Quileute tribe asks Congress for help to move out of tsunami danger

Quileute tribe asks Congress for help to move out of tsunami danger
LA PUSH, Wash. -- A Washington state tribe says its answer to the danger of a tsunami is moving its village to higher ground.

Now, the Quileute Tribe is asking for Congressional help with the move.

When members of the Quileute tribe saw a tsunami destroy Japanese cities, their first reaction was horror. The second: that could be us.

"Our whole village would be wiped out. In a heartbeat," said tribal council chair Bonita Cleveland. "There'd be nothing left, just like the Japanese tsunami."

About 300 people live here and they know it's tsunami territory. They've even practiced evacuation -- 6 minutes is the record.

"We're pretty much trapped here, one square mile," Cleveland said. "One way in, one way out."

There is a tsunami alarm maybe 100 yards from the school, but most have never heard it. Tribe members have asked state officials to turn up the siren.

Warning would be critical: the school is just 14 feet above sea level, while the senior center is just 16 feet elevation. A tsunami would swallow both.

The tribe is asking Congress to move the village -- or at least the kids and elders.

To the elders, that word "ask" is filled with irony.

"The Quileute people owned the land, they were the first people here, and, you know, we shouldn't have to go and beg for something my grand people originally owned," tribal elder Russell Woodruff said.

Now, the fate of the tribe and the future of this village is in the hands of Congress. Tribal members say all they can do is hope.