Rep. McDermott: Recognize the Duwamish Tribe
"I represent the City of Seattle, which is named after the famous Duwamish Chief Sealth. Like other tribal leaders, he too signed a treaty with the United States. It was the Treaty of Point Elliott, signed in 1855. The Duwamish Tribe ceded their land, but not their sovereignty in exchange for guaranteed fishing rights and monetary benefits. The Duwamish tribe never got these benefits, however, and has sought federal recognition since 1977.

In short, this hearing has been a long time coming. The recognition process for the Duwamish, a tribe of more than 600, has been protracted beyond what any tribe should have to endure. The Bush Administration used a procedural flaw to overturn a positive final determination acknowledging the Duwamish as an existing Indian tribe within federal law. Ever since, the Duwamish pursued remedies through the administrative process.

But, we find ourselves today with one inescapable conclusion: the Duwamish did what they were supposed to do and still they have not met with justice. We have a responsibility to uphold our end of the trust relationship between Indian tribes and the federal government. After so many years, it is time to act. The presumption that the tribe had ceased to exist is never officially supported and no moment of dissolution was recorded, because nothing could be further from the truth."

Get the Story:
Rep. Jim McDermott: Duwamish Tribe Deserves Federal Recognition (ColorsNW 8/27)

Committee Notice:
Full Committee Legislative Hearing On H.R. 2678, H.R. 1358, H.R. 3084, And H.R. 3120 (July 15, 2009)

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