The Duwamish Tribe (literally meaning people of the inside) have been in existence for thousands of years and are the first nations people of the city of Seattle – which was founded in 1865 and named after the world renowned Chief Se’alt (whose mother was Duwamish and father was Suquamish). Soon after the city of Seattle was founded the new city fathers passed ordinance #5 – which in essence said – no Indian was allowed in the city after sundown. No apology by the City has ever been made regarding that racist city ordinance. We urge advocates to ask Mayor Harrell to do a mayoral proclamation apologizing for this hateful act and to do it at the Longhouse.

The Duwamish Tribe were the first signers of the Point Elliott Treaty (signed at present day city of Mukilteo) on January 22, 1855 via Chief Se’alt’s signature. He was seen as the leader in that region and was the first to sign. This was only 3 years, 2 months, and 9 days after the first white settlers arrived on November 13, 1851 at current day Alki Beach in West Seattle. Within that short amount of time the Duwamish people not only ceded away 54 thousand acres (most of Martin Luther King, Jr County) but began what would be a great loss of what had been their cultural identity for thousands of years.

They’ve now waited for 167 years (1855 to 2022) for the other Washington (DC) to confer federal recognition after multiple times of being recognized in federal registers, court commissions, and never being taken off the treaty. The tribe continues the fight to be acknowledged by the Dept of Interior (DOI). In May of 2022,  the tribe filed a federal lawsuit against DOI for not recognizing the tribe. The lawsuit is before Judge Coughenor who over five years ago ruled that the DOI were to make things right with the tribe.

No matter what other neighboring federally recognized tribes say, granting the Duwamish Tribe its full recognition will NOT, will NOT, affect their tribal sovereignty. The Duwamish Tribe’s fight is with the federal government whom they signed the treaty with NOT with the Muckleshoot or Suquamish. To participate in advocating for the Duwamish Tribe sign the Real Rent petition and consider becoming a real renter.

Take Action

Email Senator Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell to tell them that you, their constituent, supports federal recognition for the tribe. Or to be further engaged in this issue email Paul Benz.

Photos from the Duwamish Advocacy Briefing and Announcement – May 11, 2022

Paul Benz coordinated a meeting to discuss engagement on advocating for Duwamish federal recognition.

R to L: Ken Workman, Fr. Mike Ryan St. James Cathedral, cathedral social justice staff.