Suquamish Tribe celebrates 150th Anniversary of the founding of Seattle

The Suquamish Tribal Council adopted a proclamation recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the City of Seattle on Dec. 2, 1869.

The proclamation recognizes the history of the Emerald City, named for the chief of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, Chief Seattle.

“Many think of Chief Seattle, the namesake of the Emerald City, but often forget his people, the Suquamish Tribe of the Port Madison Indian Reservation. Our people lived and thrived in seasonal fishing villages along Elliot Bay and at the Suquamish village at present Pioneer Square, which was an important part of Chief Seattle’s domain,” said Leonard Forsman, Chairman for the Suquamish Tribe.

The proclamation notes that Chief Seattle was a visionary leader who endeavored throughout his life to build [a] peaceful coexistence among Native and non-Native communities for the benefit of his people as well as the newcomers. Also that the Suquamish and other Tribal nations helped support the newcomers by providing food, trading for necessities, allowing for settlements, and shared knowledge of how to care for and live off the Salish Sea.

The proclamation also outlines the hard truths of the city’s history from the promise of the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, which established Port Madison Indian Reservation in Suquamish to the enactment of “Order No. 5” in February of 1865, which removed all natives from the boundaries of the city and led to the burning of longhouses and the desecration of native burial sites.

The proclamation closes, recognizing the values that Chief Seattle held and the importance of collaboration between the city and the tribes for the next 150 years. It calls on all people to adopt values that Chief Seattle cultivated, those of inclusivity, peaceful co-existence, and the protection of the natural world.

“It’s only right for the Suquamish Tribe to commemorate what the City of Seattle has become on its 150th anniversary while remembering both the good and bad that came over those years. But, perhaps, more importantly, it is good to look forward to what the next 150 years can bring. We really do view the idea of thinking seven generations out as a sacred responsibility. Will the city and the region grow in a way that will protect and enhance our waters for salmon, shellfish and the killer whales? We hope that the next seven generations of the Suquamish Tribe and Seattleites will have a healthy ecosystem that will sustain our treaty fishing and cultural values,” Forsman said.

The full proclamation was sent to Seattle Mayor, Jenny Durkan, who had not responded to requests for comment as of press time for the North Kitsap Herald.

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