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NW Tribes

Native Land Acknowledgment

Native Land Acknowledgment

How to Honor Native Land

Acknowledgement is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth. Imagine this practice widely adopted: imagine cultural venues, classrooms, conference settings, places of worship, sports stadiums, and town halls, acknowledging traditional lands. Millions would be exposed—many for the first time—to the names of the traditional Indigenous inhabitants of the lands they are on, inspiring them to ongoing awareness and action.


Native Lands Digital - Map

This organization fosters conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as its Native Land Map which features three layers: Territories, Languages, and Treaties. 


Local Examples of Land Acknowledgments

Analyze for yourself how various institutions and organizations are using language to build relationships and honor history. 


Teen Vogue - Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, Explained

There have always been indigenous peoples in the spaces we call home, and there always will be. By Deilah Friedler 


Beyond Territorial Acknowledgments

A blog by Chelsea Vowel, a public intellectual, writer, and educator whose work intersects language, gender, Métis self-determination, and resurgence. She is a Cree language instructor at the Faculty of Native studies at the University of Alberta.

Puget Sound Tribes

Puget Sound Tribes

Tribes of the Puget Sound and Salish Sea Regions

This list has links to Federally recognized Native American tribes of the Puget Sound watershed, Non-Federally recognized tribes, as well as the First Nations of the Salish Sea watershed in Canada.


State of Our Watersheds

The 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington created this report to help gauge progress toward salmon recovery and guide future habitat restoration and protection efforts. The State of Our Watersheds report documents how ongoing loss and damage of salmon habitat across western Washington is fueling the loss of salmon populations and threatening tribal cultures and treaty-reserved fishing rights


  • Letter from Billy Frank Jr: (Page 3) A personal, passionate, honest letter to the people of Puget Sound from the Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. 


  • Executive Summary: (Pages 6-9) This section identifies 11 “Principle Findings” with a concise paragraph for each one. 


  • Puget Sound Regional Report: (Pages 13-23) This section features a series of seven short science reports, one page each, that include maps and data tables as follows: (1) Land Ownership, (2) Increased Effective Impervious Surface, (3) Permit-Exempt Wells in Puget Sound, (4) Forest Cover Loss, (5) Puget Sound Culvert Status, (6) Diminished Riparian Forests, and (7) Puget Sound Nearshore Impairment. 


Tribal Salmon Culture of Northwest Tribes  

This website is a great foundation for understanding how Salmon are an integral part of tribal religion, culture, and physical sustenance. Below is a short list of the many ways in which salmon are sacred to the Columbia River Basin tribes of the Pacific Northwest. CRITFC


The Sociocultural Significance of Pacific Salmon for Tribes and First Nations

Pacific salmon are a cultural and ecological keystone species, irreplaceable and core to the identities and ways of life of Indigenous communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. This report shares insights on the sociocultural significance of Pacific salmon, learned from engagement with the Tribal and First Nations Caucuses to the Pacific Salmon Commission.  Centered around the wellbeing of Indigenous communities and salmon, the framework includes five intersecting domains: social, health, livelihoods, management, and knowledge and practices. 


First Foods

A beautifully written essay with embedded photos and video on how Native people are revitalizing the natural nourishment of the Pacific Northwest.

Traumatized by boarding schools, WA tribes chart new path for Native kids

“Lingering scars caused by residential boarding schools run deep for many Native American families, after decades of targeted efforts by U.S. government and religious leaders to stamp out tribal culture. But more Native people are talking about what they, their parents, and grandparents experienced. They hope to break cycles of generational trauma caused by the schools, and explore how current education systems can change to better meet the needs of tribal communities and students.” - Seattle Times.

Treaty Rights

Treaty Rights

Understanding Tribal Treaty Rights in Western Washington

This short overview provides an excellent introduction to the legal ramifications of treaties signed between northwest Tribes and the US Government and how these rights are at risk due to the continued loss of salmon habitat. 


