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Spring 2021 Cowlitz Tribal News

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Cowlitz General Council Chair, Patty Kinswa-Gaiser, is pleased to announce the statewide sales tax exemption benefits all enrolled members of federally recognized tribes including non-treaty tribes. To claim this sales tax exemption enrolled members will choose a retail vendor, select listed product(s), show Cowlitz photo enrollment ID, and pay at store counters.

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The ETA is the result of a Formal DOR/Tribal Consultation process in which several elected representatives and employees of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe participated over two years with other treaty and non-treaty tribal leaders statewide. Announcing the new tax advisory to all tribes by video conference March 17, 2022, DOR Director Vicky Smith said, “it is long overdue.” The department has opened a fishing, hunting, and gathering web site at The site also includes a sample tribal ID for vendors at https//

  • A non-exclusive list of goods and services to be used in individual fishing, hunting, and gathering activities. The list is also available in PDF.
  • A DOR tribal fishing, hunting, gathering exemption form for retailers and tribal members, for tax audit purposes.
  • The Department’s “Interim Guidance” (beginning April 1, 2022).


The retail sales tax exemption includes but is not limited to: products and services such as: firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, knives, camping equipment, fishing boats and accessories, boat trailers, outboard motors, radios, GPS navigation devices, food processing equipment, dehydrators, canning jars, fishing nets, rods, tackle, waders, clam shovels, smokers, propane burners, boots, rain gear, ice chests, predator calls, traps, live traps, fur processing and taxidermy chemicals, drying frames, pruning shears, backpacks, tote bins, bear and insect repellant, outdoor cookers, and more. For a complete list see the new web site which will be updated from time to time as new products are approved. Not included is food consumed outdoors and WDFW licenses and tags.

As the recent ETA is new this year, a tribal member may meet a retail cashier who has not yet been trained to honor the tribal tax exemption. If such occurs the tribal member should ask for a supervisor who can help the line employee. Should a supervisor not yet be informed, tribal members can choose to shop elsewhere or report the denial mentioning the item(s), amounts, and vendor’s phone number to the Cowlitz Tribal Councilman Robin Torner by email: for help resolving any delay. Tribal members should never argue with a supervisor or store owner.


The legacy of an ancient people in southwest Washington is rich with descendants who manage a growing portfolio of health, education, scientific research, housing, transportation, development, elder care, conservation and legal issues. The Cowlitz Tribe is a growing force in community building in what are now Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis and parts of Pierce, Skamania and Wahkiakum Counties, a vast territory occupied by numerous Cowlitz villages prior to non-Cowlitz exploration and seizure. Today, an elected Tribal Council is composed of professionals adept at managing multiple programs and projects.