Samish Indian Nation

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Samish Indian Nation
Fidalgo Island 28245.JPG
Total population
1,000[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Washington)
Languages
Samish, English[3]
Religion
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Lummi, Saanich, Semiahmoo, Songhees, and Sooke peoples[4]

The Samish Indian Nation, formerly known as the Samish Indian Tribe, is a federally recognized tribe of Samish people. They are one of the Northern Straits branch Central Coast Salish peoples of indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.[4] Their tribe is located on Puget Sound in Washington.

Other Samish people are enrolled in the Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington.

Reservation[edit]

The Samish Indian Reservation is located on the Puget Sound, on the southeastern side of Fidalgo Island in Skagit County, Washington.[5] Although promised a reservation in the 19th century, the tribe never had one until they restored 78 acres of their traditional homelands in 2004.[2]

Government[edit]

The tribe's headquarters is in Anacortes, Washington. The tribe is governed by a democratically-elected, General Council. The current officers of the tribal council are as follows:

  • Chairman: Thomas Wooten
  • Vice Chairman: Tim King
  • Secretary: Dana Matthews
  • Treasurer: Tamara Rogers
  • Council Member: David Blackinton
  • Council Member: Gary D. Hatch
  • Council Member: Jenna Strand.[6]

Language[edit]

English is commonly spoken on by the tribe. Their traditional language is Samish, a dialect of Straits Salish, a Central Salish language. The tribe is developing a second-language program to revive the language.[3] The tribe's language preservation program has recorded over 60 hours of interviews with fluent speakers.[1]

History[edit]

The tribe signed the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855 as the "Samish Tribe." Ravaged by introduced diseases, only 150 Samish people remained of the earlier 2,000 tribal members.[2] They were removed to the Bellingham Bay Agency. They stayed in their coastal and islands villages, despite encroachment by non-native homesteaders. The US government failed to provide the reservation promised in the treaty.[1]

In 1967, the Bureau of Indian Affairs omitted the Samish from the list of federally recognized tribes. The tribe had to fight for 27 years to restore their recognition.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Samish Indian Nation." Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. Retrieved 17 Sept 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Jean. "Homeless No More: Samish Land Restored." Indian Country Today. 8 Dec 2004. Retrieved 17 Sept 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Salish, Straits." Ethnologue. Retrieved 17 Sept 2013.
  4. ^ a b Pritzker 189
  5. ^ Pritzker 202
  6. ^ "Tribal Government." Samish Indian Nation. Retrieved 17 Sept 2013.

References[edit]

  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.

External links[edit]