Immediate Release: September 22, 2011
– Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the “Duwamish Tribal
Recognition Act” (H.R. 2999), which would grant federal recognition to the
Duwamish Tribe of the Seattle, Washington area.
“We need to grant the Duwamish Tribe the recognition that they deserve,” said Congressman McDermott. “Federal recognition of tribes is not just a symbolic gesture – it would bring federal money to the Duwamish to help pay for a tribal government, housing, education, and health care. Official recognition was promised to them in 1855, and after 150 years, the U.S. Government has yet to do the right thing.”
The Duwamish people were the first indigenous people of the Greater Seattle area – in fact, the name “Seattle” comes from Chief Si'ahl (1780-1866), the name of the most famous Duwamish chief. In 1855, the Duwamish Tribe signed the Treaty of Point Elliott, which was intended to grant them federal recognition. Congress ratified the treaty in 1859, but it was never implemented. The 600-member Duwamish Tribe has sought recognition ever since, even bringing the matter to the federal court.
McDermott added, “Federal recognition of ‘Seattle’s First People,’ is a belated but crucial step in preserving the long-established history and culture of the Duwamish people and of the City of Seattle.”
Follow McDermott on Twitter: @RepJimMcDermott.