential water rights buyers. The cities of Centralia and Chehalis are moving forward with an agreement to buy eight million gallons per day, effectively softening the stress of growth over the next fifty years.

Lauren McFarland, biologist with the Quinault Indian Nation, explained how they would like to be able to purchase some of the water rights to protect and restore salmon runs in the Chehalis River. But the potential cost will be a determining factor.
The more we study the more we realize how much we do not know.
(For more information, see "Projects Tour Highlights Efforts Benefiting Streamflow Restoration Efforts in Chehalis Basin".

Be a Voter!

Get your ballot in before 8:00 pm on November 2!
Ballot drop box sites:
Track your ballot:

Facing the Issues: Capital High School Youth Forum

In collaboration with Thurston Community Media and the Capital High School Debate Club, our League has produced a new forum you can watch here. Students created oratories, or short persuasive speeches addressing social justice issues. Watch them and spread the word! We need to hear from our youth.

Let's Talk:  Communication Strategies Forum

Register for Let's Talk here.

Save the Date!

Book Group

On November 21, 2:30 pm, the DEI Book Club will meet to discuss “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” by Heather McGee. A New York Times bestseller and long-listed for the National Book Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal, ”The Sum of Us" is "an exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone — not just for people of color.” (Amazon book review).
Contact Sandra Herndon for more information. 
The January 16 book will be “Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West,” by Blaine Harden. “Murder at the Mission” is "an account of one of the most persistent 'alternative facts’ in American history …. A myth that shaped the American West” (Penguin Random House Books review).


Membership Committee Update

By the Membership Committee
The LWVTC Membership Committee is currently Keitha Bryson, Shelley Ferer, Carol Goss,  Kelsey Monoco and Karen Verrill, but there is always room for more members! Contact Carol Goss to check it out. Here's our report.
1. Our Membership has grown to 153 members. 

2. 2021-2022 Handbook/Directory: Now that you’ve received the handbook/directory, please take a moment to thumb through your copy and help us ensure the information is correct and your preferred phone numbers and email addresses are what is included.

As we soon move into a new website platform, we want to make sure the information transferred is reliable and up-to-date. If you did not receive your copy or to report corrections and changes, call or text 206 251-6316 or email  Thank you!

3. APIC-SPS Leadership Development Conference, Part II last month had roughly 60 participants, including speakers. The conference was focused on skill-building for new and emerging leaders. The speakers were very powerful, engaging and inspiring. They included:
  • Public Speaking - Rep. Jamila Taylor, Representative, WA 30th Legislative District. Chair of Black Members Caucus
  • Networking & Communication - Yuh-Lin Niou, Assembly Member-65th Assembly District of New York
  • How to Enact Change through Legislation - Rep. Cindy Ryu, Representative, WA 32nd Legislative District. Chair of Community & Economic Development Committee 
  • Adaptability & Accessibility, Samad Aidane, Cross-cultural Leadership Development Researcher, Coach and Trainer - Oregon State University
  • Claiming Your Space - Dr. Myung Park, Executive Director of International Education - Pierce College District
Besides LWVTC, other co-sponsors were Window Seat Media, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Korean Multicultural Family Association, Islamic Center of Olympia, and College Success Foundation.

Stay turned to the Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition for upcoming events here.

4. New Member Orientation is planned for January 2022. Watch for more information coming to your email box!

New Website Update

The previously proposed go-live-by-October is not happening. In the beginning of this project, other Leagues said that we were being a bit optimistic with our timing. Turns out that they were correct! “Fools rush in” as they say. We are now aware that a roll-out date of mid- to late-January 2022 is more realistic. 

Two new members have joined the team, both of whom will be instrumental in moving the process forward in a timely manner. First was Kathy Varney, our Communications Committee chair. Kathy is providing considerable communications expertise and organizational experience, enabling the web team to remain focused on the steps and the desired end result. Kathy in turn recruited a neighbor, Miriam Hewitt, both to the League and to our team. Miriam is retired from a career in website building. We are very thankful for her experience in Microsoft systems, HTML site elements and other website tools. 
When we approach the actualization of our vision, we will be providing training videos and other tools to ease the transition to the improved site. In the interim, please take a look at the current version of the new League of Women Voters of Thurston County here.  And an initial mock-up of how the pages of the site will appear next year is depicted in this image (below). 

Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!

Throughout the year, we will try to highlight one or more persons or groups to thank for their service and generosity. Any member who would like to submit an entry for this feature may do so by submitting a short entry to: Shari Silverman at and Laurie Craig at There is no length requirement. All entries are due by the 23rd of the month prior to publication.


Thank you from the League, November  2021:

Paula Holroyde for every Tuesday's Coffee with the League and all the other important work Paula does — no matter what! — for our League. Go, Paula! 

Leslie Williamson, our Treasurer, who works long and hard in the background without any fanfare to keep us on the financial straight and narrow. 

Loretta Seppanen, for her commitment on so many crucial issues such as, among others, treaty rights and agriculture. 

Cynthia Stewart, our Voter publisher, who pitches in every month to get The Voter to you. 

And a  heartfelt thank you from Susan Fiksdal to the Voter Services Committee (Barbara Buchan, Pat Dickason, Jan Dillon, Sue Dubuisson, Shelley Kneip, Vicki Merkle, Kelsey Monaco, Brenda Paull, Shari Silverman, Karen Tvedt, Kathy Varney, and Kate Walsh) for your stellar work on our Be a Voter campaign in September and October! You delivered bookmarks and the “Your Vote” tabloid to high schools, houses of worship, and libraries; you tabled at a library or the Farmers Market or St Martin’s University; and you brought new ideas to the group.

Coffee with the League

If you haven’t been able to attend Coffee with the League you’re missing out! Every Tuesday morning from 10:00-11:00 am we discuss local Thurston and WA state topics. Come hear about what’s going on and ways you can influence local issues and state legislation. Contact Paula Holroyde for information about attending in person at the River's Edge in Tumwater. 
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. 
Join Us!
Copyright © *2021, League of Women Voters of Thurston County, Washington
Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 2203
Olympia, WA  98507
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