Office of Environmental Management

Hanford Dedicates Indigenous Restoration Area to Tribal Leaders

October 10, 2017

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People attending the Oct. 3 ceremony gather around a new plaque honoring Tribal leaders.
People attending the Oct. 3 ceremony gather around a new plaque honoring Tribal leaders.

RICHLAND, Wash.EM’s Richland Operations Office (RL) recently dedicated the Indigenous Restoration Area at the Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Federal Training Center in honor of Tribal leaders.

   The Tribes provide critical knowledge and guidance to protect the Hanford Site’s ceded lands. The three Tribal leaders recognized for their commitment, leadership, and support to HAMMER and its partnerships in the Oct. 3 ceremony included Bill Burke, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR); Russell Jim, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation; and the late J. Herman Reuben, Nez Perce Tribe. 

   “The Tribal leaders have been great friends of HAMMER and were great friends of Sam Volpentest,” HAMMER Director Karen McGinnis said about Volpentest, a long-time community leader and site advocate. “The Tribes are the soul of HAMMER’s partnerships,” 

   The event, attended by about 70 people, began with a formal invocation by Randy Minthorn, CTUIR, followed by speakers Doug Shoop, RL site manager; McGinnis; Det Wegener, HAMMER program manager; and Ira Matt, RL Tribal Affairs specialist. Burke and family members of Jim and Reuben also spoke. 

   Attendees visited the Indigenous Restoration Area to view a new plaque and bench dedicated to honor the leaders and recognize the strong Tribal partnerships.

   “Working with HAMMER, the Tribes, and DOE…we want to take lessons from the past and continue those efforts into the future.” Matt said.

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