Duwamish Respond To Federal Decision Against Tribal Recognition

Duwamish Chairperson Cecile Hansen speaks to the press and those concerned for Native rights who have gathered at the Duwamish Longhouse in Seattle to decry the Bureau of Indian Affair’s decision that the Duwamish tribe did not meet the federal guidelines for tribal recognition. While the Duwamish did receive recognition in 2001, it was since rescinded. The Duwamish were some of the first people in the Puget Sound area and Seattle’s name was take from the Chief of the Duwamish, Chief Sealth. Cecile Hansen reminded that group that “We are still here” and Ken Workman, of the Duwamish, performed Chief Seattle’s Thunder Song . Members of other tribes were in attendance and promised continued respect and recognition in addition to performing songs important to them.

From the press release…

“Immediate Release, Seattle, WA


The Duwamish Tribe responds to the July 2nd Bureau of Indian Affairs determination against tribal recognition.

Chief Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe has never abandoned its tribal relations. We are the Duwamish Tribe that signed the Point Elliot Treaty.  We will continue to fight on.

There is ample precedence for the federal recognition of Point Elliot Treaty historic tribes in addition to the reservations–the historic Upper Skagit, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Samish and Snoqualmie Tribes have all been acknowledged since the 1970’s.

We find it disingenuous that the Bureau has labeled the Duwamish Tribe as a new 1925 organization in their attempt to create the scenario that we are not the continuing tribe.  The Duwamish organized under a written constitution in 1925 to be more powerful in perusing its tribal rights. The Clinton administration recognized this change as evidence of tribal continuity in its 2001 positive determination of the Duwamish Tribe.   The Clinton Administration reviewed the petition under the fundamental tenet of Federal Indian Law that statues and regulations enacted for the benefit of Indian Tribes are to be interpreted in their favor.

Does the BIA know us?  They appear to be clueless.  We will probably never get the original hard copy of this decision.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is apparently mailing the decision to an old Burien address we have not been at for 10 years.   The BIA is ignoring the obvious–We are still here and thriving at the Duwamish Longhouse.

The following is the heartfelt statement of Duwamish Tribal Chairperson Cecile Hansen.  Cecile– a great, great, great, grandniece of Chief Seattle–has been the Duwamish Tribal Chairwoman for 40 years.

“In the eyes and mind of our people, the Duwamish Tribe does exist.  We are extremely disappointed (yet again) in the BIA’s “dehumanizing” decision to do away with our existence according to the rulings that were made in the past.

Please check the history of all Washington Tribes who sought to be recognized by the BIA since the 70’s and are now considered to be legitimate tribes.  There is room for us all.  Unfortunately, the task of conquering the process of proving our own existence has eluded the Duwamish despite our long history dating back thousands of years.  

Chief Seattle’s Duwamish people were friendly to the first pioneers and city fathers.  We sacrificed our land to make the City of Seattle a beautiful reality.  We are still waiting for our justice. 

 The Duwamish Tribe completed the first regulations and endured the long, long, long waiting period receiving (2) preliminary negative determinations over the years.  Finally, we succeeded and were recognized by the Clinton Administration in 2001, to only have it taken away by President Bush eight months later.  Under this appeal process, we have again been denied our rightful place in the history of Seattle.  Is all complete in the business of the total genocide of the Duwamish People ~ the people of Chief Sealth for whom our great city is named?



Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal Chairperson

Office Phone:  206-431-1582

Duwamish Tribe denied federal recognition, Seattle Times, July 3, 2015


BIA July 2, 2015 letter to Cecile Hansen


July 2, 2015 Summary Judgement Against the Duwamish Tribal Organization


2/22/2013 Motion to Remand Duwamish Petition for Reconsideration


Duwamish Tribal Recognition Act, H. R. 2176This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on April 30, 2015, I114th CONGRESS, 1st Session


Written Testimony of Michael Anderson….July 15, 2009


One thought on “Duwamish Respond To Federal Decision Against Tribal Recognition

  1. Pingback: Duwamish Respond to Federal Decision Against Tribal Recognition | South Seattle Emerald

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