“We sacrificed our land to make the City of Seattle a beautiful reality. We are still waiting for our justice.” - Cecile Hansen, Chairwoman of Duwamish Tribe
The city of Seattle was named after Chief Si’ahl, leader of the Duwamish-Dkhw’Duw’Absh Tribe, who were coerced into signing the Treaty of Point Elliot in 1855 which led to white settlers taking over what is known today as King County. The Treaty promised a reservation, fishing rights, health care, and other resources in exchange for land in the Seattle area, but the Treaty has never been honored. Since the 1850s, the ongoing existence of the Duwamish has been under threat of extermination. In order for the Duwamish to access governmental resources that are owed to them, they must obtain federal recognition from the US government. In 2001, the tribe was finally granted federal recognition only to have the positive determination overturned days later.
The Duwamish tribe has continued to boldly struggle for federal recognition despite the layers of dehumanizing bureaucratic processes required of them. On July 2, 2015, the Bureau of Indian Affairs ruled that the tribe does not qualify for federal recognition, despite 35,000 pages of documentation supporting their continued existence and governance. The Duwamish are determined to pressure the government to honor the treaty and to rightful acknowledgement of their Indigenous Sovereignty.
The tribe has until September 30th, 2015 to counter this federal ruling and the legal costs are mounting! Their fundraising goal is $100,000, which will go directly to operating costs of Duwamish Tribal Services, advocacy work for the Duwamish tribe's federal recognition and used for expenses for research, travel, and supplies during this crucial window of time.
As Chairperson Cecile Hanson of the Duwamish Tribe declared, “It is time for [the people of Seattle] to rise up with the Duwamish tribe” - to be in solidarity with them and recognize them as the First People of the Seattle area. Donating to this campaign will be a contribution to the legal battle for federal recognition and is an important way to voice your support for racial justice and indigenous sovereignty.
For More Information:
Duwamish Tribe denied federal recognition, Seattle Times, July 3, 2015
BIA July 2, 2015 letter to Cecile Hansen
July 2, 2015 Summary Judgement Against the Duwamish Tribal Organization
2/22/2013 Motion to Remand Duwamish Petition for Reconsideration
Duwamish Tribal Recognition Act, H. R. 2176This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on April 30, 2015, I114th CONGRESS, 1st Session
Written Testimony of Michael Anderson….July 15, 2009