07-31-2021  5:37 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Unemployed Oregonians to Lose Pandemic Benefits in September

The state will stop paying the 0 weekly unemployment bonus after Labor Day

Statue of Black Hero on Lewis & Clark Trip Toppled in Portland

A statue in Mt. Tabor Park commemorating York, an enslaved Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, has been toppled and damaged

Cannabis Chemical Delta-8 Gains Fans, Scrutiny

A chemical cousin of pot’s main intoxicating ingredient has rocketed to popularity over the last year. The cannabis industry and state governments are scrambling to reckon with it amid debate over whether it’s legal.

Report: SPD Stops Black People, Native Americans More

A newly-released report shows Seattle police officers continue to stop and use force against Black people far more often than white people.

NEWS BRIEFS

Mayor Declares State of Emergency Due to Extreme Heat

The City of Portland opens additional cooling centers and three outdoor misting centers ...

Obituary: Joan Brown-Kline, June 13, 1948 - July 17, 2021

A service for Joan Brown-Kline, held in Georgia, will be livestreamed starting at 11:50 a.m. PT (2:50 p.m. EDT) on Saturday, July 31 ...

Portland Bars Camping in Forested Areas During Fire Season

The move aims to protect protect individuals experiencing homelessness and people in nearby homes from potentially deadly wildfires ...

OSF Presents Free Virtual Reading of Emilia

The event streams live on Wednesday, July 28 at 5:30 p.m. ...

Summer Bike Events to be Held at El Centro Milagro

This summer the streets around Milagro will host a cycle of fun activities. ...

Oregon AG orders release of identities of heat wave victims

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The attorney general of Oregon has ordered release of the identities and addresses of most of the state’s 83 confirmed deaths from hyperthermia during June's heat wave. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that it and other media sought the information to...

Oregon approves killing up to 4 wolves in eastern Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved killing up to four uncollared wolves in eastern Oregon’s Baker County, where officials say the Lookout Mountain wolf pack attacked four cows in 14 days. The state has confirmed that wolves killed...

Drinkwitz, Pittman back for Southeastern Conference encores

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas both had some encouraging signs, if not great records, in their first seasons under new coaches. Now, the Tigers’ Eliah Drinkwitz and Razorbacks’ Sam Pittman are among four second-year Southeastern Conference coaches trying to...

OPINION

Services Available for Victims and Survivors of Community Violence in Multnomah County

The number of incidents of community violence — domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, person-to-person violence and gun violence — is devastating ...

Black America Needs a ‘New Normal’: Equitable Credit Access to Build Wealth

The rippling effects of a massive economic downturn has caused the nation to lose 9.5 million jobs - more losses than even those of the Great Recession ...

The President Needs to Pull Out All Stops

Majority Whip Clyburn, Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, made the observation that the filibuster currently being used in the U.S. Senate to block the Voting Rights Bill as well as the George Floyd Bill, is a matter of tradition and not...

NAACP Vancouver Letter to the Community: Police Accountability

NAACP Vancouver reacts to the descision in the case of Jonah Donald, a Black man shot and killed by a Clark County deputy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

At 46, African skateboarder finally wows mom at Tokyo Games

TOKYO (AP) — At age 46, the second-oldest skateboarder at the Tokyo Games is hoping to not have a heart attack and have mounds of fun. Should be no problem. Fun has been a life’s work for Dallas Oberholzer. “I have never had a real job. I have never applied for a job," he...

Suburban NY county considers letting police sue protesters

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Lawmakers in a suburban New York county are set to vote Monday on a proposal that would allow police officers to sue protesters and collect financial damages — a move civil rights activists say is payback for demonstrations after the police killing of George Floyd last year...

7 Kurds slain in Turkey; officials deny ethnic motive

ISTANBUL (AP) — Authorities said Saturday that 10 suspects have been detained over the killing of seven people from an ethnic Kurdish family in Turkey's central Konya province. Family members say the attack was ethnically motivated, while authorities blame a long-running feud between two...

ENTERTAINMENT

Director James Gunn assembles his perfect ‘Suicide Squad’

Could a scoundrel DC Comics character like Peacemaker ever be on the same level as Superman? How about Polka-Dot Man? Or Ratcatcher? The man who made Rocket Racoon, Groot and Star-Lord household names thinks so. James Gunn can’t help it: He loves an outsider. It’s the...

Harvey Weinstein: 1 sexual assault count dismissed, for now

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dismissed one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein, giving the former movie mogul and convicted rapist a minor and possibly temporary victory. At a hearing with the 69-year-old Weinstein in the courtroom,...

'Toxic' podcast explores Britney Spears conservatorship

NEW YORK (AP) — As the fate of Britney Spears' conservatorship is in the hands of a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, two podcast hosts who have spent hours dissecting the case are hopeful change is coming for the singer to become more independent. Tess Barker and Barbara Gray...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UK prime minister's wife says she's pregnant again

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wife, Carrie, said Saturday that she is expecting the...

Ammunition shelves bare as U.S. gun sales continue to soar

SEATTLE (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with record sales of firearms, has fueled a shortage of ammunition...