Boldt Decision: United States v. State of Washington

Though important legal cases are not usually known by the name of the judge who decides them, this one is. "The Boldt Decision," as it is commonly referred to, was one of the biggest court decisions issued during the twentieth century involving Native rights. While the decision itself dealt with tribal fishing rights, its affirmation of tribal sovereignty was more far-reaching and represented a huge (and unexpected) victory for Native Americans.


Treaty Rights at Risk

Northwest Tribes started the Treaty Rights at Risk initiative in 2011 because, “We are losing the battle for salmon recovery in western Washington. The salmon habitat is being damaged and destroyed faster than it can be restored. Despite massive cuts in harvest, careful use of hatcheries, and a huge financial investment in restoration during the past four decades, salmon continue to decline along with their habitat. This trend shows no signs of improvement. As the salmon disappear, so do our tribal cultures and treaty rights.


Here is the critical language written into the Treaties…

“The right of taking fish at usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory, and of erecting temporary houses for the purposes of curing, together with the privilege of hunting and gathering roots and berries on open and unclaimed lands.”



Understanding Tribal Treaty Rights in Western Washington

Very useful 4-page overview. See also this set of slides


Do Salmon Have Rights?

A legal battle between the City of Seattle and the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe could test the “Rights of Nature” movement. Learn more about what countries have adopted Rights of Nature legislation in their constitutions as a way to give legal standing to ecosystems and the species they depend on in the face of one-sided assumptions about human use of natural resources...


Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) is a natural resources management support service organization for 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington. NWIFC member tribes are: Lummi, Nooksack, Swinomish, Upper Skagit, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Tulalip, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Skokomish, Suquamish, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, Lower Elwha Klallam, Makah, Quileute, Quinault, and Hoh.

The NWIFC was created following the 1974 U.S. v. Washington ruling (Boldt Decision) that reaffirmed the tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights. The ruling recognized them as natural resources co-managers with the State of Washington with an equal share of the harvestable number of salmon returning annually.

Why we should transfer ‘Land Back’ to Indigenous people

“Land Back. You may have seen this slogan recently on T-shirts or hashtags, but its roots are as old as the colonization and displacement of Native people in the U.S. At their core, Land Back initiatives are intended to support the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous people. The reclamation efforts begin to remedy the injustice of government policies that stripped land, language and culture from Native people. They also recognize the urgent need to approach our environment and ecology in a more sustainable way that protects life for seven generations and beyond.” - Seattle Times.

Billy Frank Jr.

“I don’t believe in magic. I believe in the sun and stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are.”

– Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014)

The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr

Billy Frank, Jr. was a tireless advocate for Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship, whose activism paved the way for the “Boldt decision,” which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state of Washington. Frank led effective “fish-ins,” which were modeled after sit-ins of the civil rights movement, during the tribal “fish wars” of the 1960s and 1970s. His magnetic personality and tireless advocacy over more than five decades made him a revered figure both domestically and abroad. Read more about his life, his example of service to one’s community, his humility, and his dedication to the principles of human rights and environmental sustainability. 

“Being Frank” - Great Writing from Billy Frank Jr.’s Blog

Billy Frank Jr. 

Tribal View on Climate Change

Tulalip Tribes - Climate Change Salmon Impacts Assessment 

This is a very handy 42-page assessment of climate change impacts on salmon and the watersheds of the Tulalip people. The opening introduction establishes a powerful spiritual frame for what the climate science data reveals. Page 3 features a table with six specific impacts that climate change will have on the health of local salmon populations.  


“Salmon are central to the lifeways of the Tulalip people. Since time immemorial, the ancestors of the Tulalip Tribes celebrated the return of salmon to the rivers in spring. The salmon have always been a major source of food for the people, and are central to tribal culture. The salmon brought life to the people and the river, and the people revered and thanked the salmon for its sacrifice and promised to always protect it. Today, the salmon are threatened by a landscape transformed by resource extraction and development. Millions of people now live on Tulalip’s historic lands adjacent to the Salish Sea. The freshwater ecosystems salmon depend on are simplified and degraded, pollutants are ubiquitous, and natural hydrology is interrupted by the impact of humans. The western societies that settled in the lands of Tulalip’s ancestors did not revere and respect the salmon, and the fight to protect the salmon from extinction is entering a new era of urgency.”


