JULY 16, 2000


Born in Inchelium, Washington, September 27, 1937, Bernie was of the Sin-Aikst Tribe (now part of the Colville Confederated Tribe) and grew up on the Colville Reserve.  After high school, he became an Army Green Beret.  After leaving the Army in the early 1960s, he joined the fight for Indian fishing rights on Northwest rivers and changed his name to Whitebear.  He worked at Boeing until 1969-leaving to run the Seattle Indian Health Board.  By 1970, his sister Laura took over as executive director.  On March 8, 1970, Whitebear joined other Native Americans in claiming Fort Lawson military reservation then declared surplus by the Army.  The group, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF), camped outside the fort to publicize the cause.  In 1977, efforts succeeded–Daybreak Star Center was built by UIATF on Ft. Lawson.  Whitebear, as director, ran UIATF for 30 years, sat on the Seattle Arts Commission and on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian.  Whitebear died at his home.

Source:  Patrick McRoberts, “Whitebear, Bernie (1937-2000),” HistoryLink.org Essay 5170, 2/4/2003.  Retrieved 5/28/2020, https://www.historylink.org/File/5170
Photo: Bernie Whitebear.  Courtesy of Daybreak Star Cultural Center.
Photo:  Shakespeare at English Wikipedia, 2/7/2005.  Daybreak Star Cultural Center.  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Subject to disclaimers. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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