SEATTLE, WA – Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) reintroduced the Duwamish Tribal Recognition Act (H.R. 2442) to grant federal recognition to the Duwamish Tribe of metropolitan Seattle. More than 150 years after the Duwamish Tribe signed the Point Elliott Treaty, the Duwamish Tribe is still seeking federal recognition, which was granted to them in 2001 but denied under dubious circumstances eight months later. Seattle is named after Si’ahl (Chief Seattle) of the Duwamish.
The reintroduction of the bill follows McDermott’s May letter on the same issue to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. In it he explained, “This issue of Duwamish recognition has been pending for so long that the Interior Department’s rules for federal recognition of tribes have changed from the original regulations set in 1978 to those that were revised in 1994. There is significant evidence to support Duwamish recognition that is not in current records, which was filed 20 years ago.”
On March 22, 2013, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour vacated the September 2001 denial of the Duwamish Tribe’s recognition by George W. Bush administration officials in the Interior Department. Judge Coughenour stated, “Plaintiffs should not be left to wonder why one administration thought their petition should be considered under both sets of rules, but a second did not.”
“Recognition is a matter of respect and honor for the Duwamish people,” said McDermott’s May letter. “They have waited long enough.”