Tulalip Tribes - Climate Change Webpages

Explore this excellent website to find out what the Tulalip Tribes are doing to take climate action, continue our community’s resilience in light of extreme weather events and harmful environmental trends, and the strategies we are taking to continue our stewardship of treaty resources.


Tribes Use Western and Indigenous Science to Prepare for Climate Change

This article, featured in Hakai Magazine, outlines a collaborative effort by climate scientists and local tribes to put Northwest Indigenous communities at the forefront of climate adaptation planning. The project uses advanced computer modeling to help tribes understand the precise impacts climate change will have in their territories, so they can plan now to adapt. The result of the two-year project is the Tribal Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, an online tool that provides 50 tribes with high-resolution climate forecasts showing how specific resources, such as salmon, berries, and roots, will be affected in their area. 


Tribal Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment 

Developed collaboratively and hosted by the UW Climate Impact Group, the Tribal Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment is a process for evaluating how the things we care about (e.g., a place, community, or resource) could be affected by climate change. Tribal vulnerability assessments have taken a variety of approaches, from those that use primarily indigenous methodologies, to those that rely primarily on western science, to those that braid these two approaches together. Offers excellent reports and articles on questions such as, “How is the climate changing, and why? Why does climate change matter for tribes? How will the climate change for my Tribe?”


Puget Sound Climate Preparedness Collaborative

A network of local and tribal governments, regional agencies, and organizations in the Puget Sound region working together to ensure that the economy, environment, and all residents are resilient to the impacts of climate change. The Collaborative creates a forum for peer learning and exchange of information, ideas, and opportunities related to climate preparedness. This approach recognizes that strategic regional collaboration can: (1) Leverage limited resources, (2) Reduce duplication of efforts, (3) Facilitate institutional learning, and (4) Increase the effectiveness of individual community and organization adaptation efforts.


Tribal Climate Toolbox

This tool is designed to support tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Great Basin, U.S.A, as they prepare for the impacts of climate change, by providing information on how the climate is expected to change in the places Tribes care about. It provides maps, graphs, tables and descriptions of projected changes. Select Snoqualmie Tribe to see climate data for the King County Area.


Indigenous Knowledge is Critical to Understanding Climate Change 

This is an opinion essay from the Seattle Times written in a personal and wise voice by Timothy J. Greene Sr. who is a former chairman of the Makah Tribal Council and a trustee for The Nature Conservancy in Washington.


Tribes Look To Renewable Energy To Power Jobs Of The Future

A comprehensive review by Investigate West of the many actions being taken by tribes throughout the nation to create their own energy systems, reduce energy costs on reservation lands, create revenue that benefits tribal programs, and ensure good jobs. 

Tribal View on Climate Change

Salmon Nation

This organization is accelerating a vibrant and growing movement towards healthier, localized, more regenerative economies and communities. Our region already is a hotbed of creativity and experimentation. Salmon Nation identifies who and what you need to know to invest time, energy, and money towards building a bioregion where people, culture and nature all thrive.

Salmon Nation

Salmon Nation

Native Education

Office of Native Education 

The Office of Native Education (ONE) provides assistance to school districts in meeting the educational needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) students. ONE serves as a liaison between the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and school districts, tribal governments, State-Tribal Education Compact schools, tribal schools, Native communities, parent/guardians of Native children, and other groups and individuals.


Since Time Immemorial Curriculum 

In 2015, the state Legislature passed Senate Bill 5433 requiring the Since Time Immemorial curriculum be taught in all schools. The use of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized tribes.

Native Education
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