- By Kelsey Turner
The Duwamish Tribe has lived in the Seattle area since time immemorial. Though the tribe signed the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855 creating a government-to-government relationship with the U.S., it is still not federally recognized. This week, the Duwamish Tribe plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government to defend its tribal sovereignty.
“From 1859, when the Treaty of Point Elliott was ratified, until at least 2001, Congress and other federal authorities have unambiguously recognized the Duwamish Tribe,” the Tribe wrote in a media advisory Tuesday. “Yet, today, the U.S. Department of Interior refuses to officially recognize the Duwamish Tribe in violation of the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws.”
The lawsuit will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. After filing the complaint, the legal team representing the tribe will summarize the arguments in support of federal recognition at an event at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in Seattle at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Speakers at the event include Duwamish Tribal Chairwoman Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal Council members and the tribe’s attorneys, among others. Participants can also join the event virtually on Zoom by registering here.
“In the absence of federal recognition, funding, and human services, Duwamish Tribal Services has struggled to provide numerous social, educational, health, and cultural programs,” the tribe says on their website. The tribe, which has over 600 enrolled members, adds that “many more” Duwamish people have chosen not to enroll, instead enrolling in federally recognized tribes that provide health and other human services.
Over 100,000 people have signed the Duwamish Tribe’s petition for federal recognition. “Momentum has been building publicly and politically in support of restoring federal recognition,” the media advisory stated.
More Stories Like ThisWhen it comes to Indian Boarding School Graves, Tribal Spiritual Law is Shunned as Repatriations Continue to Fail Some Tribes
Senate Committee Hears Indigenous Testimony on Federal Indian Boarding School Report and Legislation
Ponca Tribe Gets its Tomahawk Back
Two Catawba Nation Matriarchs will bring an Ancestor Home from Carlisle Next Week
Hawai’i Housing Group Sues Bank of America Over Broken $150 Million Commitment
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.