Duwamish Tribe says it’s lost artifacts because it’s not officially recognized

August 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

(Now-empty artifact case; photo courtesy Duwamish Longhouse)
The Duwamish Tribe – whose longhouse and headquarters are here in West Seattle – have long pointed out the cost of its lack of official federal recognition, for which they continue to fight, so far unsuccessfully. Today, a new report is out with details of another cost: Tribal artifacts, taken away from the Duwamish Longhouse after 4 years on display because they are to be “repatriated” to a tribe that does have recognition. The artifacts were found here in West Seattle more than a quarter-century ago, reports Indian Country Today Media Network, on Port of Seattle-owned land. They had been exhibited at the Duwamish Longhouse until they were recently taken away, and ICTMN reports that the Port is making the decision about who will get the artifacts. The full story was published today on ICTMN’s website – see it here. The publication reports that the Port has not answered its inquiry about who will get the artifacts; we also are inquiring.


  1. reallY! thats just rediculous. What’s the big hold up about recongizing them in the first place. I wouldn’t be suprised if the real reason those artifacts were taken was because some jealous curator at a museum wanted them for their own collection and used some beurocratic bull to snatch them away from the longhouse.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 4:34 pm August 8, 2013 #

  2. Sad news.
    Other than being a public agency that owns land, I’m not sure how the Port staff are qualified in any way to make this decision. Would like to know more about the process they will go through and the expert opinions they will seek to properly determine allocation…and how public the process is required to be.
    What if the Port recognized the Duwamish regardless of Federal status? The Port could “own” the artifacts and lend them to the Lonhouse…or long term gift to the West Seattle Historical Society who could lend it…let’s get creative!

    Comment by Denny — 6:06 pm August 8, 2013 #

  3. Cecile Hansen has been a family friend for years and this whole thing just breaks my heart.

    Comment by Kara — 7:24 pm August 8, 2013 #

  4. that’s not nice. this story is kind of unbelievable.

    Comment by Vanessa — 9:25 pm August 8, 2013 #

  5. I should note, I did get a call back from the Port toward day’s end and some additional information that I will add to this story in the next hour or so – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:28 pm August 8, 2013 #

  6. This seems unusually petty, even for bureaucrats. I wonder what is really going on.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 10:51 am August 9, 2013 #

  7. “This seems unusually petty, even for bureaucrats” Not really, they built a park on contaminated junk to save $ on disposing of it in barrels that would need to be taken away for more money.

    Comment by Mike — 5:30 pm August 9, 2013 #

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