Duwamish Tribe chair takes recognition fight to Interior Secretary in West Seattle: Report #1

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)

Quick first report on this, since we’re going into storm coverage: Within the past hour, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen met U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell – whose department denied federal recognition to the Duwamish, again, two months ago – semi-unexpectedly. Hansen and representatives of two activist groups, the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites and Rising Tide Seattle, had gone to what they believed was Jewell’s North Admiral home to deliver a letter inviting her to meet with tribal leaders. (A representative of the groups, which issued a media advisory, told us last night they had no reason to believe Jewell was home from D.C., but they had decided to do this now anyway.)

At what they believed was the correct house, a man answering the door said it wasn’t. The group headed back to the sidewalk to read their letters of invitation anyway. Suddenly, a member of the group looked across the street and pointed to a woman loading items into the trunk of a car in a driveway, saying he was sure THAT was Secretary Jewell. Indeed, it was, and everyone trouped across the street. Jewell, a WS resident since her days as CEO of REI, stopped for a few moments to talk and listen, making no commitments on the issue, describing it as “complicated.” Hansen described that reaction afterward as “political runaround.” She says the tribe is taking their fight to court, again. We recorded this all on video and will publish it as part of a second report later.

16 Replies to "Duwamish Tribe chair takes recognition fight to Interior Secretary in West Seattle: Report #1"

  • LivesInWS August 29, 2015 (11:50 am)

    I hope Secretary Jewell will find a way to further Federal recognition for the Duwamish people.

  • sc August 29, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    “I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something…”

    ― Chief Joseph

  • M2 August 29, 2015 (1:27 pm)

    How can Secretary Jewell live in a city named for the Chief of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh, who was born more than 200 years ago – and with a clear conscience deny the tribe federal recognition?

    The second you get involved in politics, or being a CEO for that matter (two strikes, Sally), you squeeze humanity out the ear to allow your reptilian brain more room to run the show.

    YAAAAAY! Politics!

  • Dan August 29, 2015 (2:13 pm)

    So sad and disappointing

  • socialenterprise August 29, 2015 (3:52 pm)

    Two awesome women unfortunately on opposite sides of an important issue. Kudos to Cecile and the group for taking it directly to Sally. Sally’s exercised really effective leadership on other issues so I have great hope on this one.

    Can someone more up-to-date comment on the role of the other recognized tribes in the Duwamish efforts? I have been told that their opposition might be a crucial sticking point.

  • RR August 29, 2015 (4:04 pm)

    As a native Hawaiian, a group also repeatedly and unjustly denied federal recognition, I can empathize greatly. Denial of legal status almost always comes down to the unwillingness to return land, and other conciliatory gestures by the U.S government – no matter how JUST those actions would be.I’m sorry for the participants in today’s action who received no actual response, but I’m not surprised. Stay strong.

  • Public administrator August 29, 2015 (4:57 pm)

    Perhaps they should be stalking Muckleshoot, Puyallup and Tulalip tribes, they are the folks who’ve hired lobbyists to actively prevent federal designation for the Duwamish.

  • I. Ponder August 29, 2015 (5:06 pm)

    I thought I’d read that other tribes oppose recognition of the Duwamish and that’s what’s kept it from happening. If Duwamish are recognized, other tribes will lose power and $. Anyone with real knowledge know if there is truth to this?

    • WSB August 29, 2015 (5:34 pm)

      Jewell herself brought that up in this morning’s conversation (which will be shown in full in report #2).

  • dsa August 29, 2015 (6:34 pm)

    There needs to be a new peace treaty with all tribes and intruders gathered around the campfire so that no one gets left out this time.

  • Delia August 29, 2015 (6:56 pm)

    I am one the many supporters of My friends of the Duwamish Tribe to get recognition….It’s A Long Time Awaited Decision on a Positive Note….Be the happiest lady UN the world who has ties to Chief Seattle and proud of it. …

  • Monika Jion Winkelmann August 30, 2015 (9:18 am)

    For me as a German stranger coming to Seattle and wishing to connect with the person who gave his name to this city; wishing to connect with the people who were the first people on this soil; wishing to be well informed about the genocide on Native Americans and the efforts of the white Americans to face this reality, bear witness to it andc stand at the side of the survived and descendants: This was really a negative surprise and disappointment to be confronted, in turist guides and in the reaction of Seattle citizens (not all, of course) with ignorance, denial, Lack of interest and lack of empathy. Then to get to know about the not-recognition! What a relief, to get aware of the resilience of our Duwamish sistersand brothers and of their many friends who want to express their solidarity, friendship and practical support. May this ignorance vanish soon, may the Duwamish people be recognized and have legal status with all rights, may we white people find the courage to deeply look into our history and into our hearts, and do the right thing.

  • Laura Tyler August 30, 2015 (2:20 pm)

    Give the Duwamish the Tribal recognition they deserve!

  • wb August 30, 2015 (8:00 pm)

    Monika, first welcome to seattle. Your statement about understanding those who came before is very profound. Bless the Duwamish and may they get their recognition very soon.

  • wy August 31, 2015 (9:18 am)


    I believe the summary from the BIA report is – The duwamish tribe IS recognized, in the sense that it’s membership has been incorporated into the reservation tribes of the area (Suquamish, Muckleshoot and Tulalip) after giving up their lands according to the treaty of Point Elliot.


    See Article 7 of the treaty.

  • Mary August 31, 2015 (5:05 pm)

    There are no such tribe as Muckleshoot or Tulalips. These are places where the Government allowed our Duwamish Tribe to go. But we were and are River and Puget Sound Water people. Tulalip was where The Indian Schools were where my Grandmother went to learn to be “WHITE” The atrosities that went on there was awful! I heard the stories when I was growing up. We have a lot of Duwamish living on the suquamish Rez also. But most didn’t want to go there so they tried to stay in the City of Seattle where there were laws made that An Native person could not be on the streets after 8 pm if they didn’t have a place to live with their Boss or they were thrown in jail. Nice treatment for people who were living on the land and let the whites stay I could go on and on….but I don’t want to run out of space. Hope you get my drift? We Should Be Recognized!! Write your congressmen and you wonderful President and see what happens?? Bombard their offices with letters or post cards!! m.l.s.

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