The Duwamish tribe has lived in the Seattle area since time immemorial. Although the tribe signed the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855 creating a government-to-government relationship with the United States, it is still not recognized at the federal level. This week, the Duwamish tribe plans to file a lawsuit against the US federal government to defend their tribal sovereignty.

“From 1859, when the Treaty of Point Elliott was ratified, until at least 2001, Congress and other federal authorities unambiguously recognized the Duwamish Tribe,” the tribe wrote in a media advisory Tuesday. “Yet today, the US Department of the Interior refuses to officially recognize the Duwamish Tribe in violation of the US Constitution and other federal laws.”

The lawsuit will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. After filing the lawsuit, the legal team representing the tribe will summarize the case for federal recognition during an event at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in Seattle at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Speakers at the event include Duwamish Tribe Chairperson Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal Council members and tribal attorneys, among others. Attendees can also join the event virtually on Zoom by registering here.

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“In the absence of federal recognition, funding, and social services, Duwamish Tribal Services has struggled to provide many social, educational, health, and cultural programs,” the tribe states on its website. The tribe, which has more than 600 registered members, adds that “many more” Duwamish have chosen not to register, enrolling instead in federally recognized tribes that provide health and other services. human services.

More than 100,000 people have signed the Duwamish Tribe’s petition for federal recognition. “Momentum has been building publicly and politically to support the restoration of federal recognition,” the media advisory said.

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