Press Release

Court to decide fate of sacred Native American burial ground Trump administration lawyers defend the destruction of an Oregon sacred site, claiming no harm done

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Klickitat and Cascade Tribes of the Yakama Nation will be in court on October 23, in Portland, Oregon, asking for justice after the Federal Highway Administration needlessly bulldozed their sacred burial site when widening a highway. In Slockish v. U.S. Federal Highway Administrationthe government could have easily widened the highway and simultaneously protected the sacred site by widening the opposite side of the road or using a retaining wall—as it did to protect nearby wetlands and a tattoo parlor. But in 2008, the government ignored the tribal members’ request and destroyed one of their most sacred places where they worshiped for generations.

After years of failed negotiations, the government still refuses to return the Tribes’ sacred artifacts or allow the tribes to return and rededicate the site. On October 23, a federal court in Portland will hold a pivotal hearing that will decide the future of the sacred site. Trump administration lawyers claim that they had authority to destroy the site. The tribes are asking for protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the same law the Supreme Court relied on to protect the Green family of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor.   Oral Argument in Slockish v. U.S. Federal Highway Administration

Stephanie Barclay, counsel at Becket
Carol Logan, member of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde 

Hearing begins October 23, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. PST and will last approximately one hour
Press conference will immediately follow  

Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, Room 12B
1000 Southwest Third Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204-2939  

Plaintiff Carol Logan and Becket attorney Stephanie Barclay will be available for comment immediately following the hearing. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Ryan Colby atmedia@becketlaw.orgor 202-349-7219.Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 

Additional Information: 


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court.For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, includingBuddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more here).