Turkey evacuates panicked tourists by boat from wildfires

ISTANBUL (AP) — Panicked tourists in Turkey hurried to the seashore to wait for rescue boats Saturday after...

Germany's Laschet attends WWII revolt observances in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Germany’s center-right candidate to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor in the country's...

Evacuations by sea as high temps fuel wildfires in Sicily

MILAN (AP) — Firefighters on the Italian island of Sicily on Saturday battled dozens of wildfires fueled by...

Wildfire in western Greece forces village, beach evacuations

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A wildfire that broke out Saturday in western Greece forced the evacuation of four...

FeliCIA Fonseca the Associated Press

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- Self-help author James Arthur Ray faced more than a judge at his sentencing last week for a sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead. Members of the American Indian community sat through almost the entire trial in silent protest of Ray's use of a sacred tradition.

Ray is serving two years in prison after a lengthy trial that ended in a trio of negligent homicide convictions and that made little mention of Native culture and traditions. He has vowed not to hold another sweat lodge ceremony.

But whether Ray learned not to misappropriate cultures remains to be seen, said Ivan Lewis of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

"He desecrated our ceremony, he abused it," Lewis said Wednesday. "He used it in any way that he could just to get his money. He was told before not to do that, and he's paying for it now."

Sweat lodges are commonly used by American Indian tribes to cleanse the body and prepare for hunts, ceremonies and other events. They typically hold no more than a dozen people, compared with more than 50 people inside the one Ray led near Sedona in October 2009.

The ceremony involves stones heated up outside the lodge, brought inside and placed in a pit. The door is closed, and water is poured on the stones, producing heat aimed at releasing toxins in the body. In traditional ceremonies, the person who pours the water is said to have an innate sense about the conditions of others inside the sweat lodge, many times recognizing problems before they physically are presented.

Day after day, Lewis and his companion, Cheryl Joaquin, slipped into a central Arizona courtroom to listen to trial testimony. Prosecutors hardly mentioned a sweat lodge, instead referring to Ray's event as a "heat endurance challenge." Most of the participants had never been in one before.

The families of the victims - Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, and Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn. - asked Lewis and Joaquin to keep in mind their loved ones when they could not be in court. The couple wore bracelets bearing Brown's name, given to them by her parents. On the day Ray was sentenced, Joaquin's children handed a single red rose to the victims' families to promote healing.

Brown's mother, Virginia, expressed sorrow "that their sacred traditions were defiled in this event."

"We have experienced hundreds of years of generational transgressions against our way of life and the value of human life for the purpose of power and greed," Joaquin, of the Gila River Indian Community, wrote as Ray was being sentenced. "Today we pray and envision a time of unity for all mankind, with a humble understanding of love, peace and harmony."

Lewis was among a group who sued Ray following the ceremony, alleging that Ray violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by running the sweat lodge. A federal judge dismissed the civil complaint, saying the act applies to goods, not services.

Bill Bielecki, an attorney representing the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council on South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation, said the trial would encourage non-Natives to focus on safety when running sweat lodge ceremonies.

"They're going to look at the facts," said Bielecki, who also was party to the lawsuit, "You don't use a large sweat lodge, you make sure people can leave and you don't coerce the occupants into staying beyond their limits or capabilities. If you do that, then you avoid gross negligence."

Ray touted his sweat lodge ceremony as "hellacious hot" and said he learned from a Native American shaman. He told participants shortly before they entered the structure that he would incorporate teachings from different cultures and religions, according to an audio recording played by prosecutors. Ray said a friend once told him: "no one has been in a sweat lodge until they've been in your lodge."

He charged more than $9,000 to participants of his five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event that culminated with the sweat lodge.

Three people died and 18 others were hospitalized, yet others emerged with no problems. The deaths and illnesses sparked outrage among American Indians, who drew distinctions between what Ray did and what would be considered a traditional American Indian sweat lodge.

Jonathan Ellerby, author of "Return to The Sacred: Ancient Pathways to Spiritual Awakening," said the trouble Ray encountered suggests a breakdown in either training, facilitation or the unskilled blending of materials and practices.

"Sweat lodges and fasting are ancient traditions that promote health and healing when done well," said Ellerby, a non-Native who also has run the ceremonies. "The trouble is that anything that can help, if misused or poorly delivered can hurt, even kill. This raises a lot of questions (about) qualifications, cultural appropriation and intent."

Arizona lawmaker Albert Hale introduced a bill shortly after the ceremony to sanction the use of American Indian ceremonies off tribal land for profit and without permission. But he pulled it after others raised concerns about government regulation of religious practices.

Hale, former president of the Navajo Nation, said Wednesday that the lessons from Ray's trial don't apply only to Ray.

"The lesson should also be to the people who want to participate," he said. "They have to take care and make certain the person advertising himself to be an expert in the area is indeed an expert."

Ray's supporters testified during the sentencing phase that his qualifications to lead physical activities mattered little to them because they trusted him to keep them safe.

"It should matter now," Hale said.

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