Duwamish Tribe launches petition drive in continuing campaign for federal recognition

The Duwamish Tribe has a new bid for public support in its far-from-new fight for federal recognition. They’re seeking signatures on an online petition, with this request via email:

We need 150,000 signatures to get the attention of our Washington State legislators and Senators

Please share and send this email to all your friends, family and colleagues.

Our goal is to affect positive results to rectify this injustice once and for all in 2021.

For you the citizens, residents of Washington State, the City of Seattle, King County and the United States that believe a ‘Treaty” Tribe should not have to be put on hold for 45 years to prove that they are the original Duwamish Tribe that signed the Treaty of Point Elliott.

The Duwamish deserve justice now!

Here’s background on the treaty – and the denial of rights that goes back more than a century and a half.

More recently, the Clinton Administration moved to grant recognition in its final days in early 2001; the incoming Bush Administration canceled it. But having a Democratic president now is no guarantee of change – the Obama Administration kept the status quo for its two terms. Six years ago, we were there as Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen and supporters confronted then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell outside Jewell’s North Admiral home; two months earlier, Interior had denied federal recognition to the Duwamish, again.

(2015 WSB photo)

Some of what’s at stake was discussed during this 2017 event at the Duwamish Longhouse. Meantime, in addition to the online petition drive, the tribe also is asking for support in a letter-writing campaign – here’s the list.

5 Replies to "Duwamish Tribe launches petition drive in continuing campaign for federal recognition"

  • Michael Ostrogorsky March 6, 2021 (1:24 pm)

    Appalling that federal recognition has been refused for so long. This is a violation of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, to which the very first Native signatory was that of Duwamish Chief Seattle (si’áb Si’ahl) himself. 

  • Texas Tom March 6, 2021 (2:13 pm)

    Anyone who does a bit of research into this issue will quickly realize that the biggest obstacle to tribal recognition comes from other tribes, not the government.  Facts are so inconvenient sometimes.

    • Jon March 7, 2021 (4:10 am)

      @Texas Tom: The US government broke its Treaty promises to the Duwamish. White settlers petitioned the government against a reservation for the Duwamish in 1866. Longhouses were burned down, and the building of the Lake Washington ship canal in 1916 and lowering of Lake Washington destroyed Duwamish communities’ livelihoods. Still, they have remained here. Today they have been fighting for nearly five decades for recognition. They have the support of some area tribes and opposition by others. But it is the federal government (BIA) that decides which tribes are recognized. Do you think the government can break its treaty promises because there are differing views in neighboring communities?

    • Michael Ostrogorsky March 7, 2021 (1:01 pm)

      No, Tom, the biggest obstacle to federal recognition of the Duwamish comes from the federal government refusing to recognize the government’s own treaty obligations. Facts are so inconvenient sometimes.

  • Jennifer March 6, 2021 (6:16 pm)

    Regardless who opposes their recognition they have the right to be recognized! Please sign the petition if you agree.  Thank you.

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