Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shoalwater Bay Indians involve their entire community in developing plans for the threats they face

"Tokeland is about midway along a major geological faultline known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone... Historical records, geological history and native legends indicate that at least 13 great earthquakes have occurred along this zone in the past 6,000 years, with an average interval of about 500 years between them."

by Ed Mund

The tiny community of Tokeland sits off State Route 105 on a remote peninsula on the west coast of Washington State, exposed to the full fury of the wind, rain and waves coming off the Pacific Ocean. On days of heavy rain, it's sometimes hard to tell where the low-lying land ends and the sea begins. It is just such a combination of geography and environment that makes this area at risk for natural disasters.
This interplay of land and sea has not been lost on the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, which has lived along these shores for millennia. This small tribe of about 300 members has an emergency-preparedness plan in place that undergoes continual updating and revision, making this tiny piece of the Washington coastline perhaps the safest location on the Pacific Coast in the event of a disaster.

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